- Mike DiRocco, ESPN Staff Writer
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TO troubles: The Jaguars are not 14 points worse than the Rams, but they ended up that way because they continue to hurt themselves with turnovers. The Blaine Gabbert pass that sailed over Justin Blackmon's head and was intercepted and returned for a touchdown was one of his worst throws of the season. Clay Harbor's fumble on the sideline, which led to a Rams TD, happened because he didn't cover the ball as he was going to the ground. Gabbert's second interception was to a completely covered Cecil Shorts in the end zone on fourth down. The Jaguars are now minus-7 in turnover margin this season. “There are so many times when these games come back to the small security of making good decisions with the ball,” Jaguars coach Gus Bradley said. “We will continue to emphasize that.”
Run game makes progress: The Jaguars entered the weekend averaging just 49.0 yards per game rushing, but nearly doubled that against the Rams, running for 96 yards on 25 carries. Maurice Jones-Drew ran for a season-high 70 yards on 17 carries and had his first big run of the season, a 20-yarder that helped set up a field goal. This came with a new right tackle (Austin Pasztor) and the third player to play left tackle in a week (Cameron Bradfield). The Jaguars had success later in the game running the ball out of the pistol and having center Brad Meester slide down the left side of the line to help block the edge. “That's how the run game goes,” Jones-Drew said. “At first it's like 2 yards, zero, negative-3, and then after a while you start breaking runs. The offensive line did a great job of capturing the edge and we were able to make some runs. We want to continue building on that and it takes time.”
More TE damage: Bradley disagreed with an assessment earlier last week that the Jaguars were having trouble handling tight ends. Guys weren't getting beat one-on-one. There were coverage busts, especially against Seattle. Both happened again against the Rams. Lance Kendricks and Jared Cook combined to catch seven passes for 63 yards and a touchdown. Nearly half of those receptions were key plays, too. Kendricks had a 16-yard TD catch and also had another 16-yard catch on second-and-9. Both came on play-action rollouts in which Kendricks shadowed Bradford across the field and eluded linebackers. Cook had a 14-yard catch in the middle of the field against safety Johnathan Cyprien on a third-and-10 play and he also was the beneficiary of a 21-yard pass interference penalty by cornerback Will Blackmon.
More mistakes: Committing only four penalties for 45 yards normally would be a laudable stat, but nothing is that simple with the Jaguars. LaRoy Reynolds' illegal block above the waist wiped out Ace Sanders' 88-yard punt return for a touchdown and Blackmon's pass interference penalty jump-started a scoring drive that ended with a field goal.