JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- If this was Doug Marrone's final game with the Jacksonville Jaguars, he certainly went down fighting.
Marrone was aggressive in the Jaguars' 39-29 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers, going for three two-point conversions and four fourth downs -- though the third and fourth were mandatory with the Jaguars trailing by 10 points with five minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. The Jaguars converted only once.
Marrone's job status is uncertain after the Jaguars' sixth consecutive loss since a season-opening victory over Indianapolis. Sunday was the Jaguars' 26th loss in the last 35 games, and 16 of those 26 losses have been by double digits.
The Jaguars have their bye this week, which would be the opportune time to make a change if that's what owner Shad Khan wants to do. He has not been willing to make coaching changes this early in the season before, keeping coach Mike Mularkey until the end of the 2012 season (they went 2-14) and waiting until only two games remained in the 2016 season before firing Gus Bradley.
"I think any time that you're losing like this and you're not performing well on Sundays, I think it's naïve [to think it can't happen]," Marrone said. "It can happen. It's something that I just come to work and do the best job I can for the coaches and the players. I know those questions come and you guys now me, I understand that. It's just what this game is. Just work as hard as you possibly can and at the end of the day you've got to hold your head up high knowing you did everything you possibly could to try to win games and at the same time you did the best for the coaches and the players."
But this was a team that won the AFC South in 2017 and reached the AFC Championship game after that season. The decline has been quick, especially on defense, and now the Jaguars have the youngest roster in the NFL.
The one positive from the Chargers loss is that Marrone clearly hasn't lost the locker room. The Jaguars offense started the game with four consecutive three-and-outs but then rebounded in the second quarter and took the lead in the third quarter before the Chargers went ahead for good after a fumbled kickoff return.
But that might not be enough to save Marrone.
Pivotal play: The game turned on a fumbled kickoff return by Dede Westbrook. The Chargers had tied the game 29-29 but Tevaughn Campbell knocked the ball out of Westbrook's hands and Troymaine Pope recovered it at the Jaguars' 19-yard line. Justin Herbert scored on a 5-yard run four plays later to put the Chargers ahead for good.
This was just the second game Westbrook was active this season. He was active in Week 3 when DJ Chark was out with a chest/back injury but otherwise had been a healthy scratch in every other game until Sunday. He suffered a knee injury on the ensuing kickoff and was carted off the field.
Troubling trend: Herbert's 5-yard TD run gave the Chargers 36 points and that put the Jaguars in dubious company. They've now given up 30-plus points in six consecutive games and are one of only three teams in NFL history to do that within a season. The 1968 Broncos and the 1984 Vikings also did it. No team has ever allowed 30-plus points in seven consecutive games in a single season. The Jaguars' next opponent is Houston on Nov. 8 in Jacksonville. The Texans beat the Jaguars 30-13 in Houston on Oct. 11.
Promising trend: OC Jay Gruden stuck with the run game even trailing 16-0 in the second quarter and James Robinson responded by getting the Jaguars back into the game. He ran for 82 yards and scored twice in the first half and finished the game with a career-high 119 yards on a career-high 22 carries.
Robinson has been the Jaguars' best offensive player this season and Gruden finally stuck with the rookie instead of getting away from the run game and going too pass-happy, which he admitted to doing in several games.