What started off as an ice-cold matchup against the Dallas Cowboys turned into a convincing and exciting 28-23 win.
There were plenty of players who impressed, and some moments that fans and the team will certainly want to forget.
Here are six winners and losers from Saturday’s matchup:
Not that Jaguars fans will ever want to see C.J. Beathard or Nate Rourke in a game other than a kneel down or to help run out the clock, but the team looks like it has two solid contingency plans at quarterback.
After Trevor Lawrence and the starters scored, it was up to Beathard and Rourke to carry the rest of the load.
Beathard, the second-string signal caller, went a respectable 6-13 passing for 80 yards. He had a 43-ish-yard touchdown pass that was called back and counted as a 42-yard completion.
He then scored a rushing touchdown that faked just about every player on the Cowboys roster.
Coming in relief of Beathard was rookie quarterback Rourke out of the Canadian Football League.
If you had not heard much of Rourke before Saturday’s game, you certainly have now after his Patrick Mahomes-ian effort on this touchdown:
Rourke finished the game 9-17 for a team-high 153 yards passing, one passing score and one rushing score.
“The toughness and poise in the pocket, with a couple of guys on him… to make that throw… I haven’t seen too many plays like that even in a preseason game,” coach Doug Pederson said of Rourke’s touchdown pass. “He did a nice job leading that group in the second half. He had a really good second half.”
While Lawrence is far and away the top dog at quarterback, the Jaguars can probably rest easy knowing they have two capable players behind him for now.
Much has been said about Yasir Abdullah since being drafted in the fifth round this year, most of it about his size.
He showed that his size will not be much of a hindrance at all, as he recorded a sack early and finished with three total tackles, a tackle for loss and a quarterback hit. His sack was one of the team’s four on the day.
A lot of teams are going to regret letting Yasir Abdullah fall to the fifth round in the draft— Dalton Pence (@dpence_) August 12, 2023
His stat line was not eye-popping, but it showed that the Jaguars’ pass rush may not be as destitute after all.
The defensive player of the game for the Jaguars was certainly Gregory Junior.
Drafted in 2022, Junior has been a depth guy for the team but showed big-play ability on Saturday with a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.
Junior recovered a fumble after the Jags’ first punt attempt. He later forced a fumble on the four-yard line, preventing a Dallas score. Daniel Thomas snagged the recovery.
Gregory Junior is showing out today pic.twitter.com/Wz3jkOmjk7— Fitz (@LaurieFitzptrck) August 12, 2023
After the game, Pro Football Focus rated Junior at 90.0 with his time mostly spent playing in the slot, a position in which he could be pushing for starting minutes.
He was targeted a single time during the game on 22 snaps and did not allow a completion.
After a slow start to his preseason debut, Tank Bigsby showcased why many within the organization are so high on their rookie running back.
Bigsby carried the ball nine times for a game-high 52 yards, including this run which was the longest of the game. Special consideration given to draft-mate Brenton Strange with the block.
At times the Jaguars looked like all of sorts, drawing 13 penalties against the Cowboys.
While penalties in preseason are to be somewhat expected, 13 is still quite a hefty number, considering the Cowboys only were flagged for six.
The Jaguars' defense would have had another takeaway, if not for a defensive holding penalty called that reversed an interception.
While the starters kept things mostly clean, penalties will need to be cleaned up a ton moving forward.
It was not a great outing for Snoop Conner, a running back at the end of the depth chart.
Conner rushed the ball seven times - two less than Bigsby - but only managed 15 yards. His longest gain of the day was for four yards.
Conner’s most meaningful stat however was a lost fumble, the only ball put on the ground by the team.
For a guy potentially competing for the third running back spot, fumbling the ball against backups is not going to help.