The Jacksonville Jaguars kicked off the NFL season tonight with an exhibition matchup against the Las Vegas Raiders, the league’s annual Hall of Fame game.
The excitement would stop there, though, as the Jaguars struggled to get much going offensively, falling 27-11 against the Raiders without the majority of the team’s projected offensive starters.
FOOTBALL IS BAC—— SB Nation (@SBNation) August 4, 2022
After a 40-minute weather delay, we’d finally get kicked off with Jacksonville starting on defense, playing the majority of its starters on the defensive side of the ball for a couple of series to start the contest. Offensively, the only projected starter to play much of the contest was rookie center Luke Fortner.
Fortner would play the entire first half of the game, giving the coaches an extended look at their 65th-overall selection in this year’s draft. Quarterback Trevor Lawrence wouldn’t see the field, instead operating as a coach on the sideline.
With the team playing in an extra preseason game, there wasn’t much need for many of its starters to get work. Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson opted to play it safe for the most part, giving his young players an opportunity to shine on the gridiron.
The star of the game for Jacksonville was rookie outside linebacker Travon Walker, who looked like a menace from the onset of the contest, beating his man, but finding himself in trouble with a roughing the passer penalty. The call was questionable.
Travon Walker already getting in the backfield on the first drive of his career pic.twitter.com/U7WxS8lv9j— NFL Rookie Watch (@NFLRookieWatxh) August 5, 2022
He’d come back with a vengeance later on, recording his first-career sack, giving Jacksonville an introduction to what they should expect moving forward. Walker would play during the first quarter of action, getting 15 snaps with the first-team defense over the Raiders’ first two possessions of the contest.
Sack! First sack of #Jaguars OLB Travon Walker’s career: pic.twitter.com/YWDhPI7DQg— Demetrius Harvey (@Demetrius82) August 5, 2022
During the contest, the Raiders jumped out to a 20-0 lead during the first half with two field goals made by kicker Daniel Carlson, a touchdown run scored by running back Ameer Abdullah and another rushing TD scored by quarterback Jarrett Stidham. The Jaguars were unable to get on the scoreboard early after a missed 60-yard FG attempt by kicker Ryan Santoso.
During the first quarter, second-year cornerback Tyson Campbell would go down with an injury but was able to return to the contest.
With Lawrence and backup QB C.J. Beathard ruled out of the contest before it began, third-string QB Jake Luton would earn the start, going 10 for 17 and 91 yards passing through the first half of the contest.
Fourth-string QB Kyle Sloter would play the second half of the game, giving the team plenty to think about when deciding whether or not to hold a third QB on the practice squad or the 53-man roster.
Jacksonville wouldn’t get points on the board until there was 2:15 remaining in the third quarter. They’d connect on a 46-yard field goal by kicker Elliott Fry to bring the score to 20-3 heading into the fourth. Their struggles, on both sides of the ball, would continue throughout the remainder of the game.
During the fourth quarter, the Jaguars scored their first touchdown of the year on the back of an 88-yard punt return for a touchdown by rookie receiver Willie Johnson. The player would be called back due to a hold called on safety Ayo Oyelola.
The Jaguars turned the ball over with a bad snap exchange by backup center KC McDermott and Sloter giving the Raiders an opportunity to score their third touchdown of the game with running back Austin Walter, putting Las Vegas up 27-3 with just 8:00 minutes remaining in the contest.
The Jaguars would make it a two-score game with just 3:26 remaining in the contest. Sloter floated a pass for Cottrell from five yards out, scoring their first touchdown of the contest. Pederson opted to go for two making the score 27-11.
Unable to get the ball back with enough time to drive down the field, the Jaguars finished with a 27-11 final.
The Jaguars will return to the gridiron at home on Friday, Aug. 12 against the Cleveland Browns for their second preseason game of the year.