5 studs and duds from the Jaguars’ 40-14 loss to the Lions

The Jacksonville Jaguars were never close against the Detroit Lions in Week 13. The game started with Travis Etienne Jr. fumbling early, and the Lions easily pulled away by scoring at will.

It was an ugly showing that can’t help but raise questions about how far exactly the Jaguars from being contenders. The promising start to the season that included some stellar defensive performances is far in the rearview mirror.

The blowout loss in Detroit will be one that the Jaguars try to forget about quickly, but first let’s put it under the microscope. Here are five studs and duds from the 40-14 loss for Jacksonville:

Dud - The entire Jaguars defense

What else is there to say about Sunday? The defense’s job is to stop opponents and the Jaguars didn’t do it. Not even once.

Detroit scored on every offensive possession until it was time to kneel out the clock.

The pass rush hardly sniffed Jared Goff, the defensive line got pushed around, the linebackers got lost, and the secondary couldn’t cover Amon-Ra St. Brown and D.J. Chark.

Jacksonville spent a ton of money and resources to improve its defense in the offseason. Despite all that work, it’s hard to imagine an NFL defense playing any worse than the Jaguars’ unit did Sunday.

Stud - Trevor Lawrence's knee ligaments

A disastrous first half looked like it turned into a nightmare when Lawrence was sacked on the last play of the first half.

The Jaguars’ ascending star at quarterback immediately held the back of his knee and the broadcast cut to halftime while medical staff were checking on Lawrence.

Not only did Lawrence manage to get up and walk off the field under his own power, he jogged back out for the second half and finished the game.

An MRI will determine if anything happened at all, but it sure looks like the Jaguars dodged the worst case scenario.

Dud - Zay Jones

Jones was one of the heroes of Week 12, but he wasn’t the same player at all in Week 13.

Lawrence looked his way often and Jones dropped pass after pass. Among those drops was one on third down in the red zone that forced the Jaguars to settle for an early field goal.

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On the next drive, Jones inexplicably attempted a one-handed reception on what should’ve been an easy first down at midfield.

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It wasn’t until the second half that Jones finally hauled in a pass. He finished the game with only two receptions for 16 yards on seven targets.

Stud - Christian Kirk

Jones may not have been a reliable target for Lawrence, but Kirk stepped up to the plate.

The slot receiver finished with six receptions for 104 yards, including a 37-yard gain early in the first quarter and a 25-yard gain in the second quarter.

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With five games left this season, Kirk is on pace for 88 receptions, 1,174 yards, and 10 touchdown grabs. That’s a pretty solid return on the Jaguars’ lofty investment.

It ultimately didn’t matter much Sunday, but the Lawrence-Kirk connection continues to look strong as ever.

Dud - Doug Pederson

When a team is dominated in every facet — or gets “embarrassed,” as Trevor Lawrence put it — that has to land on the head coach.

There were questionable calls against the Lions, like calling a halfback draw on a third-and-five near midfield, then punting after it only gained one yard.

But more than anything, the Jaguars laid an egg with a chance to climb into playoff contention. As Pederson put after the game, the Jaguars “were not ready” to compete Sunday.

That hasn’t been a frequent problem during the Pederson era, and the coach is nowhere near the hot seat. That’d change next year if the Jaguars look as checked out as they did Sunday in even a few games in 2023.

Story originally appeared on Jaguars Wire