The Jaguars led the Bengals late in the first half, 14-0. Facing fourth and goal, they opted to go for a touchdown in lieu of a field goal. Either would have given Jacksonville a three-score lead.
Coach Urban Meyer didn’t have much to say about the play after the game. On Friday, he talked about it a bit more.
“It was actually designed to get James [Robinson] on the outside,” Meyer told reporters. “We were going to fake like we were going inside because there was going to be a real expectation that it was going to be real heavy defense inside and then flip to James, and the end went up field on us. There were the two thoughts, and you look back now and James is running the ball hard, our offensive line was playing well too.”
Whatever the explanation, the play as executed — a run by quarterback Trevor Lawrence — didn’t work. Meyer was asked whether Robinson could have gotten the yardage needed, if he were simply given the ball on the inside.
“I can’t disagree with you,” Meyer said.
As one source with knowledge of the Jacksonville roster told PFT on Friday, it shouldn’t have taken Meyer four games to figure out that Robinson is the best player on the team, and that they should have just given him the ball. If they were going to go for it.
It’s still a matter of fair debate as to whether they should have gone for it. A 17-0 lead would have changed the complexion of the game. And while it normally makes sense to go for it when facing fourth and goal from the one given the possibility of getting a short field, there wasn’t enough time for the Jaguars to get the ball back or to do anything with it.
While the Jaguars may have still lost even with a 17-0 lead, deepening the hole from two scores to three scores could have led to a much different vibe in the second half. The Bengals may have pressed a little more on the opening drive of the third quarter. And with only one mistake, the Jaguars could have delivered the dagger, and ended their 18-game losing streak.