Jets-Jaguars: Graca's Takeaways


Disappointing day all around for the defense as quarterback Blake Bortles turned in a career day at the office Sunday. The Jaguars signal caller threw for a career-best 388 yards and opened the game completing 11 straight passes. Jacksonville scored on all four of its first half possessions as Bortles found success all afternoon, especially when it came to shallow crossing routes. Too often it was like Bortles was playing pitch and catch with his intended targets as both wideouts Dede Westbrook and Dante Moncrief each eclipsed 100 yards receiving. Moncrief beat Jets cornerback Trumaine Johnson for a 67-yard score in the third quarter. This was a Jaguars unit that could only muster six points the previous week against Tennessee.

Once again the offense failed to find any rhythm on the afternoon. Granted, they were facing one of the top defensive units in the NFL, but the Jets have only managed to find the end zone once in the last six quarters. On Sunday, they were 3-of-13 on third down, which meant lots of time on the field for the defense. I would've maybe liked to see some more running plays mixed in (only 14 rushes as opposed to 34 passes), especially when you're facing a tenacious front like the Jags and are still developing a young QB. As for Sam Darnold, once again it was a mixed bag. On the positive, he played his first turnover-free game against a very good defense. He just missed on a couple shots to wide receivers Quincy Enunwa and Robby Anderson. In the second quarter, the great throw and catch from Darnold to tight end Chris Herndon was negated by an Eric Tomlinson holding penalty and the result was an empty possession.

I was pretty surprised at Jags head coach Doug Marrone's decision to try for points on 4th-and-goal with 25 seconds left in the game, while already nursing a 23-point lead and the final outcome a mere formality. And if T.J. Yeldon's 1-yard scamper wasn't enough of an insult, the Jags took it a step further by electing to go for the 2-point conversion which ultimately failed. When asked about the decision afterwards, Marrone replied, "The chart said to go for two." Funny. Don't forget to tip your waiter. It's no secret that Marrone, a New York native and former Jets O-Line coach, had eyes for the head coaching job in 2015. Did his failure to land the gig serve as the driving force behind the decision? You can venture your own guess. However, I'm fairly certain the Jets will have their next encounter circled on the calendar, whenever that may come.

The Jets concluded the first quarter of the season at 1-3. Disappointing, sure. Could a couple of the Ls have been converted into Ws? Absolutely, but you are what your record says you are. Dropping three consecutive games following the euphoria of the season-opening thumping of the Lions will now test this team's mettle. They survived a grueling schedule to begin the year with three games in 11 days, two of which were on the road. All the while breaking in a rookie QB who just happened to be the NFL's youngest Week 1 starter since the merger. Looking ahead there are some positives that can help pivot this season back in the right direction, like........

The calendar flips to October and bringing with it three consecutive home games for the Green & White, beginning Sunday against the Broncos, followed by visits from the Colts and Vikings. Denver will be on a short week as it played Monday night and will have to travel to the East Coast, where they suffered a loss to the Ravens a couple weeks back.

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