The stat sheet doesn't always tell the story of a game, a team, or a season but it does provide great insight. I scanned over the Jacksonville vs. Green Bay match up by the numbers and found some things I loved, as well as some things that need some serious work as the team heads to the west coast. Lets dive into the tale of the tape, and look ahead at what needs to happen for a win against the Chargers on Sunday...
3 stats that need to go up:
- 48 Rushing Yards - The Teal & Black rushing attack took a major hit when its new toy Chris Ivory was a late game scratch; and it doesn't appear he's coming back any time soon. I don't know what the answer is, now that T.J. Yeldon is once again left to shoulder the load but I know the newly acquired Bronson Hill isn't it. Maybe it's time to give Beast Mode a call up in Seattle or find another Jonas Gray to add. Regardless, under 50 yards on the ground is unacceptable.
- 1 sack - the Jaguars biggest weakness last season was its pass rush. Dave Caldwell did his job by bringing in the players to improve the defensive front. You add an expensive Malik Jackson, the debut of Dante Fowler, and the drafting of Yannick Ngakoue & Sheldon Day; fans expected more than a lonely sack. By the way that solo QB slam came from none of the above players, but instead Jared Odrick. There was pressure in the backfield and Aaron Rodgers can certainly move in the pocket but the time for excuses is behind this Jacksonville team in Gus Bradley's fourth year. Phillip Rivers is missing his best target behind a faulty offensive line, the edge rushers and bulls in the trenches should be able to find their way a bit easier to snagging down the Chargers QB.
- 0 turnovers - Zero, zilch, nada. The tale of almost every game can be found in the turnover ratio, and you're not making your offense's life any easier by giving them no extra opportunities. Blake Bortles for the most part protected the ball on his side, and the non-existent rushing attack at least didn't fumble for the Jags. I can only imagine what one interception off that prolific Packers offense or an Eddie Lacy fumble would have meant in the outcome at Everbank last Sunday. Cheers to finding their rhythm and the football on defense on the West Coast.
3 stats that need to go down:
- 9 penalties for 79yds - Whether you blame it on coaches not disciplining their players enough in practice or the players not using their heads enough in-game, penalties are the worst kind of pain on the gridiron. In a game of inches when yards are so hard to come by, freebies from yellow flags are literally the worst. The Jaguars need to cut down on the mental errors and avoid moving the chains for the Chargers; make the Bolts do their own heavy lifting. One call shy of double digit penalties is awful. Gus Bradley's crew hasn't been the epitome of clean games the past three years, and although there were no back breaking penalties against the Packers, the team still needs to do a better job at avoiding the refs in California.
- 4, 4th down attempts - Going 3/4 on 4th down conversions is something a team can really use to build confidence and hang it's hat on. However, it also means the squad was in some very bleak situations and living and dying on the extra down can only work for so long before it comes back to bite you; just ask Allen Hurns. The bottom line is that Jacksonville shouldn't have even been in that many do-or-die situations. The amount of conversions the Jags found themselves attempting to make are a direct indication of a bigger problem- their poor usage of timeouts. It's hard to reset on third down and stop the clock when you've used all your timeouts, despite the fantastic clock management by Bradley and co. Moving forward, expect less 4th down attempts and more Teal time outs late in the game.
- 27 points - I went on record early in the season saying the key to Jags wins in 2016/2017 was keeping their opponents under 21 points and/or Greg Olsen's offense scoring over 30 points. I don't have to remind you the score from last Sunday, but neither of my keys to victory happened. Furthermore, if the Jags either held Rodgers and co. to under 21 points or put up 30 plus with A-Rob & Hurns, then the result would have been different. This is the part where I pat myself on the back. No but in all seriousness, 27 points might be a small confidence booster considering how good the Packers offense has been the past decade under Mike McCarthy but I can't stress enough that the time for excuses is over in Duval.
3 stats that need to stay the same:
- 3/3 (100%) FGs - Josh Scobee who? The young kid with the super leg, Jason Myers erased all doubt about taking over as the Jags Kicker... for a week at least. Myers was far from automatic last year but did make over 80% of his field goals; well Sunday at Everbank he was perfect. He accounted for 11 points on 3 field goals and 2 extra points, his longest boot being over 50 yards. As gut wrenching as a the finale was against Clay Matthews crew, it wouldn't have even been possible without the steady foot of Myers. I'm not sure if a kicker has ever made it through an entire season without missing a FG but if the Jags can rely on their kicking game this season, and the special teams unit is a strength, then the amount of winnable games on the schedule is higher than originally expected.
- Time of Possession 31:23 - As I previously mentioned, the rushing attack was non-existent behind the solo legs of T.J. Yeldon. As a reminder: Yeldon and Denard Robinson combined for less than 50 yards on the ground. That stat makes the Jags time of possession so much more impressive. How man times has an NFL team lead time of possession in a game where their running backs totaled just a little over 40 yards? If Gus Bradley continues to keep the clock in his pocket, and adds in some time outs late in a game... watch out AFC South.
- 211 combined reception yards Robinson/Hurns/Thomas - Bortles three top weapons consists of the Brothers Allen & Julius Thomas, and if they're clicking and making catches, the Jaguars offense can keep up with any other attack in the league. It will be tough for both Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns to have over 1000 yards a piece again this season, but they're off to a great start, despite all the missed pass interference calls. On the other hand, you also have Julius Thomas fresh and healthy from Game 1 which would have been a huge help in the 2015/2016 campaign. Combined, the trio put up some great numbers against the Packers and will be out looking for frequent flyer miles once again when they land in San Diego. The Chargers secondary isn't exactly stacked, and with the departure of Eric Weddle, it's far from intimidating. The Jaguars should have their way with the Bolts defense behind Bortles arm, with the arsenal of weapons in the Jacksonville receiving core.