The Jaguars were dead in the water on Sunday, and it would have been the type of loss that could either lose jobs, or hope from the loyal fan base.
Then the team was simply bailed out by the officials.
On the Jaguars final play with the offense on the field, the team was clearly not set at the line of scrimmage when the ball was snapped. It should have resulted in a false start penalty with an ensuing 10-second clock runoff, thus ending the game.
The NFL admitted it made a mistake yesterday, but that doesn't matter now. The Jaguars got lucky and perhaps they were owed one? A few key calls didn't go their way in last week's loss to the New York Jets that could've changed the game. A game in which Jacksonville played pretty well against what could be a playoff team.
On Sunday, the Jaguars didn't play well. Blake Bortles turned the ball over once (although he could have had four interceptions), kicker Jason Myers missed a 26-yard field goal, and the team dropped two touchdown passes.
Baltimore out-gained Jacksonville by nearly 150 yards, but it wasn't enough as they turned the ball over four times and committed nine penalties for 121 yards. There was no penalty bigger than Elvis Dumervil's 15-yard personal foul for grasping the face-mask of Blake Bortles as time expired.
The Jaguars received a major mulligan, just like they received one for the 2015 season after starting 2-6.
The final offensive play, albeit illegal, showed a little of the Jaguars progress.
“We showed a play on Friday just about making smart decisions at critical times," Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley explained. "That’s where we felt like we needed an emphasis. We showed five or six plays and a play that we showed a small amount of time before the game the receiver tried to get back and set up and they called a penalty on him. He wasn’t set. We talked about how little things like that are so important because they give you an opportunity. To see that really come up in the game was cool. Did they reflect back on that? I don’t know. Hopefully it brought some awareness. I think when you look at it so many things come into place. We’re not talking about ‘Why did Blake spike it? It was fourth down.’ He knew the situation. You look at Julius Thomas; he caught the ball and right away he handed the ball to the official and hustled back. That’s been a coaching point through training camp. You saw receivers 30 yards down field and turn around and run back and get all lined up and we made sure we had enough guys on the line of scrimmage. A guy like Wis [C Stefen Wisniewski] is looking at the clock and snapping it with less than two seconds because he knows that’s our only opportunity for everybody to get set up. I think there are so many things that had to take place in that last play for us to get that opportunity and to see that on tape and be able to show that to the players is going to be cool.”
Believe it or not, the Jaguars control their own destiny as far as winning the AFC South. It would have been nice if Cincinnati had defeated Houston, but the team still remains just one game out of first place.
The Jaguars found a way to win with their quarterback playing his worst game of the season, a missed chip-shot field goal and the defense not being able to consistently stop one of the worst set of receivers you'll ever see in an NFL game.
Let's stop talking about what should have happened and relish the opportunity that presented itself.
With that said, if the Jaguars lose to the Titans at home Thursday night, none of it means a thing.