‘Just a blip’: Pederson thinks Lawrence’s struggles were just one of those days

Jaguars shift attention to fixing turnover issues, game against Texans

Jacksonville Jaguars' Trevor Lawrence looks to pass during the first half of an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, Oct. 2, 2022, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke) (Matt Rourke, Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jaguars are turning the page from a forgettable day in Philadelphia to a big division challenge this week.

And no, Doug Pederson and players aren’t as worried about quarterback Trevor Lawrence’s forgettable day spiraling into a long-term issue. There’s no time for panic in Week 5 as Jacksonville (2-2) is tied for the AFC South lead with the rival Titans.

They’ve got a big division game at home Sunday against the winless Texans (0-3-1), a game that seems like the perfect cure-all for an abysmal performance against the Eagles.

Not so fast.

Regardless of how bad Houston has looked this season, the Jaguars aren’t quite at the point where they can overlook any opponent.

Especially the Texans.

As difficult as Sunday’s 29-21 loss to the Eagles was, Pederson said the ability to still be in a game late against the NFL’s lone unbeaten was a testament to how far the Jaguars have come. Jacksonville was gashed defensively on the ground and gave up 29 unanswered points, but got the ball back with less than four minutes to play with a shot at tying the game.

“Yeah. They’re disappointed, they’re mad, they’re upset, they know,” Pederson said. “I think they’re starting to believe just how special they are, how good they can be, sometimes we just have to get out of our own way and just go play.”

As big as that clash against the Eagles was, this is an even bigger week for the Jaguars.

Lose to the Texans and the momentum from such a good start is gone. Lose and the lead in the division is gone.

Jacksonville hasn’t beaten Houston since Week 15 of the 2017 season and enters riding an eight-game losing streak. The Texans are 16-4 against Jacksonville since Shad Khan bought the franchise in 2012.

“We got a 24-hour rule. So, we watched the film, and we’re just going to completely flush it. We’re focused on Houston right now. We got a big division game at home. Feel like we haven’t been at home in like a month,” said receiver Jamal Agnew. “But we got to learn from what the mistakes that we made. And that’s what we’re going to do, we’re going to bounce back.”

The meltdown in Philadelphia was a compilation of things, most notably Lawrence’s struggles holding on to the ball. Lawrence lost four fumbles and threw an interception, an uncharacteristic afternoon for the second-year player. Lawrence entered the game with just one turnover this season, an interception on a third-down heave in Week 1 against Washington.

Pederson said that he wasn’t worried about Lawrence long term because of the performance on Sunday but emphasized the team can’t win games by giving the ball away like that.

“Let’s hope it was a blip. I don’t think it was a setback, I think it was just a blip. I just think, you hate to say it, but maybe it’s one of those games during the season where nothing really goes right. It happens,” Pederson said. “I’ll never make excuses, we have to do a better job of hanging onto the football, he knows that. That’s the prized possession out there. If we make the plays that were left on the field, it might be a different outcome today.”

Lawrence had his issues as a rookie but had played extremely well under Pederson. He was the AFC Offensive Player of the Week after a 38-10 blowout win against the Chargers. The Jaguars had a clutch defensive stop on fourth down to get Lawrence and the offense the ball back for a final drive. He was sacked and lost his fourth fumble of the game and the Eagles ran out the clock.

“He’s such a young quarterback. He’s got a lot on his plate and we’re riding with him whether he’s throwing for 500 yards or whether he’s playing in a sloppy weather game like that yesterday,” Agnew said. “We’re going to ride with Trevor because he’s the leader of this team whether he really realize it or not, he’s so young. But we’re riding with 16 until the wheels fall off.”

Lawrence has struggled mightily in end-of-game situations in his career. In two attempts this season (Week 1 and against the Eagles) he has committed game-sealing turnovers.

“Just got to keep doing it. Keep putting him in those situations. Keep putting the team in those situations, and we’ll get better. We’ll just learn from them,” Pederson said. “Honestly, keep working on them, keep talking about them, and the day will come when we learn how to do that and how to overcome that.”

Rookie linebacker Devin Lloyd said it was good to get back to work on Monday and turn the page to Houston.

“I mean, really, after a game like yesterday, you’re ready to get back to work,” he said. “I mean, really, after any game, but especially after you lose, you mean, you kind of want to get over the film, watch it and put it behind get back to a new week. It’s kind of like a fresh start.”

About the Author:

Justin Barney joined News4Jax in February 2019, but he’s been covering sports on the First Coast for more than 20 years.