AP Photo/Ian Walton
The Jacksonville Jaguars snapped their 20-game losing streak thanks to Sunday’s thrilling 23-20 victory over the Miami Dolphins at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London.
Matthew Wright won the game with a 53-yard field goal as time expired. He went 3-of-3 on kicks in the game, with two coming in the final four minutes.
Urban Meyer’s first season as head coach has been anything but smooth sailing, and the Jaguars entered Week 6 as one of only two winless teams in the NFL (Detroit Lions). They had the fourth-worst defense by points allowed per game and fifth-worst scoring offense.
The Dolphins haven’t been much better, and they have now dropped five consecutive games since their Week 1 victory over the New England Patriots. Tua Tagovailoa did make his return to the lineup after missing the previous three games because of a rib injury, but it wasn’t enough.
Trevor Lawrence and Marvin Jones Jr. took advantage of a depleted Miami secondary that was without Xavien Howard and Byron Jones.
Lawrence broke the 300-yard barrier for the first time since Week 1. Jones had a season-high seven receptions and 100 yards with one touchdown on 10 targets in the win.
Tagovailoa threw for 329 yards and two scores in the loss. The Dolphins were one-dimensional on offense because their rushing attack only picked up 77 yards on 20 carries.
Notable Game Stats
- Trevor Lawrence (JAX): 25-of-41, 319 yards, TD; 2 carries, 11 yards
- Marvin Jones Jr. (JAX): 7 receptions, 100 yards, TD
- James Robinson (JAX): 17 carries, 73 yards, TD
- Tua Tagovailoa (MIA): 33-of-47, 329 yards, 2 TD, INT; 3 carries, 22 yards
- Mike Gesicki (MIA): 8 receptions, 115 yards
- Jaylen Waddle (MIA): 10 receptions, 70 yards, 2 TD
Lawrence, Jaguars Come Up Clutch Late
The start of this game had a familiar feeling for Jaguars fans. Miami went 75 yards on a 13-play drive that lasted seven minutes, 15 seconds to take a 7-0 lead.
The Dolphins eventually took a 13-3 lead with 5:42 remaining in the first half.
After the teams traded punts on the next two possessions, Lawrence went to work to help the Jaguars close the gap. The rookie quarterback led a six-play drive that was capped off with a fantastic throw and catch by Marvin Jones Jr. for a 28-yard touchdown:
Next Gen Stats @NextGenStats
Trevor Lawrence & Marvin Jones (28-yard TD)<br><br>Lawrence’s TD pass to Jones traveled 49.2 yards in the air, Jones had 0.9 yards of separation from #9 Noah Igbinoghene, and 2.5 yards from the sideline.<br><br>🔹 Completion Probability: 18.7%*<a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/MIAvsJAX?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#MIAvsJAX</a> | <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/DUUUVAL?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#DUUUVAL</a> <a href=”https://t.co/QFooKZd6ro”>pic.twitter.com/QFooKZd6ro</a>
Before that touchdown, the Jaguars’ previous three drives gained a total of 28 yards on 14 plays.
Among the many problems that Jacksonville has had in 2021, second-half adjustments are near the top of the list. The team entered this week having been outscored by 49 points after halftime in the first five games.
This time, though, the Jaguars wasted no time taking advantage following intermission. They needed just five plays to go 75 yards for the go-ahead score on the first drive of the third quarter.
Lawrence and Robinson split the reps on that touchdown drive. The second-year running back racked up 25 yards on back-to-back carries, including a score from one yard out.
Those runs were set up by a terrific 29-yard throw from Lawrence to Jamal Agnew that was placed between four Miami defenders:
Jacksonville Jaguars @Jaguars
.<a href=”https://twitter.com/jamalagnew?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@jamalagnew</a> out here doing his thing!<a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/MIAvsJAX?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#MIAvsJAX</a> | <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/DUUUVAL?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#DUUUVAL</a> <a href=”https://t.co/rTJVRlRuTK”>pic.twitter.com/rTJVRlRuTK</a>
Jacksonville’s execution in short-yardage situations remains a problem. The coaching staff elected to go for it on 4th-and-1 from the Dolphins’ 9-yard line, but Robinson was stopped short of the sticks for a turnover on downs.
The Ringer’s Steven Ruiz noted the Jaguars’ lack of success running the ball on 4th-and-short in 2021 after that play:
Those bad fourth-down vibes were shunned on the final drive. Lawrence hit Laviska Shenault Jr. over the middle for nine yards on 4th-and-8, and the Jaguars were stopped the clock with one second remaining to set up Wright’s game-winning field goal.
Wright had the magic touch in this game. He used a combination of physics and voodoo to make this 54-yard field goal hook back inside the goal post after it left his foot looking like a surefire miss to tie the score at 20:
HE HOOKED IT IN!<a href=”https://twitter.com/Jaguars?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@Jaguars</a> tie it up with a WILD 54-yard field goal. <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/DUUUVAL?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#DUUUVAL</a><br><br>📺: <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/MIAvsJAX?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#MIAvsJAX</a> on CBS<br>📱: NFL app <a href=”https://t.co/FMGEvlQxwO”>pic.twitter.com/FMGEvlQxwO</a>
The good vibes continued for the defense on Miami’s ensuing possession. Josh Allen and Chapelle Russell stuffed Malcolm Brown on 4th-and-1 to take possession at the Dolphins’ 46.
There are still a lot of things for the Jaguars to correct if they want to build on this win. Their pass-catchers are still dropping too many passes that stop drives. Shenault had two in the first half. Dan Arnold dropped an easy catch on their first offensive possession on 3rd-and-5 that forced them to settle for a field goal.
But given how long it had been since this franchise won a game and everything that has been happening behind the scenes with their head coach, Jaguars players have every reason to be happy with this performance.
Tagovailoa’s Inconsistent Effort Raises Concerns for Dolphins
It can be easy to overreact in the moment to a single play in an NFL game, especially one made by a young quarterback who is still developing.
That play came late in the third quarter. The Dolphins, trailing 17-13, just regained possession after Zach Sieler recovered a fumble when Lawrence was strip-sacked by Christian Wilkins.
On the very first play after the turnover, Tagovailoa gave the ball right back to Jacksonville with a terrible interception that was thrown directly to Nevin Lawson:
Jacksonville Jaguars @Jaguars
We’ll take that, thank you very much!<a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/MIAvsJAX?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#MIAvsJAX</a> | <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/DUUUVAL?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#DUUUVAL</a> <a href=”https://t.co/zU2zJQ33Wa”>pic.twitter.com/zU2zJQ33Wa</a>
The television camera didn’t get a full view of what Tagovailoa saw. Jaylen Waddle was wide-open down the sideline on the play, but the Dolphins quarterback didn’t put any air under the throw to get the ball over the defender.
Despite the decision being right, Tagovailoa’s execution on the play left a lot to be desired.
Just when it seemed like the Dolphins were in trouble, things did swing back in their favor until the end. The defense forced a turnover on downs when Robinson was stopped on 4th-and-1 from Miami’s 9-yard line to keep the Jaguars from scoring.
Tagovailoa’s first drive after the interception was one of the best of his young career. He went 6-of-6 for 66 yards and the go-ahead touchdown pass to Waddle.
Miami Dolphins @MiamiDolphins
TD <a href=”https://twitter.com/D1__JW?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@D1__JW</a>‼️<br><br>📺 : <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/MIAvsJAX?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#MIAvsJAX</a> on <a href=”https://twitter.com/NFLonCBS?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@NFLonCBS</a> <a href=”https://t.co/lgH86ZLTKO”>pic.twitter.com/lgH86ZLTKO</a>
Miami’s coaching staff put a lot on Tagovailoa’s plate in his first game since Sept. 19. He threw a season-high 47 passes and had his first 300-yard game since Week 17 last season.
Mike Gesicki aided his quarterback by catching eight passes for 115 yards. He entered Week 6 with 227 receiving yards all season.
The Dolphins’ use of Waddle is puzzling. He has the speed and athleticism to create big plays, but he only has 301 yards on 37 receptions in six games.
The Dolphins have only scored more than 20 points in a game once this season. If they want to find ways to consistently put points on the board, force-feeding playmakers like Gesicki and Waddle in the passing game is their best bet to do so.
Co-offensive coordinators George Godsey and Eric Studesville are still struggling to find answers. Until they do, there’s no reason to expect the Dolphins to turn things around anytime soon.
The Dolphins will return home to host the Atlanta Falcons on Oct. 24 at 1 p.m. ET. The Jaguars have a bye in Week 7 before taking on the Seattle Seahawks at Lumen Field on Oct. 31.