The Jacksonville Jaguars and the Pittsburgh Steelers faced off today at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville Florida.
The Jaguars would start off the game with the ball and just when things seemed to be going well, they faltered. Blake Bortles and the Jaguars would gain one first down and end up punting after a poor Bortles ball bounced off T.J. Yeldon’s face/hands falling incomplete.
The Jaguars defense fared better forcing the Steelers to go three-and-out on their very first drive of the day. A great stop by Marcell Dareus and Abry Jones who started over Malik Jackson today. One issue with this team is discipline, and that showed on the Steelers second drive of the day when Yannick Ngakoue was flagged for unnecessary roughness after a gain of one.
The Jaguars offense would drive down the field for nearly nine minutes on the back of their running game. 15 plays with 14 running plays. This is Jaguars football and what they are supposed to do best. Unfortunately, Tyler Shatley was called for a hold during the drive and it stalled. Josh Lambo would kick a 48-yard go-ahead field goal. 3-0 Jaguars after a quarter and change. The Jaguars defense would also get back to what they do best. Just straight up great defense as Jalen Ramsey and D.J. Hayden would have key pass breakups to force the Steelers in yet another three-and-out.
Jaguars offense back out on the field and they were able to run the ball straight down the Steelers throat for yet another Jaguars field goal. 6-0 Jaguars. So far Fournette would have 61 yards on the day. This is only six minutes into the second quarter.
Here come the Jaguars. All-Pro Cornerback who was subject to trade rumors this morning is having himself a day. He picks off Ben Roethlisberger who was throwing to Antonio Brown deep down the middle of the field. This led to yet another Jaguars field goal by Mr. Automatic, Josh Lambo. 9-0 Jaguars.
After another three-and-out forced by the Jaguars defense, the Jaguars offense got cute and threw two passes, taking one sack. This would allow the Steelers to get the ball back, however, on the very next play, Big Ben throws yet another interception, this time to Barry Church.
Unfortunately, the Jaguars quarterback woes continued, and they threw the ball yet again. Unable to capitalize after Blake Bortles threw 3 ducks in a row, including one out of bounds with the Steelers out of timeouts.
This tweet puts the Jaguars last two drives before halftime into perspective.
You're on the plus-46. You literally need 6 yards to get into Lambo's range. And you pass three times. Someone explain this logic to me. https://t.co/IuYiMF5fJP
— Daniel Popper (@danielrpopper) November 18, 2018
The Jaguars would pick up on defense right where they left off as they would force yet another three-and-out to open the second half.
The Steelers bet against the Jaguars in their opening drive after accepting a holding call which negated a three-and-out and won. They were able to force a fumble on Blake Bortles which was recovered by Jermey Parnell. The Jaguars would punt anyways, and the Steelers gained at least 10 yards of field position.
The refs came to play on the very next drive for the Steelers. After a great Myles Jack interception, it would be called back due to a very questionable roughing the passer call on Calais Campbell. On the very next play, Telvin Smith is called for an unnecessary toughness which was also questionable.
When you have a superstar on your team you can count on him to make big plays in key moments. Jalen Ramsey is a superstar, and that’s exactly what he did on this drive when he blanketed Antonio Brown which led to his second interception of the game.
Speaking of superstars, the next Jaguars possession was all number 27. Leonard Fournette took the Jaguars offense basically on his back down for a 2-yard leaping touchdown. Fournette had 21 touches for 133 yards thus far in the game.
All good things must come to an end and the Jaguars finally blew a coverage deep for a 78-yard touchdown to Antonio Brown. Gipson was seemingly the man responsible for the coverage miscue.
The Jaguars would get the ball back in Steelers territory thanks to a Westbrook punt return to the 40-yard line. Unfortunately, two sacks later the Jaguars were forced to punt. The Jaguars defense would continue their trend of not allowing the Steelers into the red zone but once in the entire game, however, the Jaguars run offense had come to a halt.
The Steelers would go down and score on the back of Roethlisberger and the Steelers passing offense. Vance McDonald would end up scoring a touchdown on Telvin Smith and Tashaun Gipson in the back of the end zone. 16-13 Jaguars.
The Jaguars got the ball back but proceeded to do nothing with it for a fourth straight three-and-out. It would be up to the Jaguars defense yet again to secure this victory. In a heartbreaking defeat, the Jaguars would allow Big Ben to score a game-winning touchdown after what looked to be a game-saving interception get called back due to a facemask.
20-16 Jaguars final.
THREE PLAYS OF THE GAME
- Jalen Ramsey amazing interception #1
Jalen Ramsey made an incredible interception early in the game for the Jaguars. Although the Jaguars would go on to lose, it was easily the Superstar’s best game.
- Leonard Fournette TD
Leonard Fournette was the only Jaguars offensive player to make any plays this week. He accounted for 141 yards and one touchdown on 30 touches today.
- Yannick Ngakoue gets a sack
The Jaguars pass rush has been completely decimated by opposing teams’ offensive lines all season. Fortunately, the Jaguars were able to get a couple of sacks including this one by Ngakoue which came at an opportune time.
JAGUARS PLAYER OF THE GAME:
Ramsey is your Jaguars player of the game. The Jaguars offense, specifically Blake Bortles, made his performance all for not. The Jaguars superstar had two interceptions and allowed very few yards on the entire day. All for not.
This is a game you can place solely on Blake Bortles and the Jaguars passing game. His abysmal play directly led to the defeat by the Pittsburgh Steelers, and there is very little room to debate. The Jaguars run offense early in the game could not be stopped by the Steelers, however, they made a few adjustments and forced the Jaguars to pass.
That is where everything went wrong. Blake Bortles would be sacked 6 times, including the last snap of the game and he made terrible decisions throughout. The Jaguars defense had the Jaguars in this game the entire way and only a play or two difference, they could have one it for them. Although many will point to this game as the Jaguars defense finally getting it right at the end of the day the Jaguars anchor of a quarterback held them back once again.
The Jaguars are now 3-7 with little to no shot at the playoffs and will face the Buffalo Bills in Buffalo next week.
Jaguars wide receiver Marqise Lee officially taken off PUP list
The Jacksonville Jaguars have officially taken wide receiver Marqise Lee off of the physically unable to perform (PUP) list today. Head coach Doug Marrone announced the development at his pre-practice press conference today. Marrone says Lee will be practicing today.
— #DUUUVAL (@Jaguars) August 17, 2019
Lee has not practiced or played since his preseason knee injury almost a year ago today. With this progression, the Jaguars will go into the season — at least for now — with their top receivers active and relatively healthy. If Lee is able to make any sort of contribution during the start of the season it will be a major success for the Jaguars.
Currently, the Jaguars have relied on newcomer Chris Conley along with veterans Dede Westbrook, and D.J. Chark along with other newcomers to make up for Lee’s absence. It is not yet known how this will affect the Jaguars roster come the cut-down day.
The Jaguars have not announced a corresponding move as of right now. The roster stands at 91 until they do so.
REPORT: Jaguars sign RB Elijah Hood, release QB Tanner Lee
Earlier today the Jacksonville Jaguars announced the signing of running back Elijah Hood. As a corresponding move, the Jaguars have released quarterback Tanner Lee.
— #DUUUVAL (@Jaguars) August 17, 2019
Hood, 5’11” 230 pounds, was originally drafted in the seventh round by the Oakland Raiders. After bouncing around on the Raiders practice squad for the year, he was eventually waived following the 2017 season.
Hood most recently played the Carolina Panthers, however, his time with the Panthers was cut short in 2018 due to a torn ACL. He will get an opportunity to prove himself with the Jaguars and potentially live up to his collegiate career where he accumulated 2,580 yards and 29 touchdowns while at UNC.
With the injury to running back Alfred Blue (ankle) this past Thursday along with other running backs on the roster, the Jaguars needed to add depth at the position. Hood will get every opportunity to make the team, but his chances are rather slim.
Lee, a 2018 6th-round pick by the Jaguars was finally released as a corresponding move to signing Hood. Releasing Lee will not come to much of a shock for Jaguars fans. Lee has struggled throughout the offseason and in the preseason during both of his seasons with the Jaguars. This leaves backup quarterbacks Gardner Minshew and Alex McGough to battle it out in the Jaguars last two preseason games — although it looks like Minshew has the upper hand as of right now.
Jaguars defensive end Datone Jones has inside track on backup job
Earlier this offseason, the Jacksonville Jaguars opted to sign seven-year veteran Datone Jones as a means to create more competition and depth behind defensive end Calais Campbell. At the time, this was seen as more of a roster-filler type move, essentially to make sure the Jaguars have enough bodies during training camp. However, the situation has completely changed due to the way Jones has played during the offseason and into training camp.
Jones, 6’4″ 285 pounds, was originally drafted 26th overall in the 2013 NFL draft by the Green Bay Packers. Coming out of UCLA he was expected to make a major impact along the defensive line after accumulating a respectable 62 tackles, 16 tackles for loss, and 6.5 sacks during his senior season. Since being drafted, Jones has bounced around the NFL playing for the Minnesota Vikings, Detroit Lions, San Francisco 49ers and, most recently, the Dallas Cowboys.
Jones was not able to make as much of an impact on the Packers’ 3-4 defensive front after bouncing around from the defensive line to — surprisingly — linebacker.
For a short time, Jones signed with the Minnesota Vikings shortly after his contract with the Packers ended and expressed the concern of a position switch during an interview with the Vikings update stating, “They didn’t tell me. I found out on NFL Network that they had moved me to outside linebacker, I kind of knew that I would have to make the adjustment or I wasn’t going to be there anymore. I wanted to come into a place where I felt most natural, where I could really showcase my ability, what I could really do.”
Having to make such a drastic change in his career path after being mildly successful — 73 tackles and nine sacks with the Packers — at another position impacted Jones. While Jones did accumulate the most pressures for the Packers during the 2016 season while playing outside linebacker, it still was not the appropriate position for him to play given his natural ability.
Now with the Jaguars, Jones is back along the defensive line and is thriving. With the backup strong-side defensive end position for the Jaguars being completely wide open, Jones has taken the opportunity afforded to him and could be apart of the first group of players coming onto the field for the normal starters.
The Jaguars have tried for a couple of years now to find a good backup behind Campbell. They drafted defensive tackle/end Taven Bryan in the first round just a year ago, however, he has switched to more of a fulltime role on the interior of the defense. Mostly a disappointment his first two seasons, defensive end Dawuane Smoot has also taken a backseat with the arrival of Jones, giving Jones the inside track to win the primary backup job.
Jones has taken that opportunity and has thrived. Able to come off the ball with speed and power, he has the ability to adequately stop the run along with getting to the quarterback. During the game on Thursday, Jones completely took over the Eagles offensive line. One play in particular from Thursday’s game stands out.
Jones lines up on the defensive edge and is unblocked, getting to the quarterback and knocking him (Cody Kessler) out of the game. These are the type of plays which illustrate why he has earned a spot on the Jaguars 53-man roster.
— Datone Jones AKA TONE_LOCC (@IAM_Dat_One) August 16, 2019
A rotation from normal starters Yannick Ngakoue, Marcell Dareus, Abry Jones, and Campbell to Josh Allen, Bryan, Eli Ankou, and Jones illustrates just how deep the Jaguars are along the defensive line.
This past week head coach Jaguars Doug Marrone was asked about the importance of the defensive end spot behind Campbell.
“I feel good about where we are with our D-Line, I do. In other words, I feel like we have good starters, and I feel like we have good depth. I think we have a lot of players there, guys that will probably be, if you look at the roster, I think that can potentially be the toughest. Who is nine, who is 10 if we keep 10, wherever that goes,” Marrone stated.
“Yan obviously looks great out there, but then all of a sudden [Dontavius] Russell, [Michael] Hughes, Datone Jones, I mean you have guys now, big V [Kalani Vakameilalo] is a big body in there. We have guys now that are in there that are pretty good that it’s going to be a tough call.”
A “tough call” that might have gotten tougher — or easier depending on how you look at it — with the performance Jones put on Thursday and throughout the offseason. Against the Eagles, Jones was credited with three tackles and a quarterback hit, however, it was his persistent pressure and pocket collapsing plays that set him apart from everyone else.
Shortly after the game, reporters spoke to Jones about his strong play against the Eagles. “I just wanted to go out there and execute and compete. I felt like I started off really slow the first preseason game and I felt like I owed it to my teammates to go out there today, execute and put my abilities on film,” Jones said.
“[I wanted to] let guys like Calais [Campbell], Marcell [Dareus] and Yannick [Ngakoue] know that I’m here to compete and I want to be in the lineup with those guys. I want to be here in Sacksonville, sacking quarterbacks. Preseason is all about coming out here and displaying and competing and just having fun with your brothers. Executing, you know.”
It is clear playing behind the Jaguars starting defensive line, and seeing the culture within that group has lit a fire under Jones for the better. If he can provide the same production he has done in the past, the Jaguars may have one of the deepest defensive line groups in the entire league.
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