When most teams lose 41-14, you can point to a lack of effort at some point in the game. In the Jaguars 41-14 loss to the Falcons Thursday night, the team didn't quit at any point.
"I just told them that I did see the guys compete and work hard for 60 minutes," interim coach Mel Tucker said.
That's not just coach-speak, Tucker was right. The Jaguars competed the entire game, they were just outclassed by a much more talented, healthier Atlanta Falcons team on the road.
"I told the guys that anytime we win or lose you have to look at what we did well and look at what we didn't do well and correct those things," Tucker explained.
Jacksonville made their fair share of mistakes. Four turnovers, three from the quarterback position led to 17 easy points for Atlanta.
"I can't take those sacks and those fumbles are completely on me," Jaguars quarterback Blaine Gabbert said. "I got shut down on my reads."
Even without those gifts from Jacksonville the Falcons had full control of the game from their opening possession and never relented. It truly looked like a JV vs. Varsity scrimmage.
"Winning on a short week is never an easy proposition, but I really think out team handled it very well and I really think it showed the way that they worked in the ballgame," Falcons head coach Mike Smith said. They started fast and I think that they played well for the most part of the ballgame."
Offensively, Jacksonville simply can't get out of their own way. At one point late in the third quarter the team had negative-28 passing yards. Add in the turnovers and it's simply a disaster. There are certain concessions that you must make for having a rookie quarterback, but Blaine Gabbert looks more uncomfortable with each passing week and the talent around him aside from Maurice Jones-Drew is minimal.
"The quarterback was a little bit uncomfortable in the first part of the ballgame, and I think it led to those turnovers," Smith explained.
Defensively the Jaguars fought, but there simply isn't enough talent remaining to compete with an efficient passing offense. Starting players such as Kevin Rutland, Ashton Youboty, Russell Allen, Leger Douzable and Akwasi Owusu-Ansah just isn't going to work at the NFL level. As great of a season as Jeremy Mincey, Paul Posluszny and Daryl Smith are having, they simply can't make up for the lack of talent on the back end.
"It is the next man up and no excuses and no explanations," Tucker explained. "We need the guys that we have out there to execute under those circumstances. We were able to execute at times but too often we were missing on route running, pass protection or whatever. There is no excuse. The guys we have out there, we felt good about last week and we felt good about them going into this game."
Bill Parcells once famously said "you are what your record says you are." The Jaguars have earned their 4-10 record but it's not from a lack of effort, just a lack of talent.
Charlie Bernstein is the NFL Insider for ESPNFlorida.com and ESPN 1080 and 1040 in Orlando/Tampa and Editor-in-Chief of Sports Media Interactive, covering the National Football League, NCAA, and National Basketball Association. Charlie covers the Jacksonville Jaguars for FoxSports and has been featured on the NFL Network and Sirius NFL Radio. Charlie is also a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. You can follow Charlie on Twitter @nflcharlie
Despite Score, Jags Show Effort In Blowout
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