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Sunday 19 May 2019

Spluttering Jags stuck in first gear

American football

Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles (5) is sacked by Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Chris Long (56). Photo: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports
Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles (5) is sacked by Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Chris Long (56). Photo: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports

Ed Malyon

Shahid Khan cannot buy Wembley Stadium and his teams cannot buy a win.

A day after watching Fulham lose 3-0 at home to Bournemouth, his Jacksonville Jaguars went down 24-18 to the Philadelphia Eagles at the venue he had hoped to own.

The Jaguars have been regulars at Wembley, playing one game per year here in each of the past five. Yet despite their repeated visits, the majority in the record crowd of 85,870 were overwhelmingly behind the Eagles.

The defensive units were on top in a tight first half before a touchdown just before the interval from Eagles tight end Dallas Goedert.

Goedert's quarterback, Carson Wentz, then found another gear to take the game away from the Jags, leaving a team that began the season with ambitions of winning it all but who will now struggle to even make the play-offs.

The Jaguars came within minutes of the Super Bowl last season only to be overhauled by the Tom Brady-inspired New England Patriots.

The Eagles, of course, went to the Super Bowl, dispatched the Pats and won the whole thing.

This fixture, the final game of three in London during 2018, was therefore supposed to be a titanic tussle between two of the top four teams in the NFL last season.

After difficult starts to the year though, both sides came to Britain with identical losing records at 3-4.

This was a fork-in-the-road game and, with the two teams stacked on the defensive side of the ball, it always seemed as if the offense who showed up would win. That never felt likely to be Jacksonville.

Blake Bortles has held this franchise hostage for too long now and, rather than address the issue, the Jags have looked to run and hide from it.

Bortles will only truly know how much trust this team has left in him when the trade deadline passes tomorrow night. (© Independent news services)

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