The Jacksonville Jaguars were coming off a disappointing performance against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 2, but were expected to rebound at home in Week 3 against the winless Texans. Instead, the Jaguars fell flat in a mistake-ridden 37-17 loss to Houston in Week 3.
Which Jaguars players should take most of the blame for the ugly loss to the Texans in Week 3? Let's take a look:
Calvin Ridley, WR
It's all been downhill since Ridley's Week 1 debut, as the Jaguars WR1 made multiple costly mistakes throughout the course of the game. Ridley dropped three passes on the day, including two in the endzone that the Jaguars desperately needed. Ridley also got flagged for two false starts, which is totally unacceptable for a wide receiver. A lack of focus and attention to detail seemed to plague the Jaguars all game, and Calvin Ridley was the face of that in Week 3.
With Zay Jones out, the Jaguars needed Calvin Ridley to put up a big game, but he fumbled his chances and recorded just three receptions on seven targets. Trevor Lawrence has had his own issues (more on that in a second), but the inability to convert big time throws is holding what should be an explosive offense back. For the Jaguars to return to last year's form, they'll need Ridley to emerge as the true alpha wide receiver he has the capability of being.
Trevor Lawrence, QB
It's not uncommon for a quarterback to get the blame when an offense fails to produce, but Lawrence needs to shoulder most of the blame for the Jaguars uninspired play against the Texans in Week 3. While his final wasn't terrible (27-for-40, 279 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT) and he was hurt by some key drops, Houston's secondary is extremely burnable and should have been carved up by Lawrence given that he had time in the pocket to operate. The Texans didn't sack Lawrence once on 40 dropbacks, but the third-year QB was too quick to check down into the flat instead of letting his primary receivers have time to finish their routes.
That's not to say this was a bad performance by Trevor Lawrence. He put multiple potential touchdowns right on the money, but his receivers failed to get both feet in bounds.
Trevor Lawrence with *4* potential TDs on Sunday where the ball was caught, but WR was unable to get two feet down inbounds
(two came on the same drive, but still sheeshy, you know what I mean?) pic.twitter.com/Q4ab08qyZq
— Ian Hartitz (@Ihartitz) September 18, 2023
Still, the late third quarter interception on third down is Lawrence's to hold, and the 5-for-13 on third down conversions isn't going to cut it. Lawrence hasn't been as bad as the efficiency metrics say, but he's still underperforming based on the expectations placed on him coming into the season. For the Jaguars to take the leap, Lawrence has to be sharper.
Brandon McManus, K
Jacksonville's entire special teams unit was an unmitigated disaster in Week 3 against the Texans. It's one thing to miss a 48-yard field goal — that will happen. But to get the very next field goal attempt blocked is tough to swallow. McManus can't block for himself and kick, but the two errors early on set the tone for the Jaguars in the wrong kind of way.
The unfortunate special teams hat trick was capped off by a pooch kick gone wrong, as fullback Andrew Beck inexplicably ran back a kickoff return all the way to the house to extend Houston's lead to two scores late in the third quarter. Sometimes games can come down to special teams performances, and that was the case for the Jaguars in their brutal Week 3 loss to the Texans.