JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jaguars emerged from a rollercoaster of a game with their 18th consecutive loss, a 31-19 defeat at the hands of the Arizona Cardinals. The Jaguars saw a nine-point lead turn into a 22-point loss in the span of just over a quarter. Here are my four biggest takeaways from the game.
Earlier this week, Urban Meyer said that all this team needed was a spark. HE referenced the 102-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Jamal Agnew in the Jaguars’ loss to Denver as the kind of a spark he was looking for. At the end of the first half, Agnew provided a spark again. With two seconds to play before the break, the Cardinals sent kicker Matt Prater out to attempt a 68-yard field goal.
It would have been an NFL record had he made it. Instead, there was another record turned in. The kick was short and Agnew, standing in the back of the end zone, caught the kick and proceeded to take it back 109 yards for a touchdown. Josh Lambo missed the extra point and the Jaguars went to the halftime locker room leading 13-7. In the first three weeks of the season, Agnew has shown how valuable he can be for the Jaguars.
They added more into the offense for Lawrence a bit. Some runs, more crossing routes. Lawrence finished the game 21 of 32 for 210 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. We’re still looking to see a signature game from Lawrence. I didn’t like the position the Jaguars put Lawrence in during a key moment. With the Jaguars leading 19-17, and the previous drive dominated by the Jaguars running game, Darrell Bevell dialed up a flea-flicker. JJ Watt and other Cardinals got pressure and forced an ill-advised throw by Lawrence. It was intercepted by Byron Murphy Jr. who returned it for a touchdown. A complete flip of momentum.
I don’t know if the injury — or the aftereffects thereof — is an issue for Josh Lambo, but I don’t think the Jaguars can continue to send him out there to kick field goals and extra points. Lambo missed a pair of PATs on Sunday after missing three field goals in the first two weeks of the season. Maybe he needs more time to rehab. Perhaps the Jaguars will put him on injured reserve. Something has to be done. He hasn’t given the coaching staff any reason to trust him to make kicks.
The Jaguars have a short week coming up. They’ll travel to Cincinnati to face the Bengals on Thursday night. The game will feature the top overall picks from the last two NFL drafts, Joe Burrow for the Bengals and Lawrence for the Jaguars. Can the Jaguars play as they did in the late second and most of the third quarter for an entire game? If so, they could finish the first month of the season much better than the way it began.