The Jacksonville Jaguars just can’t find wins.
There are plenty of directions to point fingers and most are at the players on the team themselves, and justifiably so. But it’s hard to argue that poor officiating didn’t cost the Jaguars against the Buffalo Bills in a 28-21 loss in Week 12.
Between several calls that didn’t go the Jaguars’ way, and poor coaching decisions by Gus Bradley, who fell to 14-45 with loss, the team lost another game where it arguably outplayed its opponent.
The Jaguars were especially dominant against the Bills in the first half, shutting down the Buffalo offense which drew plenty of boos from the crowd at New Era Field. The only points for the Bills came after Bradley made a crucial error on a Jaguars punt.
When Buffalo was flagged for running into the punter, Bradley elected to punt again rather than tack the 5 yards on to the punt and allow the Bills to start on their own 40-yard line. Buffalo returned the next punt to the Jaguars’ 27-yard line, setting up a short touchdown drive.
Bradley also messed up by not calling timeout on a crucial fourth down that earned the Jaguars a delay of game penalty.
Blake Bortles deserves plenty of blame for not getting the snap off, but Bradley had a timeout to spare and didn’t use it.
But if there’s something the Jaguars can really be frustrated about, it was remarkably poor officiating throughout the game. Early in the game, the Jaguars appeared to recover a LeSean McCoy fumble, but officials ruled his forward progress was stopped and a challenge was not allowed.
Ref said forward progress had stopped even though ref clearly didn't blow whistle or move until ball was recovered. Horrible officiating pic.twitter.com/qD41mZB9Rx— Derek Tyson (@DerekTysonESPN) November 27, 2016
In the final minutes, McCoy stepped out of bounds, but officials ruled that the clock should continue to run, forcing Bradley to use his final timeout.
There was also the case of multiple plays late in the game that didn’t draw pass interference penalties against the Bills.
Even Bills center Eric Wood seemed to acknowledge the questionable calls after the game, although he said it was karma for an interference call in 2015 on Bills cornerback Nickell Robey that helped the Jaguars get a win.
For Jax fans complaining about that PI call, see 2015 game...— Eric Wood (@EWood70) November 27, 2016
Ultimately, it doesn’t matter much for the Jaguars. It’s a team that was already out of postseason contention and locked up a seventh consecutive losing season. Bradley will almost certainly be fired soon and the Jaguars are just locking up a top-five NFL Draft selection.