The Jaguars’ defense continues to decline after showing promising signs a month ago.
The problem isn’t that the Los Angeles Rams have a good offense. They do and no one was kidding it would be easy to stop quarterback Matthew Stafford and wide receivers Cooper Kupp and Odell Beckham ahead of Sunday’s 37-7 loss at SoFi Stadium.
But after showing good signs early in the game, it deteriorated rapidly in the second half as the Rams made two long touchdowns in the third quarter to move away from a 16-7 lead at halftime. to win 37-7.
Following:Jaguars drop 16th straight against NFC opponents in 37-7 loss to Rams
Following:Gene Frenette: the Jaguars return empty under the glowing lights of Hollywood
“There weren’t a lot of defensive chances to change the game,” said defensive end Dawuane Smoot.
The Jaguars have failed to produce a turnover for the third game of the last four. Smoot and Rudy Ford have combined for the lone sack on Stafford – one of the least mobile quarterbacks the Jags face this season – and have just five sacks in the last four games after a two-game streak against Seattle and Buffalo in which they had seven sacks.
The Jags have only managed two hits from the quarterback, after averaging six per game in the previous four games.
Los Angeles had 418 total yards, the most the Jags have given since beating Miami in London, and Stafford’s 295 passing yards were the most allowed by the Jags since Miami’s Tua Tagovailoa (329).
Kupp caught eight passes for 129 yards to give him 100 receptions for 1,366 for the season, both NFL highs.
And stopping the race was a problem again. Sony Michel has gained 121 yards, the third in the last four games to cut the Jags by 100 or more after it only happened once in the first eight games.
The Rams haven’t really been a ground team after losing Cam Akers in the preseason, with Michel posting his first 100-yard game this season and the first in 15 games dating back to last season.
Things looked promising in the first half, despite the Jaguars spotting the Rams with a 10-0 lead. The best cause for optimism was putting the pincers on NFL point guard Cooper Kupp, who had just three catches for 22 yards in the first half.
But, as Smoot said, “we contained it for as long as we could,” referring to the offense that rose from top to bottom on the pitch.
After a three-and-out from the Jaguars and a 55-yard punt by Logan Cooke to start the second half, the Rams had 85 yards in four games. Stafford completed a 43-yard pass to Kupp, and the two then connected for a 29-yard touchdown pass.
When the Jaguars failed to convert on a second and a, a third and two and a fourth and a, the Rams took over and amassed 62 yards in 10 plays. Stafford connected with Kupp for 19 yards and tight end Tyler Higbee to set up a 2-yard touchdown pass to former Florida Gator Van Jefferson.
It was 30-7, a sure lead given the Jags’ futility in attack.
Smoot thinks the main problem is that the team is falling behind early. Over the past four weeks, the Jags have fallen 16-7, 14-3, 20-3, 20-9 at halftime.
“We spotted them very early on,” he said. “It was tough trying to come together. We don’t start strong in the first quarter. We can’t spot them even at three points.”
Asked about the James Robinson fumble that set up the Rams’ first touchdown, Smoot said inheriting shortfield shouldn’t be an excuse.
“If the offense returns the ball, we still have to stop them,” he said.