They were in it all game, and in the end, the Jaguars had a chance to steal one from the Green Bay Packers in week one. But penalties, play calling, and a lack of pass rush proved to be the Achilles heel for Jacksonville as they fell 27-23.
After getting down by seven on two different occasions in the second half, Jacksonville continued to battle, and had a chance to win the game on their final possession. But after driving to the Green Bay 14-yard line, a very questionable play call on fourth and one with under a minute to go ended the team’s hopes for a huge win.
In the end, the Jaguars went toe-to-toe with the Packers all afternoon, and even outplayed them in many areas. But combining foolish mistakes and play calling with giving Aaron Rodgers plenty of time to find open receivers ultimately doomed the team.
But while the team and fans are frustrated after coming up just short, and moral victories are non-existent in the NFL, there were some positives to take away from this game:
Offense looked sharp
Aside from a lackluster run game that was missing Chris Ivory due to an unknown illness, Blake Bortles and the offense looked solid, and made plays throughout the game. Jacksonville actually ended up out-gaining the Packers by 54 yards.
Bortles avoided crucial mistakes and turnovers(his one interception came off a pass that was batted around multiple times), and made plenty of key passes to keep his team in the game. He delivered a beautiful ball over the top to Julius Thomas for a 22-yard touchdown to take the lead in the second quarter.
The tandem of Allen Hurns and Allen Robinson continued to shine, each bringing in over 70 yards receiving.
The offensive line was heavily scrutinized coming into the season, but overall I felt they did a good job in game one.
Offense moving forward
Jacksonville needs to find a way to get the running game going, and play-calling has to improve, but the offense showed Sunday they can put together successful scoring drives.
Secondary held up to the challenge
Overall the Jaguars secondary did its job against the proficient Green Bay offense. The only breakdowns in pass coverage came when pressure couldn’t get to Rodgers and he scrambled to keep the play alive.
Rookie Jalen Ramsey wasn’t targeted much, but did get some pressure on blitzes.
Davon House did a solid job, just was an unlucky victim of a play right before halftime that only Aaron Rodgers could pull off.
The standout in the defensive backfield was first year Jaguar Prince Amukamara. He had blanketing coverage all game, and showed early on why the team signed him this offseason.
Defense moving forward
Jacksonville will need the defensive line to step up and provide pressure going forward to help out the seconday. If they can, they will be no slouch of a defense for opposing teams to go up against.
In the end, it’s a wins and losses league, and just holding up against the league’s best means very little. But the Jaguars showed Sunday that they are a different team than we are accustomed to seeing in year’s past, and they appear to be a team finally ready to put together wins.