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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Adam Stites

8 stats that tell the story of the Jaguars’ disappointing 2023 season

The Jacksonville Jaguars were expected to be a dark horse Super Bowl contender in 2023 after surging into contention last season.

While there were speed bumps early, the Jaguars looked the part in October and parts of November en route to an 8-3 record through 12 weeks. Then the wheels fell off.

The Jaguars lost five of their last six, including a brutal 28-20 loss on Sunday against the Tennessee Titans that unceremoniously ended their year just outside of the postseason field.

What went wrong for the Jaguars in a season that once looked so promising? Here are eight statistics that help explain how the Jaguars’ 2023 season fell to pieces:

18 takeaways in Weeks 1-8; 9 takeaways in Weeks 10-18

Bob Self/Florida Times-Union

In eight games before a Week 9 bye, the Jaguars allowed 342.8 yards per game. In the last nine games, that number was 342.9 yards. Absolutely nothing changed, so why did the Jaguars allowed 19.5 points per game before the bye and 23.9 after? Because the takeaways dried up.

With “think takeaways” serving as a team mantra, the Jaguars forced at least two turnovers from six of their first eight opponents. That only happened in two of the team’s last nine games.

League worst in yards before contact

Travis Etienne Jr. finished with just over 1,000 yards, but it was a brutal path to get there. The Jaguars running back led the league in broken tackles with 30 and often needed them to get much of anything going behind a line that rarely created room.

The Jaguars collectively averaged 3.6 yards per carry, the third lowest average in the league. Last season, that number was 4.7 yards and ranked ninth in the NFL.

Fifth most turnovers (30)

Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Union

Efficiency is the name of the game in Doug Pederson’s offensive system, but the Jaguars couldn’t quit giving the ball away. Only the Browns, Vikings, Commanders, and Jets — four teams that collectively started 14 different quarterbacks — turned the ball over more often in the regular season.

Some were fluky and weird, some were drops, some were miscommunications, and some were just flat out dumb. A team just can’t have that many giveaways and expect to get away with it.

Josh Allen and Travon Walker: 27.5 sacks; everyone else: 12.5 sacks

Morgan Tencza-USA TODAY Sports

The Jaguars’ pass rush lived and died by two players. Josh Allen put together the best pass rushing season in franchise history with 17.5 sacks and Walker put together a solid sophomore campaign with 10 sacks. A push from anyone else was borderline nonexistent.

K’Lavon Chaisson and Dawuane Smoot, who combined for three sacks, are scheduled to become free agents and there’s not much reason for the Jaguars to bring either player back. It’s past time for the Jaguars to get more outside linebackers and finally have some rotational pass rush threats.

3-6 record against playoff teams

Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Union

The Jaguars got wins against the Bills, Steelers, and Texans, but largely failed to step up in games against top teams. The six losses they suffered against teams that wound up in the postseason field came by an average of 16.2 points.

Jacksonville went 6-2 against teams that didn’t reach the playoffs.

Evan Engram: 114 receptions, 963 yards

Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

Engram’s year is simultaneously one of the best a tight end has put together and an indictment of some of the Jaguars’ issues.

With Christian Kirk and Zay Jones both struggling with injuries in the latter half of the season, and Trevor Lawrence often on different pages with the other receivers, the offense frequently devolved into short passes to a mostly covered Engram.

A player with 114 receptions should absolutely be able to clear 1,000 yards, but the Jaguars could never come close to creating the spacing necessary for that to happen.

115 missed tackles

Denny Simmons / The Tennessean / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Jaguars defense was credited with 115 missed tackles, the fifth most in the NFL. It was something Doug Pederson and defensive coordinator Mike Caldwell took issue with during the team’s late-season skid and proved especially costly in the season-ending loss to the Titans.

3-5 at EverBank Stadium

Bob Self/Florida Times-Union

Jaguars fans were treated to some brutal viewing experiences in Duval. There was a Texans fullback returning a kickoff for a touchdown, the 49ers stomping the Jaguars by 31 points, and a pair of national TV losses that were just 13 days apart.

Two-thirds of Jacksonville’s 2023 wins inexplicably came away from home.

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