Hays Carlyon's Jaguars Blog

Jaguars Defense Woeful in Blowout Loss to Lions

todayDecember 4, 2022


By Hays Carlyon

DETROIT – Embarrassing. Simply embarrassing.

With the chance to put some real heat on Tennessee in the AFC South race, the Jaguars played by far their worst game of the season in Detroit.

The Jaguars allowed scores on all of the Lions eight drives in the game losing 40-14 on Sunday at Ford Field.


The Lions never met any resistance. They gained 155 yards on their first 17 plays of the game, a 9.1-yards-per-play average.

The Jaguars offense certainly wasn’t blameless. Running back Travis Etienne opened the game by losing a fumble, which led to Detroit’s first touchdown.

“I felt like we were kind of shocked to start this game,” Jaguars coach Doug Pederson said. “We just were not ready. We turned the ball over on the second play of the game which can’t happen. And then defense can’t get off the field the entire game and it’s a combination of everybody. We’re all included, myself included. So, it’s something we have to really look hard at the next couple of days.”

The offense was subpar.

The defense was horrible.

The Jaguars (4-8) squandered a chance to gain another game on Tennessee (7-5) in the AFC South race. The Titans lost 35-10 to Philadelphia. A Jaguars win would’ve put them two games behind the Titans with both meetings still to come.

“It’s embarrassing honestly what we put out there in such a big game for us,” Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence said. “That’s the word to describe it, it’s embarrassing. Everybody in that locker room feels that way too. This is a playoff game for us and we go out there and laid down.”

The Jaguars defense entered the game ranked 30th in sacks percentage, 35th in third-down defense and 24th in yards allowed. Yet, this was by far their worst performance.

That’s incredibly concerning considering the massive investment on that side of the ball.

There are four first-round defenders in linebackers Travon Walker (2022), Devin Lloyd (2022), K’Lavon Chaisson (2020) and Josh Allen (2019). Jaguars general manager Trent Baalke also spent big in free agency. There’s little dividends coming in from any of his decisions.

No one on defense played well.

There was no rush and no cover. No energy.

Coach Doug Pederson hired Mike Caldwell to be his defensive coordinator. The first-time coordinator appeared out of answers against Detroit.

Safety Andre Cisco, selected in the third round in 2021, was inactive with a shoulder injury but it wouldn’t have made any difference.

This was pathetically putrid.

Detroit has some enviable weapons, but this isn’t an elite unit. Quarterback Jared Goff shouldn’t complete 31 of 41 passes for 340 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions for a 115.9 passer rating.

Pederson said he would not get more active in defensive game planning.

“I don’t get involved with the gameplan or anything,” Pederson said. “That’s not my expertise. We’ve just got to have conversations and be open. We’ve all got to be honest with what we’re doing and making sure we’ve got the right guys in the right spots.”

The Etienne lost fumble was far from the offense’s lone miscue. There were five drops (three by receiver Zay Jones and two by tight end Evan Engram).

“We’ve lost eight games this year, and never have I felt like we got embarrassed like we did today,” Lawrence said. “That can’t happen. We’ve got more pride and work too hard to do that. We’ve got to make that decision to get back on track next week, and that’s kind of where we’re at in our season. After a game like this, you’ve got to make that decision to go the right direction, and not go downhill. I believe in this team and we’ve done that the whole year, but we’ve really got to have a great week and get back on track.”

The only saving grace on the day was Lawrence was able to continue after taking a hard blindside sack that kept him on the ground for a few minutes.

“Yeah, I thought it was my knee at first, and then my foot a little bit was hurting too,” Lawrence said. “Luckily, nothing serious. We’ll have to see how I feel tomorrow. I’m going to be a little sore but thankful it’s not anything serious. I was worried it was my knee, but I don’t think it is. I feel better than I thought I would.”

Sunday certainly could have been worse if Lawrence had sustained a season-ending injury.

The reality is the Jaguars season has one more meaningful game left anyway.

Finding hope that this team can win in Nashville this Sunday to stay alive is incredibly difficult when you have a defense that is regressing by the week.

(You can email Hays at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @HaysCarlyon).

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