ARIZONA CARDINALS

Jaguars 9 losses shy of NFL record as they prepare for Cardinals

Sep 20, 2021, 8:15 PM
Jacksonville Jaguars coach Urban Meyer, left, prepares to lead his team onto the field before an NF...

Jacksonville Jaguars coach Urban Meyer, left, prepares to lead his team onto the field before an NFL football game against the Houston Texans Sunday, Sept. 12, 2021, in Houston. (AP Photo/Sam Craft)

(AP Photo/Sam Craft)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — NFL infamy is in sight for the Jacksonville Jaguars.

The Jaguars have dropped 17 consecutive games, including six in a row by double digits, and have provided little evidence they are nearing a turnaround.

So there’s a realistic possibility that owner Shad Khan’s team could challenge or maybe even top Tampa Bay’s long-standing mark for NFL futility: 26 straight losses between the 1976 and ’77 seasons.

Jacksonville moved a step closer with a 23-13 loss to Denver on Sunday that wasn’t nearly as close as the final score might indicate.

The Jaguars (0-2) managed just 106 yards after finding the end zone on their opening drive and added a second touchdown on a 102-yard kickoff return in the fourth quarter.

“There’s a lot of fight in this team,” coach Urban Meyer said. “There’s 15 games left, and my goal, our goal, is to have the strongest locker room that you can possibly have. I feel like it’s extremely strong right now.

“Players are (ticked off). Players want to win. Players are sticking together. That’s the best part of our team, the best part of our organization right now is what’s in that locker room.”

Jacksonville’s skid is tied for the fourth longest since the NFL merger in 1970 and includes 11 double-digit losses. And the team has allowed at least 23 points in each of the 17 setbacks.

They will try to break the streak against Arizona (2-0) at home Sunday.

“We’ve got to continue to believe, have faith,” cornerback Shaquill Griffin said. “The main thing is we can’t point any fingers. We’ve got to make sure we all stick with each other because we’ve still got a long season left. I don’t want guys to do is start giving up now, you know.

“The main focus is stay in it, continue to believe. … I don’t need no waiver. We might bend, but we never break, and that’s the main message.”

WHAT’S WORKING

Jamal Agnew’s kickoff return for a touchdown was Jacksonville’s first since Dec. 18, 2016. It came late in the game and with the Jaguars trailing 23-7, but it was proof that Meyer’s commitment to special teams — he wants Jacksonville to have the best units in the league — has a chance to make a difference.

“I know this as a fact after coaching special teams my entire career: if they know there’s a guy back that can do it, you block that much harder, and they know he can do it now,” Meyer said. “That’s going to be on tape.”

WHAT NEEDS HELP

Josh Lambo missed 12 games last year with a hip injury that required surgery and recently said “I’m as good of a kicker, if not better, than I’ve ever been.”

The results say otherwise.

Lambo is 0 for 3 this season, missing from 55, 52 and 48 yards. He was off target twice Sunday, squandering six points in a 10-point loss. Those were his first errant attempts at TIAA Bank Field since signing with Jacksonville in 2017; he had made 41 in a row.

Meyer initially backed Lambo after the game, saying “I’m not giving up on Josh Lambo.” He later added: “I don’t know what the plan is as far as bringing someone else in.”

STOCK UP

Jacksonville’s oft-maligned offensive line held up well again, giving up just once sack for the second straight week. Rookie Trevor Lawrence has thrown 84 passes in two games and is the NFL’s lone quarterback to throw more than 70 this season and not be sacked at least three times.

STOCK DOWN

DJ Chark, playing in the final year of his contract, has four catches on 16 targets and has been supplanted by Marvin Jones as the team’s No. 1 receiver. Chark had one reception for 19 yards against the Broncos and might still be feeling the effects of a broken finger on his right hand.

INJURIES

TE James O’Shaughnessy has a high ankle sprain that will sideline him several weeks. … WR Laviska Shenault has a mild shoulder injury, but should be able to play this week. … Veteran CB Tre Herndon (knee) is expected to make his season debut and could step in for CJ Henderson (groin).

KEY NUMBER

372 — days since Jacksonville’s most recent win. The Jaguars opened the 2020 season with a home victory against Indianapolis and have dropped every one since.

NEXT STEPS

Lacking talent and still searching for an identity, Jacksonville might need to play mistake-free football to get a victory.

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