JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Byron Murphy intercepted two passes, including one he returned for a touchdown following a botched trick play, and the Arizona Cardinals rallied to beat the skidding Jacksonville Jaguars 31-19 on Sunday.
The Cardinals improved to 3-0 for the first time since 2015. The Jaguars (0-3) lost their 18th straight game, leaving them eight shy of the NFL record for futility.
This one unraveled late.
Jacksonville led 19-10 after James Robinson’s 4-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. Coach Urban Meyer got the spark he had been looking for when Jamal Agnew returned a missed field goal a record-tying 109 yards for a score on the final play of the first half.
The Jags had all the momentum and looked like they might end a skid that dates to last season’s opener. But it was all Arizona after Robinson’s first score of the season.
James Conner capped two long drives with short TD runs, and Murphy delivered the game-changing play when he stepped in front of Jacob Hollister near the sideline and took it the other way for 29 yards. The play was an epic failure for Jacksonville.
First, it was an unnecessary flea-flicker from Jacksonville’s side of the field and with the lead. Second, left guard Andrew Norwell seemed to miss the play call and was caught spinning to try to get to J.J. Watt. He whiffed on Watt, who pressured Lawrence into throwing early and off-balance.
It made for easy pickings for Murphy, who also intercepted another pass from Lawrence in the first half. Hollister bobbled that one, which landed in Murphy’s arms.
Kyler Murray completed 28 of 34 passes for 316 yards, with an interception. He also ran for a touchdown in the first quarter and turned in another meditation pose afterward.
A.J. Green led the Cards with 112 yards receiving, and Christian Kirk added 104.
Robinson finished with a season-high 88 yards on the ground for Jacksonville. Lawrence was 20 of 30 for 185 yards, with a touchdown and the two INTs. He had a perfect TD throw to DJ Chark in the back corner of the end zone, his best play of the day.
Lawrence also fumbled twice late, once when Robinson knocked the ball out of his hands while trying to block, and again on the final play of the game.
Arizona lost two offensive linemen when starter Justin Pugh and backup Justin Murray left with back injuries. … Jaguars LT Cam Robinson left the game in the fourth quarter with a right shoulder injury but later returned. … Cardinals backup CB Charles Washington injured a hamstring in the first half and was ruled out for the game. … Norwell left briefly in the first half to get his right ankle taped and returned a short time later.
Arizona hosts the Los Angeles Rams next Sunday. The Cardinals have lost eight straight in the series and given up at least 30 points in seven of those.
Jacksonville has a short week before playing at Cincinnati on Thursday night.
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