The third preseason game is a regular season dress rehearsal. Most of the time the starters for both teams play three quarters. The Bengals took out their first teams for both sides of the ball before half time. Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard had their way with the Jags defense as they constantly had open holes to run through. This was also a result of the Jags defensive line’s inability to collapse the pocket, as the Bengals offensive line regularly pushed them around.
Perhaps the worst part of the game was the Jags slow start on offense, and by slow I mean -2 miles per hour. The Jags had 12 total yards of offense by the end of the first quarter, while Allen Robinson, Allen Hurns and Marqise Lee all combined for zero targets. The Jags are supposed to have one of the better receiving corps in the NFL. They were nonexistent in the first quarter and made small splashes in the second. It was a massive disappointment for this young and exciting receiving corp.
The Jags running backs had little to no room all night. T.J. Yeldon finished with 5 carries for 34 yards and a 6.8 ypc. That seems great, however he had a long run of 23, and a fumble. Chris Ivory finished with 4 carries and 4 yards. Ivory and Yeldon are pair of talented backs with both size and speed. However, that won’t matter if there are no lanes to run through.
Overall the Jags left a lot to be desired Sunday night. Going up against a team that has made the playoffs the last five seasons, this was a huge test for this young Jags team. They did not live up to expectations, and were beat at every position on both sides of the ball. When the Bengals took out their starters before half time, the score was 14-3. The Jags first team made it to the redzone, but had two avoidable penalties take them back 10 yards and settle for a field goal.
A lot of people think the preseason doesn’t matter, however losing is contagious and when a team loses all the time (the Jags) you want to carry over the momentum into the regular season. It doesn’t mean as much when the Patriots, Steelers or Bengals lose in the preseason because they win in the regular season. The Jags don’t do that, they’re 19-61 in the last five seasons. The preseason doesn’t count, but it does matter and the third preseason game is a time for the starters to shine before the regular season. The Jags did not do that against the Bengals Sunday night.