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Trevor Lawrence and the defense let each other down

Trevor Lawrence did not play well enough to win in the season opener last weekend.

That’s not really so much an opinion as it is a statement of fact. The Jacksonville Jaguars did not win and no matter where you fall on the spectrum of Trevor Lawrence opinions—whether you think he did fine or he’s an NFL Draft bust or somewhere in between—you’d be hard-pressed to actually believe (sober) that the second-year quarterback played very well and that it was his team, in fact, who let him down.

Ironically though, that last part is true. The offensive line was bad. The receivers (and Travis Etienne) dropped crucial catches to score touchdowns or extend drives on offense.

This isn’t a “Trevor Lawrence did fine stop being mean to him” article. He wasn’t good. He wasn’t even fine. In my opinion, he was bad. He completed three third-down passes all game. He looked (and played) stiff. He was late to a half-dozen throws. He didn’t even set his feet on another half-dozen. He shares in some of the blame.

But the defense had the lead after Trevor Lawrence had crawled out of the hole he helped dig and led the Jaguars to a go-ahead field goal with 12:04 to play in the game. After a turnover seconds later, James Robinson added to the lead. They were up by eight points in the middle of the fourth quarter. The offense had only scored 22 points but, hey, they did it. They had snatched victory from the jaws of def-

Oh no. The defense just gave up a touchdown.

Well, the two-point conversion was no good so if the offense can ju-

And there’s the winning touchdown for Washington.

The offense can’t get it done in the final two minutes. Game over. 0-1. Back to Jacksonville.

The focus of the last few days has been on Trevor Lawrence and rightfully so. He’s the quarterback. He was a No. 1 overall pick. A lot of the blame will rest squarely on his shoulders. But there’s more to it than that.

Everyone will point to Shaquill Griffin losing Terry McLaurin in coverage and giving up a 49-yard touchdown as the takeaway moment from last Sunday, but there were other plays that were just as impactful to the outcome as that one.

3rd-and-8 with 10:18 left in the game

This is the play right before the Terry McLaurin touchdown and it’s what allowed the Commanders to extend the drive and even make that throw possible. Led by an absolutely useless pass rush by K’Lavon Chaisson (one of his nine defensive snaps of the game, I wish I were kidding) the Jaguars bring five rushers on a blitz. Carson Wentz easily side-steps the defender and makes a throw to Logan Thomas who found the soft spot in the Jaguars defense—a soft spot created in part by K’Lavon Chaisson blitzing on the play.

3rd-and-4 with 7:32 left in the game

There’s 7:32 left in the game. It’s a measly four yards to a first down and some much-needed time coming off the clock. Instead of being able to hold his block, high-priced free agent Brandon Scherff whiffs on Daron Payne’s swatting move and lets him attack Trevor Lawrence on the shortest path between him and a drive-ending sack. Hold your block and you could have had been driving with 35-ish yards to go to the goal line. Instead, they punted.

3rd-and-10 with 4:21 left in the game

Someone has to break through the pocket. Devin Lloyd has to play tighter coverage on Logan Thomas. Someone. Anyone. Please. Without this play, the Jaguars get the ball back and have to run four minutes off the clock with Washington only at two timeouts. But instead they give up the big gain and Washington scores a touchdown six plays later.

Go Jaguars.