JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – In a season filled with loss after loss after loss, this one came with a very big silver lining.
His name — Trevor Lawrence.
The Jaguars dropped their franchise-record 14th consecutive game on Sunday in a 41-17 loss to the Bears at TIAA Bank Field but locked down hope for the future in the process.
With the Jets holding on to beat the Browns 23-16, the Jaguars officially clinched the No. 1 pick in next year’s NFL draft, no matter what happens in Week 17.
That’s right, no matter what.
There’s reason for optimism and quickly for the Jaguars.
DJ Chark Jr. of the Jacksonville Jaguars catches a touchdown pass from Mike Glennon over Kindle Vildor of the Chicago Bears at TIAA Bank Field on December 27, 2020 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
For the first time in Jacksonville’s history, the team will select No. 1 overall in the draft. That means the potential to select a franchise quarterback in Clemson’s Lawrence, the presumptive No. 1 pick in next spring’s draft.
That will continue to be the talk of town as the worst season in franchise history bleeds to a close next week.
The Jaguars (1-14) visit the Colts in the season finale trying to end a 14-game losing streak that is now the longest in the franchise’s 26-year history. The team had a 13-game skid over the 2012-13 seasons.
Amidst the wreckage of a miserable 2020 season, there is hope, thanks to a stunning late December turn of events.
While the Jaguars had continued to pile up losses more than any other team in the league, their closest competition for worst team in the NFL, the Jets, was doing the same.
Three weeks ago, the Jets had just sent an all-out blitz with 5 seconds to play in a game that they led 28-24. That led to a miracle Raiders’ 48-yard touchdown. They lost the following week, too.
The Jaguars were bad, yes, but the Jets were really, really bad.
Late December turned that around. The Jets stunned the Rams 23-20 last week and hung on to beat the depleted Browns on Sunday.
This one changed in a hurry after halftime.
The Bears (8-7) scored on their opening drive of the third quarter, a 6-yard run by Mitchell Trubisky, and that broke things open. Jacksonville ran all of eight plays in the third quarter — two punts and an interception — and got run off the field by Chicago.
David Montgomery added a 6-yard rushing touchdown and Trubisky threw a 22-yard pass to Jimmy Graham following Glennon’s pick. That 21-0 blitz was plenty enough for the Bears. Chicago scored 31 unanswered points on the Jaguars.
Glennon, who got the start over Gardner Minshew, was below average again. He threw a pair of interceptions and struggled to move the offense again.
Jacksonville went without a first down from midway through the second quarter to the 10-minute mark of the fourth. Outside of a gorgeous 20-yard touchdown pass to DJ Chark in the second quarter and a garbage time 34-yarder to Laviska Shenault, Glennon and the Jaguars didn’t do much positive on that side of the ball.
Glennon finished 24 of 37 for 211 yards, a pair of touchdowns and a couple of interceptions.