The New York Jets were stalled by the voracious Jacksonville Jaguars Sunday, leaving the sunshine state after losing 31-12. The Jets offense never managed to find its footing in any particular aspect of the game after being held to a mere 178 yards combined.
Rookie quarterback Sam Darnold continued his growing pains, albeit against arguably the strongest defense in the entire NFL, completing only 17 of his 34 passes with only a single touchdown. Led by the All-Pro and trash talk magnet cornerback Jalen Ramsey, the Jaguars secondary locked down Darnold’s receiving options.
Quincy Enunwa was the most effective of the corps, granted his 66 yards on 4 receptions is far from explosive. “I think we expected one thing and got another,” Enunwa said. “I don’t know. I don’t call the plays.” The frustration here is obvious but there is also a clear reference to an uncertainty in play calling.
“I wish I could sit here and explain it because we weren’t very good,” said head coach Todd Bowles, which certainly won’t instil much confidence from its articulation.
Still though, through the air was far and away the Jets’ best method to traverse the field. The Jets ground game was absolutely smothered into irrelevance. Running back Bilal Powell carried the football for 26 yards, yet was seemingly the only option to at least keep the Jaguars honest no matter how obvious the running woes were. Darnold actually outproduced Crowell on the ground, as the latter found himself with a particularly miserable day of four rushes for 0 yards gained.
Not to be shown up by the putrid offensive showing, the Jets defense struggled mightily against the the Blake Bortles-led Jaguars offense. Surrendering a whopping 503 yards came all the more agonizing with Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette exiting the game early with a reaggravation of the hamstring injury that had sidelined him for most of the season to date. Wideouts Dede Westbrook and Donte Moncrief were seemingly everywhere as they gashed the Jets all over the field for over 100 receiving yards each.
“It’s just about executing,” Darnold said. “It’s not that much more complicated than that,” though that comes off as awfully simplistic against the weight of the domination the Jaguars displayed.
Last season’s surprise in receiver Robby Anderson continued his statistical absence and has seemingly been an afterthought in the current Jets offense. The returns of Enunwa and the Jets scheme showing hesitance in letting Darnold air it out has effectively anchored the once exciting vertical threat.
“It kind of makes (the Detroit game) seem like a fluke,” Enunwa said. “We don’t believe it was, but I’m sure everybody else does.” Perhaps the Jets could be making their final statements on that debate next Sunday when they will take on the Denver Broncos