JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) - After each of his previous 17 losses, Jacksonville Jaguars coach Gus Bradley could attribute them to problems on the field.
Missed tackles, blown coverages, dropped passes, turnovers.
This time, Bradley pointed the finger at himself, shouldering the blame for Jacksonville’s 16-14 loss at Tennessee on Sunday.
“I could have done better with the game management, with the challenge flags,” Bradley said Monday. “We all challenge ourselves in areas that we could get better. I challenged the team and I pointed out the things that I could get better at, too.”
Bradley lost both challenges, failing to change a call in the second quarter on what clearly looked like an incomplete pass and getting the same result by challenging a fumble by Titans running back Bishop Sankey early in the fourth. Replays showed Sankey’s knee was down, but Bradley threw the red flag anyway based on information he got from the coaches’ booth.
It cost Jacksonville a timeout, which would have come in handy late in the game, especially after the Jaguars (0-6) recovered an onside kick with 37 seconds remaining.
Jacksonville had no timeouts, so Bradley ended up sending Josh Scobee out to attempt a 55-yard field goal on a third-and-2 play. Had the Jags been able to stop the clock, they had plenty of time to run another play and get Scobee closer.
Compounding the problem, Scobee said he felt rushed getting on the field, getting through his routine and getting the ball snapped before the play clock expired.
“I know the clock was going down to five, four, three, and it made Josh a little nervous as far as we had no timeouts, what was going on,” Bradley said. “It wasn’t ideal for him, but we’ve still got to make those plays. I think he would be the first to admit that. I think we all, at times, were a little frustrated. It probably stems from me. We talk about, ‘Let’s be strong, let’s understand the situation that we’re in and make the most of it.’
“We’re all professionals and we’ve got to make plays, and I think I can do a better job of that. I know I could have led better (Sunday) as well.”
There were other negative things in the game that helped contribute to the team’s ninth consecutive loss.
Bradley said the defense had 15 missed tackles and the offense had poor field position all day. The team’s average drive started at the -yard line, and 10 of 11 possessions started at or inside the 20.
“That’s tough to go 80 yards every series,” Bradley said. “You’ve got to have some explosives and things like that, so we’ve got to find a way to get better field position.”
The running game was almost non-existence again. Quarterback Blake Bortles led the team with 38 yards on the ground. Three running backs combined for 43 yards on 18 carries.
“Out of those 18 attempts, four or five of them were prefect and really good execution,” Bradley said. “We’re not hitting it enough at a higher percentage. We need to for it to be efficient. The good news is there is a lot of room that we can get right.”
On the positive side, the Jaguars held an opponent to less than 300 yards of offense for the first time this season and held their opponent under 20 points for a second straight game. Jacksonville’s first four opponents all gained over 400 yards and scored at least 33 points. Last week, Pittsburgh had 372 yards and 17 points. The Titans finished with 290 yards and the 16 points.
Jacksonville had a season-high 27 first downs. Bortles completed 70 percent of his passes for a career-high 336 yards and a touchdown. And the Jaguars converted 53 percent ( 8 of 15) on third down while holding the Titans to just 27 percent.
“Obviously there are a lot of positives as we go through it on offense, defense and special teams,” Bradley said. “But the bottom line is we didn’t come away with what we had hoped for. We addressed it, we talked about it as a team and I challenged them. I know we have courage. We’re going to have to put that courage to work starting today and address these things and continue to get better.”
The Jaguars host Cleveland on Sunday.
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