While the Jacksonville Jaguars' running game averaged 4.6 yards per carry against San Diego, Maurice Jones-Drew only touched the ball 11 times.
Effort problem: For the first time all season, coach Gus Bradley said he saw a lack of effort from his players. That’s disconcerting because that’s usually the first sign of a team that has tuned on its head coach or given up. We won’t know until Sunday’s game against San Francisco in London if that’s the case, but initial thoughts based on what was said in the locker room are that Bradley hasn’t lost his players. Rather, it was likely the players were lulled into a sense of: We’ve improved each of the past two weeks and we’re naturally going to continue that progression. What happens is players forget just how hard they worked or the amount of preparation that went into the improvements. That appears to be what Bradley believes, as well. “The three most dangerous words in the NFL are, 'I’ve got it,' and I think we felt like, ‘We’re making strides. We’ve got this. We’ve just got to go out there and do this,’ and that’s not how it works,” Bradley said.
Pass rush MIA: San Diego lost a pair of left tackles in the first quarter when starter King Dunlap left the game with a concussion and backup Mike Remmers left the game with an ankle injury four plays later. The Chargers, who had only seven active offensive linemen, had to shuffle the lineup, and that should have been the jackpot for the Jaguars’ pass rush. Nope. The Jaguars’ lone sack came on the play in which Dunlap was injured and they didn’t get to Philip Rivers again and only hit him twice more. The lack of pressure was the main reason Rivers completed 22 of 26 passes for 285 yards.
Running game disappears: Offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch earlier last week said he wanted to get Maurice Jones-Drew 20 or more touches every game. He had just 11 against the Chargers: nine rushes for 37 yards and two catches for 19. Jones-Drew averaged 4.1 yards per carry, tying his season high (he had 70 yards on 17 carries against St. Louis), and the running game overall averaged 4.6 yards per carry, which was by far the best mark of the season. There really wasn’t a reason to abandon the run, either. The Jaguars were down by 11 points late in the second quarter and never trailed by more than 14 in the third quarter, but Jones-Drew had just three touches in the second half (three carries, one reception). The Jaguars ran the ball a season-low 17 times, including two designed runs for quarterback Chad Henne.
Fighting through: Receivers Justin Blackmon (groin/hamstring) and Cecil Shorts (sprained SC joint near his shoulder) fought through injuries and combined to catch 14 passes for 138 yards. Shorts, however, dropped two potential touchdown passes, but he didn’t blame his injury. “Nothing to do with my shoulder,” he said.