‘Our guys believe’: Gamble pays off as Jaguars stun Ravens at the finish

Lawrence shines, Pederson 2-point call pushes Jaguars to 28-27 win

Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Jamal Agnew (39) celebrates touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens, Sunday, Nov. 27, 2022, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack) (Phelan M. Ebenhack, Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – That’s what fans have been waiting on.

The Jaguars have themselves a franchise quarterback and a coach willing to roll the dice with the game on the line.

The Jaguars pulled out one of their most memorable wins in years, roaring back for a 28-27 win over the Ravens on Sunday, a victory that wasn’t decided until Justin Tucker’s 67-yard field goal with no time left fell yards short.

In terms of excitement and back and forths, it was epic for Jacksonville. Unlike last year’s 9-6 slugfest win over a heavily favored Bills team, this was a punch-for-punch showdown between Trevor Lawrence and Lamar Jackson, a game that showcased the Jaguars’ second-year player is ascending.

Time and again Lawrence has had opportunities to deliver.

Time and again, that never materialized.

On Sunday, it did.

Lawrence was 7 for 9 passing on the final drive, including a fourth-down conversion pass to Marvin Jones and a 29-yard strike on third-and-6 to Zay Jones that went to the Baltimore 10. One play later, Lawrence tossed a jump ball to Marvin Jones that he brought in, barely managing to get a foot down in the end zone before going out of bounds.

“Like I said, though, we’ve been on the other side, so we understand what that feels like too. I think we’re just appreciative of where we are, how far we’ve come, kind of what’s in front of us still,” Lawrence said. “We said it’s a new season once we got back from the bye week. You can’t win seven games until you win one. We had to start today. Obviously there was some adversity and we had to battle through it, and we just found a way. It was incredible.”

For Lawrence and the offense, it was a performance that Jacksonville had been waiting to see since they drafted him No. 1 overall in 2021. Lawrence led the Jaguars to 18 points in the fourth quarter, including a two-point conversion throw to Zay Jones with 18 seconds to play that put Jacksonville up 28-27. Pederson said it wasn’t a tough decision to make.

“What have we got to lose? This is something I told the staff during the — during that last five or six minutes of the game, it’s like we’ve got to think players, not plays, and trust our guys,” Pederson said. “That’s what this game — our guys believe. They believe. Once we scored that touchdown at the end, they wanted to go for two. It wasn’t my decision. The players were like, let’s go. I got a lot of faith and trust in them, and just a well-executed play.”

Baltimore had one final shot, getting in field goal position for Tucker, the most lethal kicker in NFL history. His kick was accurate but too short as the Jaguars (4-7) started the post-bye week with a miraculous win.

Lawrence finished 29 of 37 for 321 yards and three touchdowns, including a 10-yard strike to Marvin Jones with 18 seconds left to give Pederson a big decision.

Play for a tie or go for the win.

He elected to play for the win and Lawrence hit Zay Jones on the left front corner of the end zone to cap it.

“Trevor today was lights out. He played extremely well,” Pederson said. “That throw, that catch for the two-point was a thing of beauty. I think as a football team too, a win like this just kind of heads us in the right direction.”

Lawrence said there was discussion on the sideline while officials conferred about Marvin Jones’ touchdown catch and he wasn’t sure if Pederson was going to opt to try and tie it or go for the win.

“Just that trust he has in us — like I said, we’ve been in that situation a lot and haven’t gotten it done,” Lawrence said of the decision to go for the win. “For him to keep trusting us and keep trusting me and our offense, it was big for us.”

With Tucker on the other sideline, that win wasn’t in the bag yet. Jackson hit ex-Jaguars tight end Josh Oliver for a 12-yard gain to set up that 67-yard try. He’d hit a 66-yarder before, the longest in NFL history. But Tucker’s shot at breaking his record — and Jacksonville fans’ hearts — came up about 10 yards short.

Ballgame, Jaguars.

Zay Jones led the Jaguars with 145 yards receiving on 11 catches. JaMychal Hasty, pushed into action when Travis Etienne left with a foot injury, had 67 yards and a touchdown on five catches.

The comeback didn’t look possible until a sharp closing stretch that saw Jacksonville take the lead with 4:22 to play. But the Jaguars lost that lead two minutes later and nearly the game after that. Lawrence wouldn’t let them.

“But I’ve said it before, I’m the same guy. I’ve always been this guy,” Lawrence said. “I haven’t always played my best every week, and that’s going to happen sometimes, but I really love the direction that this offense, this team is heading, and we feel really good about who we are, but I’m the same guy.”

The Jaguars, who lost running back Etienne on just his second carry of the game, patchworked things after that with Hasty and tough defense the rest of the way. Hasty pounded away on the ground, rushing for 28 yards on 12 carries as the rushing game never materialized.

A back-and-forth final quarter saw the Jaguars go from dead in the water to in a shootout with Jackson and the Ravens over the final 15 minutes.

After getting within 19-17 with 5:59 to go, Jacksonville got its break. Andrew Wingard knocked the ball loose from Gus Edwards and Tyson Campbell recovered it. That led to a 29-yard field goal from Riley Patterson and a brief 20-19 lead.

Jackson responded quickly, with a 62-yard bomb to Desean Jackson that got Baltimore into scoring position in the blink of an eye. Four plays later, Jackson threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to Oliver and back in front Baltimore went before Lawrence’s heroics.

That the Jaguars turned the game into a sprint in the fourth quarter was a surprise after their offensive struggles in the second half.

After Jackson pushed the Ravens to a 19-10 lead two minutes in to the fourth quarter, Lawrence and the Jaguars finally mustered something. Jacksonville, which had just 22 yards to that point in the second half, pieced together a 75-yard march. Lawrence’s best throw of the game came on that drive, a dart on fourth-and-8 to Zay Jones that covered 27 yards and put the Jaguars in the red zone.

Five plays later, Lawrence hit Jamal Agnew on a 1-yard touchdown to get within 19-17.

Lawrence looked very good early against Baltimore and continued to show progress in Year 2. He lofted a perfect strike to Hasty down the right sideline, dropping it right in his hands for a 28-yard touchdown for a 7-6 lead.

The Jaguars used a 22-yard field goal by Riley Patterson to take a 10-9 lead at halftime. That efficiency didn’t continue in the third quarter. Jacksonville mustered all of 22 yards in the third quarter, punted twice and lost a fumble.

Lawrence tried to scramble on a third-and-10 but was walloped from behind and lost the ball. That turnover gave Baltimore a short field to work with and Jackson turned it in to a 1-yard touchdown and 19-10 lead.

Pederson said the team held Etienne out as a precaution. Etienne missed his rookie season after suffering a Lisfranc injury and undergoing surgery on his foot.

“I just don’t want to risk it with him right now,” he said. “So it was just my decision to keep him out, but we’ll check him out tonight and have probably a better update tomorrow.”

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.