The Jaguars lost again on Sunday, in heartbreaking fashion. In the grand scheme of things, the loss wasn’t a terrible loss, especially in comparison to the loss in San Diego.
They played a tough Baltimore team, and played well. They were in contention the entire time, even having the lead in the final minutes of the game. The biggest problem was that they couldn’t close the deal. Nobody wants to lose, but the Jaguars showed a significant amount of improvement from last week, especially on defense.
But now the Jaguars are 0-3 and their next game will be against Indianapolis in London, in a game that has become incredibly important for this franchise for a few reasons.
The first of those reasons is that the Jaguars need a win. Jacksonville can’t afford to go into the bye week 0-4, especially if they want to have any hope of winning the division and making something out of this season.
Indianapolis is not a good team. If you were to take their entire starting roster, there might not be any player on the Colts that could start on the Jaguars other than Andrew Luck and Vontae Davis, their best cornerback. To make matters even more interesting, Indianapolis just beat San Diego, who destroyed the Jaguars last week.
Another reason is that the jury is still out on whether or not Blake Bortles is a legitimate franchise quarterback in this league. The Jaguars have never won a game when Bortles has thrown over 300 yards (which has been the case 9 times). That lends credence to the idea that much of Bortles’ production has come when Jacksonville hasn’t been in the game, like last week in San Diego. With Sunday’s performance against the Ravens, especially key mistakes late in the fourth quarter (like taking a sack and burning the last timeout as a result, or multiple bad throws) Bortles didn’t help his case.
Perhaps the most important reason is that this year was supposed to be the year where the Jaguars proved that they were a legitimate NFL team, and where Gus Bradley guided his team to the next step in their development. In the offseason Jacksonville extended his contract by one year, and the Shad Khan followed that up by stating that he had high expectation for this team.
Inevitably, those high expectations and the now 0-3 start to the season have raised questions regarding Bradley’s status as head coach. If they lose to Indianapolis, a team that the Jaguars look to be better than on paper, there might be a little more than just questions as far as Bradley’s job security goes.