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Fischer: Jaguars try to build on win at Chicago

Christopher Fischer



Photo by Daniel Bartel/Icon Sportswire

Ouch. When your own team website comes out with a recap that starts “for three quarters on Sunday the Jaguars looked like the Jaguars,” that tells you expectations are low.

Instead, the site should’ve been in defense of Jacksonville’s defensive effort, and ballyhooed the Jags stunning come from behind fourth quarter victory.

“It was a good team victory,” said Blake Bortles.

No, it wasn’t. It was a defensive victory. Gus Bradley’s defense saved the day to compensate for the lack of offense and 2 turnovers. Chicago could’ve made it a blowout, but the Jaguars stood their ground to force three Connor Barth field goals all shorter than 37 yards.

“I think the big stat was (Chicago) one for four in the red zone,” said Bradley. “For them to come away with just field goals gave us a chance to get back in the game.”

It didn’t matter that Bears’ quarterback Brian Hoyer passed for over 300 yards. What did matter was Jacksonville was able to withstand Chicago dominating the time of possession (Chicago: 35:47 to Jacksonville: 24:13).
What needs to improve for Jaguars:

Their third down conversions have been horrendous this season. The Jaguars rank dead last in the NFL when the down marker reads 3. Bortles and company have converted just 27% (17 of 63), the next worse percentage is Philadelphia with a rookie quarterback and not nearly the wide receiver weapons Jacksonville possesses.

Running the football
You have to appreciate Bradley’s honesty when asked about the poor rushing attack.

“I can’t argue about the run game, it’s not coming along,” said Bradley. “It all comes back to execution and technique but there isn’t just not a certain speed or urgency in our play.”

After 5 games the Jaguars are second to last in the league in rushing yards (355 yards). Only Minnesota is worst, and only by two yards. Chris Ivory carried the rock 11 times in Chicago, leading the way with a mere 32 yards. It’s hard to set up the passing game when you can’t run the football.

“Something is holding us back playing as aggressively as we need to in the run game,” said Bradley. “I think that’s where our attention now is, how do we get this fixed.”

What worked:
Switching to a no huddle offensive attack in second half proved to be a smart move.

“Sometimes a unit needs to be stimulated,” said Bradley.

Coming off back to back three and outs, Bortles and the offense kept the Bears on their heels by running the hurry up. In three of those final 4 drives, the Jags put points on the board.

Sure the witch to the no huddle was dictated by the fact that Jacksonville trailed by 13 heading in to the final frame of the game. But if this is how offensive coordinator Greg Olsen’s offense is finding success, it would be worth re-visiting from the on set against the Raiders this Sunday.

Where Have you Benn:

Kudos to wide receiver Arrelious Benn for scoring what would be the game winning touchdown on Sunday. Here is a guy who hasn’t been able to stay healthy for years. That 51-yard trip to the end zone is the first time he’s scored a touchdown since President Barak Obama’s first term.

He’s always been a speedster chopped down by nagging knee and leg injuries, but Sunday he gave Jags fans a taste of what Tampa Bay fans were promised when Benn was drafted in the second round in 2010.

A native Floridian who graduated from Clearwater High School and the University of Florida, Chris Fischer has spent nearly 15 years in Sports Televison, including the last five as Sports Reporter and Anchor with the CBS affiliate in Tampa Bay-WTSP. He is a multi time AP Sports and Local Emmy award winner and will be seen this season as a sideline reporter on CBS-TV’s network coverage of the NFL.Chris brings enthusiasm and passion (particularly when it comes to his Gators) to College and NFL coverage to F.F.I.

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