Hays Carlyon's Jaguars Blog

Jaguars receivers awful without Kirk in loss at Browns

todayDecember 10, 2023


By Hays Carlyon

CLEVELAND – Where have you gone, Christian Kirk? Jaguars nation turns its lonely eyes to you.

The dependable and playmaking Jaguars receiver suffered a core muscle injury last week and is on injured reserve.

He was sorely missed.

The Jaguars receivers turned in a dismal effort in a 31-27 loss at Cleveland on Sunday. The Jaguars committed four turnovers. Two of those were direct results of mistakes by receivers.

Calvin Ridley wasn’t looking for the ball, despite being open downfield, on one of quarterback Trevor Lawrence’s three interceptions. The Jaguars were at the Browns 24-yard line when Ridley zoned out, killing a prime scoring opportunity with 1:47 left in the second quarter and the Jaguars trailing 14-7.

Rookie receiver Parker Washington lost a fumble at the Jaguars 22-yard line after making a catch to end the first drive of the second half. That led to a Browns touchdown.

Zay Jones was ineffective.

Ridley and Jones were targeted 15 times combined midway through the third quarter. They caught five of those passes for 39 yards.

“Just too many miscommunications,” Lawrence said. “We’ve been playing together for a while now and that’s on us and we have to take some accountability for cleaning that up. That’s just stuff that can’t happen for both of us. We have to be on the same page.”

The end results weren’t much better.

Ridley caught four passes for 53 yards on 13 targets.

Jones made five receptions for 29 yards on 14 targets.

That means Lawrence was 9 of 27 for 82 yards when throwing to Ridley and Jones.

That’s terrible. Cleveland was also missing two-time Pro Bowl cornerback Denzel Ward.

“Offensively we were a little disconnected,” Jaguars coach Doug Pederson said. “Trevor and the receivers were a little off. We had opportunities to make plays in the first half and didn’t. The turnovers are big and you can’t do that.”

Kirk has caught 141 passes for 1,895 yards and 11 touchdowns in his 29-game Jaguars tenure. We already knew how valuable he was, but Sunday’s game was a vivid reminder.

The problem is Kirk likely won’t be back until the playoffs.

“There’s a lot of teams missing players at this point in the season, but 100 percent, obviously we miss Christian,” Lawrence said. “He’s one of our best players and makes a huge impact. We still have to find a way to still win games without him. So that’s not going to change in the next few weeks.”

Ridley, Jones and Washington have to step up to help Lawrence and give some support to tight end Evan Engram. Lawrence and Engram were near perfect, connecting 11 times on 12 targets for 95 yards and two touchdowns.

The defense wasn’t without blame. Cleveland quarterback Joe Flacco, who had his last good season in 2016, threw for 311 yards with three touchdowns, largely because the Jaguars blew multiple coverages leading to easy scores.

Still, the offense was so putrid it would’ve been difficult for any defense to play well enough for the team to win today.

The Jaguars (8-5) were fortunate not to lose any ground in the AFC South race in having their eight-straight road wins streak snapped. Houston and Indianapolis both lost with each dropping to 7-6.

That was the only consolation.

The Jaguars leave Cleveland wondering if the receivers will be reliable without Kirk. They were the biggest negative in a multitude of them on Sunday.


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






























Written by: Hays Carlyon

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todayDecember 10, 2023