The Jaguars went to Philadelphia with a chance to come home tied for the best record in the NFL. Instead, after building a 14-0 lead, they gave the game away, losing to the Eagles 29-21. Here are my four biggest takeaways from the game:
Too many mistakes
It was a nightmare day for Trevor Lawrence, who lost four fumbles and threw a costly interception when the Jaguars had a chance to score a go-ahead touchdown in the third quarter. Lawrence didn’t handle the rain well, he couldn’t get Christian Kirk involved in the game and missed a would-be touchdown in the first quarter when Jamal Agnew broke free. Lawrence overthrew him. Against Washington in the season opener, Lawrence bounced back well from a poor first half. Sunday in Philadelphia, after a good first-quarter drive, Lawrence went the other way. Against top teams, the Jaguars won’t win if Lawrence doesn’t play well.
With Zay Jones inactive with an ankle injury, the question was, who would step up among the Jaguars receivers? Kirk and Marvin Jones were nonfactors. Kirk didn’t get his first reception until midway through the fourth quarter and Marvin Jones didn’t have a catch all game. But Agnew made a difference in the game. He led the Jaguars in receptions and scored the only offensive touchdowns in the game — in the first half, on a very creative play call, and in the fourth quarter, on a short reception after Kirk’s 45-yard catch. The Jaguars seem to have good depth at receiver, but on Sunday, there was only one receiver who made a difference in the game, and that was the Jaguars’ return man.
While the defense struggled with the Eagles’ rushing game, they have shown a major improvement over recent years in forcing turnovers. The first score of the game was produced by Andre Cisco, who picked off a deflected pass and returned it 59 yards for the score. There is still a lot of room for improvement overall. In addition to struggling against the run, the Jaguars didn’t get much pressure on Jalen Hurts, but after the Eagles built a lead in the rain, they didn’t need to throw it very often.
How do they bounce back?
We saw Lawrence respond during the game with a drive that included the long pass to Kirk and the touchdown to Agnew, but how will he respond on Sunday against the Houston Texans? Houston is not the caliber of the Eagles, and the Jaguars will be at home, so they should bounce back. Since the report card on Lawrence is still incomplete, how his season tracks week-to-week will continue to be a major storyline as 2022 plays out.