Pass 'Defense' Dooms Jaguars vs. Chargers
Other than being sacked twice by the Jaguar defense, Rivers made it look pretty easy against a defense that came in ranked dead last in team defense in the NFL. Philip Rivers went 29 for 39 and threw for 377 yards and three touchdowns.
The play of the game, that is code for momentum swinger, was a third down pass play in the 2nd quarter with 1:09 left to play. After a penalty made it 3rd and 9, Rivers drops back and throws a 43 yard touchdown to Eddie Royal. This had the Chargers take a 17-14 lead at halftime and San Diego had the ball first in the second half.
San Diego came out of the locker room and drove the ball down the field. With what would be the story of the day, another third down play led to a score on the first drive. Phillip Rivers found Malcom Floyd for a 24 yard touchdown on a 3rd and 10 play. On two occasions, when Jacksonville had a chance to get off the field, they gave up two long touchdowns instead. Those 14 unanswered points is where it began and where it ended.
The rest of the game, Blake Bortles dinked and dunked his way to a decent stat sheet -- 29 of 37 for 253 yards, one touchdown and 2 interceptions -- but could not muster enough offense to get the Jaguars on the board again. Eventually, San Diego scored another nine points on field goals by Nick Novak (34, 23,37 yards) and finished the game with a 33-14 win.
For San Diego, Keenan Allen finished with 10 receptions (career high) for 135 yards and Eddie Royal had 5 catches for 105 yards and two touchdowns.
POSITION GRADES VS SAN DIEGO
Quarterback B The first half looked great and Bortles finished with a completion percentage of 78%. Made the expected rookie mistakes but a real difference can be seen
Running Backs C Hard to really tell. It seemed like the backs were getting good yardage when they ran, but finished with 61 yards as a group with a fumble
Wide Receivers B For a young group, good job. I feel that Shorts could have helped a bit on Bortles interception, but overall 13 catches for 143 yards (11 yard average)
Tight Ends B One Touchdown by a guy picked off the Saints Practice squad on Tuesday in Nic Jacobs and Clay Harbor's debut netted 8 catches for 69 yards
Offensive Line D I am guessing the short pass plays in the 2nd half were due to the lack of protection for the rookie as the game went on -- 3 yard average on runs did not help either
Defensive Line C+ 2 sacks on the day and ok pressure throughout the game, this is the strongpoint of the defense and it showed allowing only 42 yards rushing (2.1 yard average)
Linebackers C+ They helped with the sacks and the run game -- Poz finishes with another 11 tackles on the day
Defensive Backs D Only reason they do not get an F are Cyprien doing a good job on Gates and Gratz going out with an injury -- can we please cut Winston Guy???????
Special teams A Todman averaged 29 yards per kick return; Anger had a net punting average of 56 yards and Scobee mad PATs
Where do we go from here?
Luckily, it is a pretty easy answer......home. Jacksonville will return to the friendly confines of Everbank Field and hopefully get everything back on track.
Blake Bortles will be able to make a start at home and, if he starts the way he did in San Diego, the crowd should be more of a factor. This fan base has been waiting for quarterback play like this for....carry the three, add 2......seven years.
The defense showed some promise -- after Gerhart fumbled on the first play of the opening drive leaving San Diego already in field goal range, the defense not only stopped them but the Chargers were pushed back 14 yards and had to punt. Like I said in my last post, an efficient quarterback was going to beat this defense and that is what happened this week. The front 7, though, did a great job against the run and you can see the impact Cyprien has when he is on the field. The Defensive backs need a lot of work and it does not help that Gratz will probably sit this week going through concussion protocol. This week is not going to get any easier in the back third of the defense. Philip Rivers is really good and now we have two-time Super Bowl Champion Ben Roethlisberger coming in this week. 'Big Ben' and Antonio Brown could be in for a great day if something drastic is not done.
The running game, oddly, seemed to be doing well once the passing game was in motion. There were a lot of 7,8 and 9 yard gains as Coach Bradley mentioned in his press conference. The stats will not reflect this as Jacksonville converted a number of 3rd and shorts for minimal gains. It seems as though they also used the short passes in the second half as more of their run game. Let's see some protection on the offensive line and see if we can keep the long passing game going throughout the whole day on Sunday.
Blake Bortles Growing
So far so good. We knew there were going to be growing pains with Blake and he is getting them out of his system. The things you see with him, though, are what we have not seen in a long time from THAT position on the Jaguars. You see the poise in the pocket and sitting in there going through progressions. You see the improvisations that keep plays alive and his eyes still down field and when he needs to run, so far he has been smart about it.
I think by the Cleveland Browns game on October 19th, we will see the quarterback we have been waiting such a long time for. For now, he will still make some mistakes and that is important for his growth. The guy is going to be good.