The Jaguars lost London for the second straight year, blown out by the Houston Texans 26-3. The Jaguars now headed to the bye week with a 4-5 record on the season and with little margin for error in their playoff quest. Here are my four biggest takeaways from the game:
The QB decision
It’s clear that Gardner Minshew did not do much to stake his claim to the starting job after the bye week. Minshew struggled most of the day and was not accurate as the game wore on. He came into the game with two interceptions and he was intercepted on back-to-back pass attempts in the fourth quarter.
Then he fumbled on the next possession. It appeared the Texans wanted Minshew to prove that he could beat them. They rushed four and dropped seven into coverage most of the day. The plan worked. Doug Marrone said that he would make his decision after the bye week, but it seems clear that Minshew’s last impression won’t help his cause.
Elementary for Watson
DeShaun Watson entered the game as an MVP contender. He did nothing to hurt his chances against the Jaguars. Time and time again, Watson escaped would be sacks, made big plays with his legs, and kept plays alive to complete passes for first downs and more. Even a first-timer in London watching the game would have recognized that Watson was the best player on the field.
If there ever really was a London advantage, and perhaps there was in the early stages of the series, there are enough teams and players who have made the trip that traveling the way the Jaguars do has become the regular approach in the NFL. You cannot say that the Jaguars have an advantage in London when they’ve lost their last two games by combined total of 50-21.
Season on the line
The Jaguars’ season is not over. But their margin for error he is almost nothing. After the bye week, the Jaguars play road games at Indianapolis and Tennessee. Those are a must win-games. After that, they have some games that should be rather easy to win against teams like Tampa Bay and Atlanta. If the Jaguars can win on the road and then take care of business after that, they still have a shot. But they cannot stub their toe again and lose a game they should win.