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Jaguars vs. Lions: Final Grades for Jacksonville

Justin OnslowContributor IINovember 4, 2012

Jaguars vs. Lions: Final Grades for Jacksonville

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    The Jacksonville Jaguars fell victim to the Detroit Lions 31-14 on Sunday with an especially ugly offensive performance and an equally dreadful showing on defense.

    The final grades aren’t pretty. Blaine Gabbert played better than his final line may indicate, but the scoreboard doesn’t lie. The Jaguars played a poor game, and fall to 1-7 on the season with the loss.

    Without a defense capable of stopping the run or getting pressure on opposing quarterbacks, the Jaguars are in dire straits. They managed just one sack against the Lions, and only hit Matthew Stafford three times all game. They also gave up four rushing touchdowns.

    Read on for a more in-depth analysis, including game grades for each unit.

Blaine Gabbert

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    Final Grade: C

    Rashad Jennings should have been Jacksonville’s offensive catalyst, but Blaine Gabbert ended up pacing the Jaguars’ offense. Gabbert got off to an abysmal start, but played well in the fourth quarter against a soft Lions secondary.

    Gabbert finished the game with 220 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions on 27-of-38 passing. His second interception came on a pass intended for Jennings, who let the ball slip through his fingers and into the hands of cornerback Jonte Green.

    Gabbert fell victim to some bad drops and an anemic running game, but finished the game strong with a touchdown pass to Justin Blackmon, which was Blackmon’s first career touchdown catch. He also found Micheal Spurlock in the third quarter for a score, and followed with a two-point conversion pass to Jennings.

    Gabbert played better than the statistics indicate, but not well enough to give Jacksonville a chance to win in Week 9.

Offense

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    Final Grade: D

    Jacksonville has some serious work to do with its offense.

    The Jaguars managed just 279 yards of offense—most of which came in the fourth quarter when Detroit had a comfortable lead.

    Blaine Gabbert played pretty well in the second half, but the Jags could not get anything going on the ground throughout the contest, and made it difficult to achieve any semblance of balance on offense. Rashad Jennings had just 12 carries for 45 yards.

    Jacksonville’s offense looked stagnant from the start, and Jaguars fans are left to wonder why their team can’t seem to play with any energy at home.

Defense

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    Final Grade: F

    You can’t win by allowing 149 yards and four touchdowns on the ground.

    That’s precisely what Jacksonville did against the Lions, surrendering three scores to Mikel Leshoure in the first half alone. The Jaguars’ front four seemed worn down to end each half, and one has to wonder how much of that can be contributed to coaching.

    Defensive coordinator Mel Tucker seemed content with just rushing four linemen in passing situations early in the game, despite Jacksonville getting good pressure on Matthew Stafford when rushing five. When Detroit switched gears and began running the ball more, Jacksonville’s defensive line seemed gassed.

    Cornerbacks Aaron Ross and Derek Cox played well against Detroit’s dynamic wide receiver corps, but with little pressure from its front four, Jacksonville was unable to stop Calvin Johnson. Football starts in the trenches, and the Jaguars were clearly beaten at the line of scrimmage.

Special Teams

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    Final Grade: B

    When little is said about special teams, it’s usually a good thing.

    Jacksonville did nothing poorly on special teams, but it needed a big play to swing the momentum against Detroit. That big play never came.

    Punter Bryan Anger would have been the MVP in this game had the Jaguars been able to stop Detoit’s offense. Anger ripped off a 73-yard punt in the first quarter, and averaged 50.5 yards on four punts. He shifted the field position for the Jaguars, but they were unable to capitalize.

Coaching

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    Final Grade: D

    There’s a lot to be said of the Jaguars’ coaching in Week 9. Little of it is good.

    Jacksonville has been atrocious at home this season, and head coach Mike Mularkey can be held partially accountable for that. He has been unable to get his team focused and prepared, and it showed against the Lions. Jacksonville’s offense was stationary in the first half, due in large part to conservative play calling and poor execution.

    On the other side of the ball, defensive coordinator Mel Tucker was uninspiring as well. He did a good job mixing up coverages in the first half, which kept Matthew Stafford guessing. Early in the game, Jacksonville was able to get pressure from its front four and hold the Lions at bay.

    As the game progressed, Jacksonville’s defensive line seemed to wear down, and Stafford had much more time to find holes in coverage. The Jaguars didn’t make the needed adjustments at halftime, and it showed in the second half.

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