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Sunday, October 9, 2011
Wrap-up: Bengals 30, Jaguars 20

By Paul Kuharsky

Thoughts on the Jacksonville Jaguars' 30-20 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals at EverBank Field:

What it means: The Jaguars have lost four in a row and don’t have much reason to hope right now. Their numbers weren't terrible against Cincinnati but they didn’t make the clutch plays they needed, left themselves in a desperate situation at the end and handed away a touchdown on the game’s final lateral-fest that made the losing margin bigger than it needed to be. No matter the margin, a losing streak, a rookie quarterback and a coach under increasing fire is an ugly combination.

What I didn’t like: Beyond Maurice Jones-Drew, who ran for 4.5 yards a carry, and a 74-yard Blaine Gabbert-to-Jason Hill touchdown pass on a busted coverage, there weren’t enough big plays. The Jaguars were unable to translate another reasonably good defensive effort, in which they limited Cincinnati to 77 rushing yards, into a win.

What I liked: Jones-Drew spun and then smashed straight into Bengals cornerback Leon Hall, knocking the defender flat on his back before rumbling into the end zone for a 6-yard touchdown. Beautiful power running.

Battle of the rookie quarterbacks: Statistically, Andy Dalton and Gabbert were almost a wash. Dalton threw a pick, after which he tackled Dwight Lowery near the goal line and saw his defense limit the Jaguars to a field goal. Gabbert lost a shotgun snap he wasn’t ready for from Brad Meester that gave the Bengals the ball back late with a 3-point lead to preserve.

What’s next: The Jaguars draw a trip to the Pittsburgh Steelers, who are feeling much better about themselves after a rout of the Tennessee Titans. It’s the last of four consecutive games against the AFC South for the Steelers, who have beaten Indianapolis and Tennessee and lost to Houston.