On a game that they had to win, the Jaguars imploded in spectacular fashion Sunday for the whole world to see.
Jacksonville’s home game in London was its worst showing of the year and likely sets the table for a slog to the finish of another forgettable season. Houston rolled over the Jaguars 26-3 and sent Jacksonville into its bye week with more questions than ever before.
It mustered just a second quarter field goal by Josh Lambo and did nothing offensively. Quarterback Gardner Minshew II had a miserable day in what was likely an audtiona to hang on to the starting job. He tossed interceptions on back-to-back drives in the fourth quarter, lost a fumble on the next drive and another with seconds left in the game. That’s four Minshew turnovers over a 6 minute and 37-second span.
The worst of those giveaways came after the Jaguars’ best play of the game when safety Jarrod Wilson knocked the ball out of Carlos Hyde’s hands as he was going into the end zone at the tail end of a 58-yard run.
The ball bounced into the end zone and was recovered by the Jaguars for a touchback.
While they didn’t have much of a shot down 19-3 and listless on offense, it did give Minshew a chance. But that ended when he sailed another throw high that was picked off by Justin Reid.
The Texans scored on a 1-yard pass from Deshaun Watson to DeAndre Hopkins two plays later.
Minshew lost fumbles on Jacksonville’s next two possessions. He was 26 of 46 passing for 297 yards and two interceptions. Running back Leonard Fournette had no room to run either. He managed just 40 yards rushing on 11 carries.
While it didn’t allow a mountain of points, the defense struggled to get a handle on Watson or former Jaguars castoff Hyde, who finished with 160 rushing yards. Watson passed for 201 yards on a 22-for-28 day and a pair of touchdowns.
Jacksonville (4-5) enters the bye week in gut check territory.
The Jaguars can’t afford another loss to an AFC South team. They’ve got two games against the division-leading Colts and another against the Titans left. They likely need to go 6-1 over the final stretch of the season to have a shot at the playoffs.
Will this team look different after the bye week? The Nov. 17 game at Indianapolis is the first game that Nick Foles is eligible to play in. Foles broke his collarbone in Week 1.