Well, it happened. The Jaguars secured their first victory of the season with a 23-20 win over the Miami Dolphins in London, England. It wasn’t a true home game for Jacksonville, but it will count that way on the record books as the team made their annual venture across the pond.
The victory snaps a streak of 20 games in which the Jaguars couldn’t come up with a victory. The last time the Jaguars won before today’s last-second victory was on Sept. 13, 2020, against the Indianapolis Colts.
Jacksonville would win on a last-second 53-yard field goal by newly signed Jaguars kicker Matthew Wright, who made a 54-yard attempt earlier in the contest. The game would bring plenty of ups and downs, including a couple of lead changes, one that occurred during the fourth quarter to put the Dolphins ahead.
This was a momentum-building game for Jacksonville, something the team needed, now 1-5 heading into the bye week. It couldn’t have come at a better time, and it did thanks for the play of its star rookie QB Trevor Lawrence.
Lawrence proves why he was selected No. 1 overall
It feels like this is being written on a weekly basis now, but it cannot be overstated. The Jaguars have their quarterback in Lawrence, and he showed once against why he was selected with the first-overall pick this year.
With just eight seconds remaining in the game, with the ball on the Miami 44-yard-line, the Jaguars needed just a few more yards to get into field goal range for Wright. They did just that with Lawrence dropping back, executing the play perfectly, an eight-yard pass to second-year receiver Laviska Shenault.
That wouldn’t be the only clutch play that Lawrence made, either. On the team’s drive prior, he would make multiple throws downfield to players such as Marvin Jones Jr. and Jamal Agnew.
Overall, Lawrence completed 25 out of 41 of his passes for 319 yards and a touchdown. The confidence the Jaguars rookie has shown thus far this season has been apparent and that much was made clear even more today after a few bad plays just prior to a couple of the most clutch plays of his young career.
Lawrence became the first rookie QB to win in London. Previously, rookie QBs were 0-5 in the country. After the game, Lawrence said it simply: “Gald I was the one to do it.”
Jaguars finally get Wright at kicker
Entering this week, the Jaguars were the only team in the NFL to not make a field goal. Neither Josh Lambo nor Wright was able to connect on their attempts earlier this year. But, today was very different with Wright connecting on all three of his field goals, including two clutch 50+ yard attempts.
One of the field goals, a 54-yard attempt, would make it in on one of the most improbable curveballs ever seen in an NFL game. The kick appeared to be going wide right with no chance, and then at the last second it would curve inward, going through the uprights.
What a freaking kick, lol. pic.twitter.com/aA7cphRfZz— Demetrius Harvey (@Demetrius82) October 17, 2021
Wright, of course, would later connect on a 53-yard attempt to win the game for Jacksonville with just five seconds left in the contest.
Wright connected on all three of his field goals on the day and both of his extra points. With veteran kicker Josh Lambo inactive today, don’t be surprised to see Wright take over full time, with Lambo not long for the roster. That decision has not been made yet, of course, but it will be one to monitor moving forward.
After the game, Wright would receive the team’s game ball, given by Meyer.
Jaguars defense finished with two clutch drives
Jacksonville didn’t start the game defensively on the best note. The team gave up a first-possession touchdown and would allow Miami to score on three of its first four drives of the game. But after the Dolphins’ final touchdown of the game during the fourth quarter, the defense came through for the team, finishing out the game on a high note.
The two final possessions, the Jaguars defense held the Dolphins to 37 combined yards including 21 yards on the last drive, which ultimately would be turned over on downs, with a clutch fourth-and-1 stop made by the team’s defensive line. It would also be an impact play by Jaguars DE Josh Allen, who was blanketed for much of the contest.
The Jaguars were able to overcome some adversity on the day, and come up clutch in big-time moments, exactly why they were able to secure the victory at the end of the day.