Once again the Jacksonville Jaguars had a chance to win a game, but once again it was the other team making the plays needed to win. The Detroit Lions scored two non-offensive touchdowns and made a fourth quarter comeback to beat Jacksonville 26-19 at Ford Field on Sunday.
The Jaguars defense showed up to play and they deserved a better fate. Detroit was able to manage only 14 rushing yards all day and they sacked Lions’ quarterback Matthew Stafford three times.
The defense also had 10 tackles for loss and did not give up a TD pass all day.
So how did the Jags manage to lose this one? It happened a number of ways.
The first culprit was special teams. With the Jaguars leading 3-0 early in the second period, Andre Roberts fielded a Brad Nortman punt at the Detroit 45, and then bobbed and weaved his way into the end zone for the Lions’ go-ahead touchdown.
After a 9-9 halftime tie, the Jaguars had the chance to go ahead on the opening possession of the second half. On the third play, quarterback Blake Bortles was picked off by Rafael Bush, who took it 39 yards for a touchdown to give Detroit a 16-9 lead.
To their credit, the Jaguars hung in, scoring on their next two possessions. Jason Myers kicked a 52-yard field goal followed by a nine-play, 87-yard touchdown drive to regain the lead at 19-16.
For as well as the defense played, they needed one more play to perhaps comes away with a win. But Stafford connected with Eric Ebron on a 61-yard pass play on third and 13 in the fourth quarter to set up the go-ahead touchdown, also caught by Ebron.
Marquise Lee gave the Jags a chance by returning the ensuing kickoff to the 44-yard line, but after a three-and-out, their chance at victory slipped away.
“Hard-fought game. Give credit to Detroit,” said Jaguars Coach Gus Bradley. “They made more plays than we did. They made more BIG plays. I thought our guys played hard all four quarters.”
Bortles threw for 202 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Chris Ivory led Jaguars rushers with 39 yards and receivers with 75 yards. Lee and Allen Robinson caught touchdown passes.
The defense also broke a long drought. They had not forced a turnover since the victory over Indianapolis in London, but recovered two Detroit fumbles on the day.
With the loss, Jacksonville has now lost five games in a row to fall to 2-8 on the season. Next week they head to Buffalo to face the Bills, one of the NFL’s leading rushing teams.