Never before had the Jacksonville Jaguars lost nine games in a row. On Sunday in Houston that statement became inoperable when the Houston Texans came from behind in the fourth quarter to beat Jacksonville 21-20.
After the game, Jaguars Coach Gus Bradley was fired.
“I thanked Gus Bradley for his commitment to the Jacksonville Jaguars over the past four seasons,” said Jaguars’ owner Shad Khan. “As anyone close to our team knows, Gus gave his staff and players everything he had. It is unfortunately evident that we must make a change.”
An interim coach will be named soon.
In his last game as coach, Bradley’s Jaguars led 20-11 going into the fourth quarter before Houston mustered just enough offense to steal the win. Despite having 20 points on the scoreboard, the Jaguars season-long struggle on the offensive side of the ball continued.
They had only 150 yards of total offense all day, including 44 in the second half while they tried to hold off the Texans. Houston had 387 yards.
Texans’ coach Bill O’Brien benched starting quarterback Blake Osweiler in the second quarter after the second of his two interceptions. The latter pick set up the Jaguars on the Houston 37-yard line where they would score their only offensive touchdown of the day to go up 13-0.
Jacksonville’s only other touchdown came on a 100-yard kickoff return in the third quarter by Marquise Lee. They led 20-8 at that point.
Osweiler’s replacement, Tom Savage, threw for 260 yards. Meanwhile, the struggles of Blake Bortles continued as the Jaguars’ quarterback only managed 92 yards on the day with one interception.
He has clearly regressed this year, but perhaps the lack of a running game has led him to try and do more than he is capable of doing under this offensive scheme and with the talent around him. That is a major reason, along with a 2-12 record, why Bradley lost his job. More personnel actions are certain to come in the next two-to-three weeks.
There are pockets of talent for the new coach, whoever that might be, to build upon. Lee is one of those who have shown a high level of ability. So has cornerback Jalen Ramsey, the first-round draft choice from Florida State who had one of the Jaguars’ two interceptions on Sunday.
Jacksonville has only two more opportunities to end the season on a high note. The first comes on Christmas Eve when the Tennessee Titans come to EverBank Field. Tennessee won the previous meeting in Nashville, 36-22.