The Jacksonville Jaguars are now 3-4 after losing three consecutive games, largely because the offense can’t score and the defense is exhausted.
There’s no statistic for being fed up. There’s also no statistic for the mental toll it must take for a great defense watching its offensive compliment fumble and bumble its way to one turnover and punt after the next.
The Jacksonville Jaguars certainly know the toll and emotions that come with it, having lost their third consecutive game on Sunday. This one came at home against the Houston Texans, a game that saw Blake Bortles finally get benched for… Cody Kessler. The move brought a standing ovation from the crowd of TIAA Bank Field, but the result was still a 20-7 drubbing that dropped Jacksonville to 3-4 and into third place of the middling AFC South.
Looking forward, it’s tough to find silver linings for a team that was mere minutes from a Super Bowl nine months ago. The division remains wide open, but the Jaguars have already lost at home to the Texans and Tennessee Titans, and now face a schedule that includes the Philadelphia Eagles and Pittsburgh Steelers over the next three weeks.
Bortles is the rightful face of this downturn, but the blame should be universally shared within the organization. The front office decided to keep Bortles this offseason when it could have let him walk in favor of a more promising option (Teddy Bridgewater says hello), instead signing the former No. 3 overall pick to a three-year deal.
While Bortles and the offense are toothless, the defense hasn’t done anything positive over the past three weeks. After being tops in the league for points and yards allowed over the first four games of the year, Jacksonville’s vaunted unit has surrendered 90 points over this span, something the offense has little chance of overcoming.
Now, with Jacksonville’s season on the ropes, head coach Doug Marrone has the toughest call of his tenure ahead of him. Stick with Kessler after a less-than-inspiring effort (21-of-30 for 156 yards with a touchdown and interception), or go back to Bortles and hope for a turnaround.
Either way, Marrone might be deciding between which way he wants to watch the ship sink. The defense is capable of turning around the Jaguars’ fortunes on that side of the ball, but the offense could well be beyond hope.