Entering the day with a loose hold on the No. 1 overall pick for next year’s draft, the Jaguars (2-13) strengthened their grip, falling 26-21 to the New York Jets (4-11) today.
The Jets entered the game with 20 players on their reserve/COVID-19 list, along with head coach Robert Saleh. Former Jaguars tight ends coach Ron Middleton would fill in today for New York.
Jacksonville simply couldn’t get out of their own way today, unable to take advantage of some poor plays by the Jets offense.
Even while scoring on their first three possessions, leading to 12 points, the Jaguars weren’t able to secure a lead by halftime, allowing two touchdowns, which included a 103-yard kick-off return touchdown by Jets receiver Braxton Barrios.
Jags hold the advantage with first downs (13 to 6), yards (170 to 162). Jets have 123 rushing yards, and the KOR for a TD has been the major difference in score. pic.twitter.com/sfxycPoxxD— Demetrius Harvey (@Demetrius82) December 26, 2021
In the first half, Jaguars rookie QB Trevor Lawrence would complete 12 out of 19 of his passes for 109 yards. In a battle of the top two picks of the 2021 NFL Draft, it was Jets QB Zach Wilson who scored a touchdown first, a 52-yard scamper during the first quarter that made Jaguars defenders look silly.
Lawrence finished the contest completing 26 out of 39 of his passes for 280 yards, and one fumble on the day.
Wilson wasn’t as successful through the air, however, completing just five out of 11 of his first-half passes for 39 yards. He finished the game completing just 14 out of 22 of his passes for 102 yards and a touchdown.
Though Jacksonville was down just one point exiting the first half, the franchise was dealt an even worse hand, losing running back James Robinson with an Achilles injury. Robinson would not return, and will likely head to the team’s reserve/injured list to close out the final two games of the year.
Multiple times throughout the contest, the Jets attempted to help the Jaguars it appeared. Jacksonville dropped at least three interceptions throughout the game, and couldn’t take advantage of a missed field-goal fake.
Jacksonville went the day without turning the football over through the air but would fumble after Lawrence got pressured and attempted to retreat before losing the ball deep in Jaguars territory, but the fake field goal would leave New York with zero points on the possession.
The Jets also had an opportunity for points to end the first half but opted to go for it on fourth down, not converting.
During the second half, the Jets would continue the success on the ground that they found near the end of the first half. In the first half, the Jets ran the football for 123 yards, gaining another 150 on the ground in the second half.
The Jets finished with 273 total yards on the ground, dominating the Jacksonville front seven without OLB Josh Allen and MLB Myles Jack. The Jets’ leading rusher today was rookie Michael Carter, who accounted for 118 yards on 16 carries. His first 100-yard game of the season.
With a couple of more exchanged field goals, the Jets would finally extend their lead to more than just a point, throwing the football to offensive lineman Coner McDermott, who was wide open in the back of the end zone on the Jets’ fourth-and-goal play with less than 10 minutes remaining in the contest.
Following the Jets touchdown, the Jaguars would put together one of their best drives of the day, an eight-play 75-yard drive for a touchdown by RB Dare Ogunbowale. With the score now 23-21 in the Jets’ favor, the Jaguars went for two but were unable to convert.
Following a stop by the Jaguars defense to hold the Jets to a field goal, going up 26-21 with just over a minute remaining, the Jaguars took the football all the way down to one-yard-line. They weren’t able to score a touchdown, however, turning the ball over on fourth down, losing 26-21.