JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- This, in case you were wondering, is rock bottom.
It’s hard to imagine things being much worse for the Jacksonville Jaguars than what happened at TIAA Bank Field on Sunday evening. They trailed by 28 points moments into the third quarter, allowed Philip Rivers to move his offense up and down the field at will, and lost their fifth consecutive game, 45-10, to the Los Angeles Chargers.
Sunday was worse than the 28-point loss in Seattle in 2013, the 34-point loss in New England in 2015 and the embarrassment on national TV in Tennessee in 2016. Those Jaguars teams didn’t have much talent. There are three Pro Bowlers on this defense. Leonard Fournette entered the game third in the NFL in yards from scrimmage. DJ Chark is one of the best young receivers in the league.
There has been a lot of money spent on free agents and extensions, including a big-money deal to land Nick Foles. He’s on the bench because the offense was non-functional when he was on the field last week. Yet this team is 4-9 and hasn’t been competitive since October ended. Sunday's loss mathematically eliminated the Jaguars from playoff contention.
An estimated crowd of less than 50,000 watched the debacle, though not many fans stuck around for the second half. It’s hard to blame them.
It’s hard to imagine owner Shad Khan holding off until the season ends to fire coach Doug Marrone after Sunday's horror show. There’s still one more home game left (Dec. 29) and Khan surely doesn’t want to watch his franchise drop even lower.
If that’s even possible.
QB breakdown: The switch to Gardner Minshew seemed to work -- at first. The Jaguars drove 67 yards in 14 plays on the game’s opening possession and ate up 7 minutes, 37 seconds. They had to settle for a 26-yard field goal, however, because things bogged down once they reached the 12-yard line. Minshew completed 2-of-3 passes for 34 yards on the drive, including a 22-yarder to Chark. The Jaguars didn’t score again until late in the third quarter. Minshew is essentially auditioning for the starting job in 2020 and this wasn’t a good start. He didn’t see a wide-open Chark for what would have been a huge gain (and possibly a touchdown) in the second quarter and he failed to see Keelan Cole for what would have been a big gain in the third quarter, too.
Silver lining: Fournette has been one of the team’s few bright spots this season. He answered questions about his maturity, work ethic and commitment by staying healthy and not missing a single practice. He had only 50 yards rushing on Sunday, but that put him over 1,000 for the season and he’s just one yard shy of his career high set in his rookie season of 2017 (1,040 yards). He also leads the team in catches (68). It’s been a wasted season in Jacksonville for pretty much everyone but Fournette.