Plenty of blame to go around for Jaguars after another loss
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — There were turnovers by the Jacksonville Jaguars on consecutive offensive snaps and miscommunication on defense that allowed Dallas to keep making big plays.
Even on special teams, after forcing a punt, there were too many players on the field for a drive-extending penalty that led to another Cowboys touchdown.
“There’s not one spot I can honestly say that we performed well enough to win,” coach Doug Marrone said.
The Jaguars trailed big at halftime for the second week in a row and were held to a season-low 204 total yards Sunday in a 40-7 loss, their worst in three years.
“It’s tough to play that way. We’ve got to do a better job offensively getting started early. The games we played well as an offense, we got started early,” quarterback Blake Bortles said. “It was just kind bad all around.”
Even after consecutive losses in which the Jaguars (3-3) were scoreless and down big at halftime, the team that made it to the AFC title game last season is still in a three-way tie for the AFC South lead after Tennessee lost and Houston won earlier Sunday. The Texans are in Jacksonville next weekend.
“As bad as it is, it just puts you in perspective. There’s still a lot of football to play and we still can make it happen,” 11th-year defensive lineman Calais Campbell said. “This one stings. I don’t like the way it went down. We’re still in a good position to go do what we want to do. Our goals are still intact.”
Dallas scored on all four of its possessions before halftime, building a 24-0 lead as the Jaguars played their fourth game without ailing running back Leonard Fournette and while dealing with an injury-riddled offensive line.
The Jaguars had trailed 20-0 at halftime a week earlier at Kansas City before Bortles threw for 304 of his 430 yards and two touchdowns after halftime to make it a 30-14 final.
Instead of another big second half this time, Jacksonville suffered its worst loss since falling 51-17 at New England on Sept. 27, 2015.
Jacksonville finally scored against the Cowboys midway through the third quarter when Bortles hit Dede Westbrook for a 34-yard touchdown that made it 24-7.
The next two offensive snaps by the Jaguars resulted in turnovers that led directly to points for Dallas.
When Bortles threw into heavy coverage, the ball ricocheted off another defender to Jeff Heath, whose 35-yard return to the Jaguars 8 set up Brett Maher’s 32-yard field goal that made it 30-7.
On the first play of the ensuing Jaguars possession, Keelan Cole fumbled after making a short catch and then taking a couple of steps. Dallas recovered at the 31, and two plays later Ezekiel Elliott added a 15-yard TD run to start the fourth quarter.
Bortles finished 15 of 26 for 149 yards, and was sacked three times. He missed out on a chance to be only the fifth NFL quarterback with at least 375 yards passing in three straight games after establishing a career high in consecutive weeks. But he also had a career-high four interceptions in the loss to the Chiefs.
When Marrone was asked about the possibility of any changes to spark the quarterback, he certainly didn’t put all the blame on Bortles.
“I think it’s hard to say it’s the quarterback when it’s everybody, including the coaches, including myself. That’s how I feel, when I was watching the game,” Marrone said. “I wish it was that easy, I wish you could say, there it is, get him out, let’s go. But that wasn’t the case. It’s everybody.”