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Jaguars vs Cowboys: Post-game recap

The Jacksonville Jaguars defeated the Dallas Cowboys 28-23 in Week 1 of the 2023 preseason

Jacksonville Jaguars v Dallas Cowboys

The Jacksonville Jaguars defeated the Dallas Cowboys, 28-23, in Week 1 of the preseason. It was our first look at Calvin Ridley, Anton Harrison, Tank Bigsby, and several more players in a teal game uniform.

Here’s what you need to know!

Highlight of the game:

Stat of the game:

The Jaguars had two different quarterbacks come off the bench and score a rushing touchdown.

Quote of the game:

Doug Pederson: “Nate [Rourke] did a nice job stepping in and making some plays, and just coming up big when we needed those guys to make plays. Overall, a lot of things to clean up, but there is some positive that we’ll take a look at and build on.”

Full recap:

On the second play from scrimmage, Trevor Lawrence rolled left on a play-action bootleg and threw an interception. It wasn’t exactly the type of decision-making you’d like to see from No. 16, but it was arguably Ridley’s fault for altering his route and disrupting spacing.

On Jacksonville’s first defensive possession, the Cowboys converted one first down before pressure bore down on Cooper Rush. Andre Cisco flew in on a safety blitz and DaVon Hamilton finished the job for an 11-yard sack on 2nd-and-10. On 3rd-and-long, Josh Allen set a physical screen for Hamilton, who wrapped around on a stunt for a free lick on the quarterback.

On the next drive, Ridley caught his first target as a Jaguar on one of their staple concepts- hitches.

Jacksonville was forced to punt after Tank Bigsby was stuffed on 3rd-and-1, but turnover struck soon after. Ross Matiscik knocked the ball out and Gregory Junior recovered. Unfortunately, Matiscik was injured on the play, which later forced Josh Pederson to take his spot at long snapper.

After reclaiming possession of the ball, Lawrence marched the Jaguars down the field. They eventually scored on fourth down from the 9-yard-line as Lawrence patiently floated a touchdown to Christian Kirk.

Lawrence finished 5-6 for 36 yards, one touchdown and one interception.

Dallas reached scoring range on its third possession. Rico Dowdle caught a short pass close to the 20-yard-line and ran all the way to the 2 before Gregory Junior popped the ball out (for his second turnover) and Montaric Brown jumped on it.

Rookie running back and camp standout Tank Bigsby finished the game with 9 rushes for 52 yards, 34 of which came on one carry.

C.J. Beathard finished the game just 6-13 for 80 yards, but QB2 had two great plays on the same drive. He connected on a 42-yard bomb to Jacob Harris out of the slot, then walked into the end zone three plays later.

Dallas responded with a 17-yard touchdown with 17 seconds left in the half. Then they put together a six-minute drive to open the third quarter and come away with three points.

QB3 Nathan Rourke led a drive into the red zone himself on Jacksonville’s first possession of the second half. The drive stalled out with an incomplete pass to Gerrit Prince on 4th-and-9 from the 15.

Jacksonville went for multiple fourth down and two-point conversions in the game “that we normally wouldn’t do” as Pederson later said. Matiscik’s injury practically erased Jacksonville’s punt and place kick units.

The Cowboys then put their offense on the back of rookie RB Deuce Vaughn, who broke off a 26-yarder before punching in a goal-line score to make it a 16-14 ballgame.

Rourke answered again with a rushing touchdown that looked just like Beathard’s from earlier in the game. He threw a two-point conversion to Oliver Martin to make it 22-16.

With four minutes left in the game, Rourke did his best Minshew/Mahomes impression by scampering around the pocket and flicking a touchdown pass to Qadree Ollison.

Two plays later, rookie Christian Braswell made the final big play of the game by intercepting Will Grier. Dallas scored one more time but the final score read Jaguars 28, Cowboys 23.

Postgame quotes

Rourke on whether he sees his performance as a “coming out” game for him:

“It is just a preseason game, but it’s fun to be out there. You get to show them what you got, that you can’t really do with the plays in practice. It’s a good stepping off point that we will continue to build on.”

On whether it’s important to win preseason games:

“I think this organization loves to win. I think to be able to be in a situation to close the game out, the intention is to win. In that case, it is good for us to win. I think being able to finish games, I think it is all part of it.”

Bigsby on what he can take away from the game:

“Just getting out there and seeing how the guys play. It was fun, just being able to go out there. This is my first experience, but I had fun learning. New game speed, so it was very fun.”

On whether it’s important to win preseason games:

“Yes, everything. You want to be able to win, you want to compete, everything, you want to win. You go out there and put in the work in practice. And you expect to come out, it shows on film, and we go out and win.”

Cooper Hodges on his NFL debut:

“I couldn’t ask for a better place to start my NFL career. This place is awesome. I don’t know a better place to be than Jacksonville. It was awesome. It was a great atmosphere, a great place to play. It was good.”

Trevor Lawrence on the overall game:

“Obviously, I’m still a little frustrated from having a turnover early. But I think (the starters) finished well and as a team. It was great to see. Nate (Rourke) had some unbelievable plays. That was really cool to see him play well. That’s what it takes in these preseason games…end of the game, you get a lot of different guys in there. You’ve got to have some plays like that. Nate, he played great and took care of the ball. He won the game for us. That was cool to see. It was cool to see our depth play and play well. But yeah, besides that one throw I thought it was pretty clean from an offensive perspective. There are some things we can work on. We had a 3-and-out on our second drive as well that wasn’t great. We’ve got to start faster. We can’t turn the ball over and put our defense it that situation. It was just a bad throw by me. We’ll watch the tape and get better. That’s the good thing. I think we’re getting better every day.”

Jaguars fans, what are your thoughts after the game?