Senior writer John Oehser examines Head Coach Urban Meyer’s press conference following the Jaguars’ 21-14 loss to the Atlanta Falcons in a 2021 Week 12 game at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville Sunday
1. “Devastating.” New week, similar story. That was the first half for the Jaguars Sunday, with mistakes on special teams and defense allowing the Falcons extra opportunities enroute to a 14-3 halftime lead. Jaguars defensive end Lerentee McCray’s offsides penalty gave the Falcons a first down after Atlanta punted on 4th-and-2 from the Jaguars 9, with the Falcons driving to their 45 before punting again. After Jaguars running back James Robinson lost a fumble at their 29, defensive lineman Roy Robertson-Harris was called for unsportsmanlike conduct for leverage, giving Atlanta a first down after an apparent field goal. Falcons wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson’s 12-yard run on the ensuing play made it 14-0 instead of 10-0. “Devastating,” Meyer said. “Those are three turnovers, when our defense jogs off the field and they have to stay on.” The Jaguars had three defensive penalties on third down to give San Francisco first downs in a 30-3 loss to the 49ers last week. The Jaguars also allowed Atlanta to convert 3rd-and-13 on its first touchdown drive Sunday, with running back Mike Davis turning a checkdown pass from quarterback Matt Ryan into an 18-yard gain from the Falcons 16.
2. The heart remains. Meyer throughout the season has talked about his pride in a strong locker room that continues to believe despite adversity. The Jaguars on Sunday trailed 21-3 early in the third quarter, marking their third consecutive game trailing by at least 17 points. As they did two weeks ago against Indianapolis, the Jaguars rallied Sunday and had the ball down to the final margin with just over two minutes remaining. “They fought their tails off,” Meyer said.
3. Good to see. After struggling to create big plays offensively throughout the season, the Jaguars made progress there Sunday. Though they did not have a play of more than 30 yards for a fifth time in six games, they had five plays of more than 20 yards – the most 20-plus plays they have had since seven such plays in an October 17 victory over Miami. “We moved the ball a little bit,” Meyer said. “No big plays … none – then all of a sudden we start getting some. Not many teams can drive the ball the length of the field without a hit here and there. We had some hits and scored a couple of times.”
4. Really good to see. Meyer on several occasions Sunday spoke of liking that the Jaguars used more up-tempo offense against Atlanta, adding that he expects the offense to play that way more this season. The Jaguars scored 14 points Sunday, marking their eighth time in 11 games this season with fewer than 20 points, but the offense produced three drives of more than 70 yards – a field-goal drive in the first half and second-half drives for a touchdown and a field goal. Meyer was asked if rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence seemed to play freer and looser playing faster. “I think so, and that’s why we’re doing more of it, and I think you can expect some more of it as we move forward,” he said.
5. Really, really good to see. Meyer also was clearly pleased with Lawrence’s success running run-pass-option looks Sunday, with Lawrence rushing five times for 39 yards – including three carries for 27 yards on the two second-half scoring drives. “A lot of the shotgun runs were really good today,” Meyer said. “I thought Trevor made some good decisions. He protects himself when he gets down. As we move forward that’s going to be more and more who we are.”
6. On J-Rob. Meyer after Sunday’s loss addressed Robinson’s lost first-half fumble that led directly to Patterson’s touchdown and a 14-0 Atlanta lead. “James is a grown man and I just talked to him about locking the elbow and clamping — that’s our terminology that we use, lock the ball down,” Meyer said. Robinson on Sunday played a third consecutive game with heel/knee issues, rushing 17 times for 86 yards. “He still doesn’t look like he’s full speed to me,” Meyer said. “Robinson did not carry on the series following his fumble, with running back Carlos Hyde running twice for nine yards on drive that ended with a 22-yard field goal by Matthew Wright. “I don’t micromanage that,” Meyer said. “But Carlos is a good player, too, so they might have had him in there for that reason.”
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