The Jaguars’ trick play offense gave them an early lead and they held on to win, but the problems remain on defense
There was only one game on television in the AFC South on Sunday — yes, even more of a novelty this week than the thrilling Jaguars-Chargers game — but with the Titans giving up early points and the Texans trading touchdowns, there was still enough drama to talk about.
All the television coverage was driven by Gus Bradley’s Jaguars, who bounced back from last week’s disastrous loss to the Patriots to defeat the Chargers 24-21. Blake Bortles, sacked seven times in his previous matchup with New England, got off to a hot start on Sunday, throwing for 312 yards and two touchdowns to T.J. Yeldon.
His relief — rookie Samaje Perine — didn’t fare as well. Perine, who was filling in for an injured Leonard Fournette, led the team with 40 yards on 12 carries. But the defense will need to show more improvement moving forward if the Jaguars hope to continue to hold their own in the AFC South.
Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota did not look like the 2015 No. 2 overall pick, going 16-for-27 for 164 yards and a score. His demotion to backup quarterback late in the season last year does not bode well for him keeping his job in Tennessee.
This week, Tennessee will play at Jacksonville and Houston will host Kansas City. Watch out for the two losses by the Texans.
Meanwhile, the Broncos-Jaguars game was more of the same. Trailing by 10 points after the first quarter, Jacksonville quarterback Blake Bortles threw for two touchdowns — neither one particularly very impressive — before the Jaguars turned it over on downs in the second quarter. When a pass to the goal line was intercepted with the Jaguars down 14-10 and 14 seconds remaining in the first half, it seemed like that could be the end of Jacksonville’s chances at a win.
But the Broncos fumbled on their first drive of the second half, leading to a 41-yard touchdown pass to Keelan Cole. The Jaguars would go on to cover the final 6 yards on the ensuing drive, helped by a penalty that set up another field goal and a 27-14 lead going into the fourth quarter.
A bad Jacksonville defense will continue to cause problems for Bortles and will continue to haunt the Jaguars’ defense in the next game. Denver will look to bounce back and try to bring the division back into their hands.
In the NFC South, the Saints and Panthers faced off and the Saints came out on top to improve to 3-1 on the season. Neither of these teams, who lead the division, are exactly tearing it up just yet.
New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees played without his favorite receiver Michael Thomas, who injured his hamstring in the team’s Week 3 win over the Dolphins. Brees completed 25 of 42 passes for 299 yards and two touchdowns, but did throw two interceptions, giving him three turnovers in his last two games.
On the other side, Cam Newton threw for 301 yards and one touchdown in a 21-17 loss to the Saints. He was picked off twice, for a total of three turnovers in the last two games. And he could use some help on offense.
The Saints offense is still in a decent place despite the loss, but this was a tough game for them to win and they’ll need to find their mojo once again against the Packers in Week 5.
The Panthers, meanwhile, face the Cowboys this week with a 2-2 record. This will be a much more difficult matchup than last week’s Week 3 win over the Cardinals, but they’ll need to turn things around quickly, as Dallas is hot.
Denver 21, Jacksonville 27
Minnesota 27, Detroit 24
Green Bay 31, Pittsburgh 10
Tampa Bay 16, Atlanta 13
Oakland 20, Miami 6
Seattle 17, Cleveland 9
Kansas City 41, Los Angeles Chargers 17
N.Y. Giants 19, N.Y. Jets 3
New Orleans 37, Carolina 17
Houston 18, Indianapolis 10