Jaguars starting free safety Dwight Lowery was woozy heading to the sideline after the second play of the game.
Without him, the Jaguars secondary absorbed plenty of offense for the remainder of the contest in Sunday’s 45-17 loss to Seattle at CenturyLink Field.
Lowery, a sixth-year veteran, didn’t return to the game after suffering a head injury. Without him, the Jaguars had three rookies in the secondary. Regular starting cornerbacks Alan Ball (groin) and rookie Dwayne Gratz (ankle) missed the game.
Strong safety Johnathan Cyprien was making his third start. However, cornerback Demetrius McCray made his first career start and, with Lowery out, rookie Josh Evans received the bulk of the work.
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Seattle took full advantage. The Seahawks threw for five touchdown passes, as quarterback Russell Wilson picked on the rookies often.
“It’s not easy,” Jaguars middle linebacker Paul Posluszny said. “Those guys did a great job, but we’re going to get beat at times. That’s part of the deal, especially against a good offense like that. Those guys stepped in, they didn’t flinch and they competed.”
Seattle completed 21 of 29 passes for 331 yards and had a team passer rating of 135.2.
“There was some inexperience back there,” Jaguars coach Gus Bradley said. “They’ll grow from what happened today.’’
Cyprien made the secondary’s best play when he sacked Wilson and stripped the ball out in the second quarter. Defensive tackle Brandon Deaderick recovered the ball.
“It was a blitz to the strong side where I beat a block,” said Cyprien, selected with the opening pick of the second round in April. “We’re always preached to go for a sack fumble. It was a good highlight, but there were a lot of lowlights that we’ve got to improve on.”
McCray, a seventh-round pick, was credited with two passes defended. However, Wilson went after him several times. On one drive, McCray gave up a 17-yard catch to Jermaine Kearse, and then drew a 26-yard pass interference penalty on the following play.
“We knew with Demetrius on the perimeter, he was going to have some opportunities,” Bradley said. “He stood up a couple times and they got the best of him a couple of times. In this style of defense, you’ve got to be able to play on the perimeter and handle the shots they took.”
McCray recorded five tackles in the game.
“Overall, I think it was pretty good,” McCray said. “I can learn from it a lot. It’s a lot to learn from, but overall, I think I played OK.”
Evans, a sixth-round pick, showed his inexperience on a 23-yard touchdown pass to Sidney Rice in the third quarter. Wilson lofted the ball into the end zone. Evans waited on it, while Rice sprinted in front of him to jump up and secure the catch.
“That was a bad read by me,” Evans said. “I’ve got to attack it at the highest point. I jumped up thinking no one was around me. He jumped up and made a great play on the ball.”
Bradley gave Evans (seven tackles) a quick lesson on the sideline.
“In the NFL, you can’t sit there and wait for the ball to come to you,” Bradley said.