In this series, I’m counting down 10 plays that shaped the Jacksonville Jaguars’ season.
Play No. 4: Blocked punt
Situation: Fourth-and-8 from the Jacksonville 43-yard line with 12:00 remaining in the first quarter.
Score: Scoreless tie vs. the Baltimore Ravens.
My take: Darian Stewart came free up the middle and easily blocked Bryan Anger's punt. Kamar Aiken scooped up the ball and scored a touchdown to give the Ravens a 7-0 lead in a game they would eventually win 20-12. It appeared that upback Will Ta'ufo'ou was at fault because he moved to his left and then made a late lunge at Stewart. However, coach Gus Bradley later clarified that it was the guard -- Nic Jacobs -- that missed his assignment, which allowed Stewart a free run, and Ta'ufo'ou was trying to make up for the blown assignment.
Season impact: This marked the second time special teams play lost a game for the Jaguars. The Jaguars out-played the Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium. The defense shut down the running game -- Justin Forsett, the AFC’s second-leading rusher, gained just 48 yards -- and allowed the Ravens’ offense to score just one touchdown. The Jaguars gave up a blocked punt for a touchdown, Josh Scobee missed a 42-yard field goal, and punt returner Ace Sanders was a non-factor. Even when the Jaguars did make good plays on special teams -- they recovered a surprise onside kick and Ta'ufo'ou gained 19 yards on a fake punt – they couldn’t capitalize. The blocked punt put the Jaguars in an early hole, and the Jaguars’ offense wasn’t good enough at any point this past season to be consistently counted on to score more than a touchdown.
Quote from Ta'ufo'ou: "It was something we can’t do. It’s something where we should be able to protect him. It’s not acceptable and not something we can have happen early in the game like that. When people are rushing, we’ve got to be able to react. We didn’t react quickly enough."