The Jacksonville Jaguars are improved, but can they make the elite? – Jacksonville Jaguars Blog
KANSAS CITY — The Jacksonville Jaguars aren’t as straightforward as they’ve been in recent seasons.
Their offense ranks in the NFL’s top 10, they’re on course to have a 1,000-yard rusher and receiver in the same season for only the second time since 2004, and all but one of their seven losses have been of a score. or less.
But Sunday’s 27-17 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium proves they’re still not at the point where they can consistently compete with the NFL’s top teams. They’re capable of beating any of those teams sporadically — like their 38-10 rout of the Los Angeles Chargers at SoFi Stadium in September — but their margin of error is too small for them to be a legitimate factor in the AFC manager.
“We’re not there yet,” receiver Christian Kirk said. “We can be. We’ve got the guys. We’ve got the belief. We’ve got everything here but we’re just not there yet and it’s up to us as leaders and the people. guys that are there, to make sure we’re on point every time we step onto the pitch.
The Jaguars (3-7) recovered an onside kick, converted two fourth downs and forced three turnovers (without returning the ball). These are all things an underdog would have to do to steal a road win.
But they got no points on the onside kick recovery and two on turnovers, they missed two field goals and they had a touchdown wiped out by an ineligible player penalty on left tackle Cam Robinson. And they never came close to 10 points in the second half.
“Missed opportunities [cost them the game]said head coach Doug Pederson. “When you play against big football teams – and the Chiefs are one of those big football teams – you have to capitalize. I know they take pride in taking care of football and when you can create those opportunities as a team we have to take advantage of it and we haven’t.
This has been the theme of the whole season.
The Jaguars failed to hold on to their fourth-quarter lead in losses to the Washington Commanders, Indianapolis Colts, New York Giants and Denver Broncos. They were also tied in the fourth quarter at home to the Houston Texans in a game they lost (which remains Houston’s only win). Quarterback Trevor Lawrence threw two interceptions in the end zone that likely cost the Jaguars games against the Texans and Broncos. Linebacker Travon Walker had an unnecessary roughing penalty that wiped out a long third against the Texans and linebacker Foye Oluokun had a rough passer penalty that wiped out an interception against the Giants.
“I think it is [important to start] develop that ability that when other teams give you the opportunity to capitalize on those things, you have to be able to capitalize on that,” Robinson said. “Just more than anything, playing complementary football. If the defense goes on the field and gets an interception, we should be able to go take that position on the field and come back down the field. Stuff like that.
“We just need to do a better job of developing this. Ultimately, this is just the next step for this team.
The rest of the schedule offers plenty of development opportunities against four potential playoff teams: the Baltimore Ravens, Dallas Cowboys, New York Jets and Tennessee Titans (twice). That’s five of their seven games remaining, with the other two against the Detroit Lions and a Texans team they haven’t beaten since 2017.
But if they keep missing chances, the Jaguars could end the season with double-digit losses for the 11th time in the last 12 seasons.
“We have to make those plays and keep that momentum going and that’s where we are right now,” Lawrence said. “…Everyone believes in what we do. Everyone believes where we are going. We know that. But it’s still frustrating when you feel like you’re in these games and you’re not making all the plays you need to make to win.