We have most likely experienced that particular feeling on a Sunday morning when you wake up with a pounding headache and check your phone and see a dozen missed calls from your significant other and your best friend. You head to the medicine cabinet to take an Advil or two and take a swig of Pedialyte to get some fluids in the system. The dreaded Sunday hangover is in full effect. Luckily it’s fall and you get to stay in bed and watch football all day while you recuperate.
As much as we don’t want to admit it, “hangovers” are real in life and in the National Football League. The Packers and Vikings, teams that most media outlets picked to make the playoffs, may have played to a tie in Week 2 of the season, but both teams sputtered badly in winnable Week 3 matchups, including a demoralizing 27-6 home loss by the Vikings to the Buffalo Bills. The Packers looked overmatched on both sides of the ball, allowing the ageless Adrian Peterson rush for 120 yards and two scores en route to a 31-17 road loss to the Washington Redskins.
The biggest Week 3 hangover may have been the Jacksonville Jaguars at home against the Tennessee Titans. Coming off of a rematch of the 2018 AFC Championship game against the New England Patriots, the Jaguars looked like world beaters as they dismantled the hapless Patriots defense en route to a convincing 31-20 victory. In that game, quarterback Blake Bortles finished 29-of-45 with 376 yards and four scores with one interception. Throughout the game, Bortles picked apart the Patriots secondary with accurate pinpoint passes including this spectacular throw and catch to Keelan Cole. Finishing with a 111.9 passer rating, Bortles and the Jaguars made the early season statement they could possibly be this year’s AFC representative in Super Bowl LIII.
The dreaded Sunday hangover came to fruition in Week 3, however, for the Jaguars, hosting the 1-1 Titans at home. Backup quarterback Blaine Gabbert got the start for the Titans, as Marcus Mariota is dealing with a nerve injury to his throwing arm that limits his ability to grip the football. Gabbert actually exited the game in the concussion protocol, thrusting the injured Mariota into action. Mariota finished the game 12-for-18 for 100 yards in relief. The story of the game was the lack of offense for the Jaguars. After gaining 480 total yards against the Patriots, Bortles and company only managed 232 yards against the Titans. Bortles finished with just 155 passing yards on the day.
The 2017 D/ST darling of the fantasy football world was no doubt the Jaguars (finished with 208 total points on the season). After three weeks of action last season, the Jags defense had accumulated 13 sacks, four fumble recoveries, and four interceptions with one touchdown scored (per Fantasy Football Today). This year so far, the Jaguars only have seven sacks and just two turnovers forced. So what’s happened to the elite “Sacksonville” defense?
Despite the 2-1 record, the defense will definitely have to reenergize themselves for a Week 4 tilt against the New York Jets. This will be the third consecutive home game for the Jaguars, as they will head to the red-hot Kansas City Chiefs in Week 5 on the road. Calais Campbell was forced from the Titans game with a calf injury, so it will be an interesting development if Campbell can’t go this week. Look for Dante Fowler Jr. to fill the all-pro's production and disruptiveness within the trenches in his absence. Yannick Ngakoue has been silent this year in the sack department (0 so far) after recording twelve sacks last year.
The Jaguars may have fallen victim to the dreaded Sunday hangover in Week 3, but with a pivotal Week 5 matchup against the Chiefs on the horizon, the Jags will have to take care of business at home this coming week. The defense will have to get back to elite “Sacksonville” football, following the 2017 blueprint of forcing turnovers and sacking the quarterback.