Jaguars clinch No. 1 overall pick after 41-17 loss to Bears, Jets win

Jaguars mauled again by Chicago, but clinch No. 1 pick on Jets' upset win

John Reid
Florida Times-Union
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Cheers erupted soon as Chicago Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky crossed the goal line on a 6-yard keeper for a touchdown Sunday. 

This wasn't Soldier Field or Bears Country. 

This was Jacksonville, and the Jaguars fans at TIAA Bank Field desired to see that all was well for the franchise to remain in the driver's seat. They could care less about ending a 13-game losing streak or dashing the Chicago Bears' playoff hopes.

A significant amount of fans, perhaps the majority, came to see Jaguars lose so they could hold onto the No. 1 overall pick, ahead of the New York Jets, and secure the right to select Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence in the upcoming NFL Draft in April.

The Jaguars (1-14) didn't let them down.

Neither did the Jets.

Madness in the Meadowlands:Jaguars lock up top pick after Jets stun Browns

The Jaguars followed a familiar script, buckling under after halftime in their 41-17 loss to the Chicago Bears in front of 17,445.

And the Jets (2-13) came up big, stunning the Cleveland Browns 23-16 Sunday that helped the Jaguars lock up the No. 1 overall pick for the first time in franchise history. 

The Jets, who clinched the No. 2 overall pick, did the Jaguars a favor for the second consecutive week. The Jets beat the Los Angeles Rams 23-20 last week after starting the season 0-13.

By all means, the Jaguars need a star like Lawrence, who has passed for 9,698 yards and 88 touchdowns in three seasons at Clemson.     

It was the second consecutive week the Jaguars got hammered, surrendering more than 40 points. Last week they were embarrassed 40-14 by the Baltimore Ravens.

Perhaps, everyone including the Jaguars players, probably just want it to be over. Their wish comes next week when the Jaguars will close out the season at Indianapolis.

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Adding to insult, the Bears finished off the Jaguars by taking out Trubisky and putting in Nick Foles, the former Jaguars quarterback who signed a four-year, $88 million contract but was traded last March after losing his job last season to Gardner Minshew.

''We got one more game left and like I told the team — 2020 has been (expletive),'' Coach Doug Marrone said. ''We all know that. I think these guys care about each other in the locker room and they are consoling each other. It's difficult but again you are not getting a lot of people pointing fingers, not getting people who want to take themselves out of the game. You are getting guys that are trying.''

Bears running back Artavis Pierce (46) stiff-arms Jaguars cornerback Greg Mabin (34) in the fourth quarter. The Jaguars' 41-17 loss, coupled with the Jets' upset of Cleveland, clinched the No. 1 draft pick for 2021.

But their best just has not been good enough, which is why the Jaguars are now in a position to select a transcendent talent like Lawrence and Marrone is not expected to be retained after receiving assurances last month by owner Shad Khan to only finish out the season.

From Blake Bortles to Nick Foles to Gardner Minshew to Mike Glennon — the Jaguars have not had enough adequate quarterback play under Marrone's watch. It was more of the same in the home finale.   

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Marrone started Glennon instead of Minshew after opening up the quarterback competition between the two in practices last week. Glennon didn't perform any better against the Bears than Minshew did the previous week.

Glennon was intercepted twice and had only 120 yards passing with a 57.6 passer rating after three quarters. He ended up passing for 224 yards but it was far from enough, especially when the Jaguars trailed by a 34-10 deficit in the third quarter. 

''It was a 10-10 ballgame but then a poor decision by me before the half and then they got three points and it seemed like it went kind of downhill from there,'' Glennon said. ''Unfortunately, we couldn’t kind of recover from there.”

Sunday's game didn't start out as a rout like last week when the Jaguars trailed 26-0 at halftime. Against the Bears, the Jaguars tied the score at 10 on a 20-yard leaping catch by DJ Chark in the left end zone in the second quarter. Chark gave an impromptu dance performance in the end zone after his catch, shuffling his feet and moving his arms like one of those Soul Train dancers of the 1970s.

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Then, the Bears struck back like a tidal wave, scoring 31 unanswered points to knock out both the fight and dance from the Jaguars. 

Last week, Marrone said if there was a scenario of being advised to tank, he wouldn't be able to do it.

"I’ve never done that with anything in my life,'' Marrone said. ''I had trouble letting my kids win when they were little. I’ve always taken a lot of pride in being able to get a football team to play well."

He hasn't been able to get his team to play well enough to win for 14 straight games. They could not avoid plays like in the second quarter when their defense left the entire middle of the field open because they had eight players lined up near the end zone, thinking the Bears were going to throw deep. Bears tight end Cole Kmet caught a 10-yard pass that set up Cairo Santos' 40-yard field goal that put the Bears ahead 13-10 at halftime. 

The Jaguars did get a productive performance from backup running back Dare Ogunbowale, who filled in for injured running back James Robinson (ankle) and rushed for 71 yards on 14 carries.

"I thought he (Ogunbowale) did a nice job,'' Marrone said. ''He averaged about 5 yards a carry and had a nice 25-yard run. He ran hard and it would have been nice to see if the game had been close and all of a sudden had 20 to 25 (carries)."

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