This week's Jags Roundtable Discussion focuses on Jacksonville's final play call on 4th & 1, that resulted in a turnover on downs and Aaron Rodgers taking a knee to end the game. In the press box, on twitter, and outside among the fans reactions varied in response to the Blake Bortles screen pass to Allen Hurns that failed to gain the additional yard needed to extend the series. We go FULL Clint Eastwood in our breakdown..
The Good (Zac Blobner):
The play call to end the game was the right one. Often in sports we strictly judge the correctness of coaching moves on the result; I challenge you to be smarter than that. To be frank, the Jaguars were playing with house money the final 45 seconds of the game after several 4th down conversations and a pass interference call that went Jacksonville's way. The fact that Blake Bortles and company were even in a situation to possibly beat the Packers is somewhat of a miracle.
The 4th & 1 play to end that final Jags drive and essentially the game, was a run first-pass option. Putting the decision on your third year franchise quarterback? Gold Star. The Green Bay defensive front crashed the line of scrimmage, leaving zero room for any kind of gain from a runner. Bortles than accurately decided to bail on the handoff and throw the screen to his 2nd best weapon: Allen Hurns. Gold Star.
Hurns led the team in reception yards and had zero drops in Week 1... making him the perfect option to target on that final screen. Gold star. Next, the pass from Bortles to Hurns was easily caught. Gold star. Unfortunately, despite the one-on-one coverage, the jam block from Allen Robinson coming from the outside-in did not go smoothly. It ended up being a cluster of four players (2 jags, 2 packers) which isn't ideally how that play unfolds. Even at that point, however, it was a 50/50 chance to gain the yard needed for a first down. Half a Gold Star. Hurns even said in the locker room after the game to us that the burden to move the chains solely falls on him in that instance, and he flat out didn't beat his man. Honestly, after watching the play a dozen times myself in the film room, more of the blame goes to Robinson's soft block. Either way you cut it though, the Allen duo had to find a way around the two Green Bay defenders and didn't.
If you're doing the math, that's 4.5/5 Stars for the final play call. The result doesn't always dictate a strong play or not. It's the NFL, and it's unpredictable.
The Bad (Kerry Belkin):
The last play for Jacksonville’s offense was one of those plays that everybody would have called a good play call had it worked. But it didn’t.
So it’s bad.
The play was designed to be a run-pass option according to both Bortles and Bradley, and Bortles admitted after the fact that he should have checked out if it. The play looked dead from the second the ball was thrown. Allen Robinson wasn't able to get the necessary block, nor was he able to put the second defender in position to get picked, and as a result they swarmed Hurns.
Had the spacing been right, the play might have had a better outcome. Next time, it would probably make for a better call if the ball is thrown beyond the line of scrimmage, not behind it.
That's why it was bad.
The Ugly (Ben Freid):
Hindsight is always 20/20 and if the last play succeeded, no one would care and it was a great call. With that said, this particular play was ugly for a variety of reasons. The execution was terrible. It was a QB option play, but there was no reason for Bortles to run considering the Jags were out of time outs.
Blake Bortles also threw to the wrong receiver. Not taking anything away from Allen Hurns, he is of great importance to this offense and always brings it. However, the Jags have two big-bodied tight ends in Julius Thomas and Marcedes Lewis, as well as Allen Robinson as their primary wide receiver. For a play that only needed one yard, it’s usually smarter to get the ball to your bigger players.
The real ugly part though was the set up. Hurns was doomed to fail from the start. As soon as he caught the ball, two Packers defenders were right there. Blocks were not picked up, leaving Hurns to try and power through and it wasn’t enough. \
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