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Best moments of '22: Special Teams

Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Los Angeles Chargers

January 14, 2023
Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Los Angeles Chargers January 14, 2023

JACKSONVILLE – In the fifth of a series examining the 2022 Jaguars season, senior writer John Oehser examines the best moments for the Jaguars' special team in their AFC South-title winning season …

  1. Momentum-changer. Jaguars wide receiver Jamal Agnew has been one of the NFL's best returners for the last five seasons – and lived up to that reputation in 2022 after returning from a hip injury that ended his 2021 season. While Agnew didn't have a return for a touchdown in 2022, he had multiple long kickoff returns at key times to give the Jaguars momentum. One such return came in the Jaguars' Week 9 home victory over the Las Vegas Raiders, the first of multiple come-behind victories in the second half of the season that pushed the Jaguars to their first AFC South title in five seasons. The Jaguars, after trailing 17-0 in the first half against the Raiders, still trailed 20-10 at halftime. Agnew returned the second-half kickoff 62 yards to the Raiders 45. That ensured the Jaguars maintained momentum. They pulled to within three on the ensuing drive with a seven-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Trevor Lawrence to wide receiver Christian Kirk en route to a 27-20 victory.
  2. Clutch against the Cowboys. The Jaguars made a habit of overcoming big home deficits in the second half of the season – and they needed big special-teams plays in many of those victories. Five weeks after rallying from a 17-point first-half deficit to beat the Raiders, they rallied from a 17-point second-half deficit to beat the Dallas Cowboys in one of the wildest games of the NFL 2022 season. After trailing 27-10, the Jaguars took a 31-27 lead but still trailed 34-31 in the final two minutes. Lawrence drove the Jaguars to the Raiders 30 with a 19-yard pass to wide receiver Zay Jones with :05 remaining. Jaguars kicker Riley Patterson then converted from 48 yards as time expired to send the game into overtime, which Jaguars safety Rayshawn Jenkins ended with a 52-yard interception return.
  3. Pinned back. Jaguars punter Logan Cooke in 2022 once again was one of the NFL's best at his position, and a case could be made that he should have been a Pro Bowl selection. Cooke punted 58 times for a career-high 49.3-yard average, and was at his best late in the season – including a remarkable stretch when eight of his nine punts in the last two games were downed inside the opponent's 20. Cooke's best game of the season may have come in the regular-season finale, which the Jaguars won 20-16 over the Tennessee Titans to clinch the AFC South title. In a game in which points were at a premium, Cooke repeatedly ensured the Jaguars maintained momentum – and field position. He punted four times in the game for a 51-yard average with all four punts inside the 20.
  4. Late surge for the Pro Bowler. Cooke wasn't the only Jaguars special teams player to peak late in the season. Agnew, who was selected to the Pro Bowl following the 2022 season, also made multiple clutch plays late in the season and in the postseason. Agnew averaged more than 31 yards per return in the Jaguars' last three games – the regular-season finale and two postseason games. He averaged 31.25 yards on four kickoff returns against Tennessee, with his 54-yard first-half return setting up the Jaguars' lone offensive touchdown of the game. He averaged 33.5 yards on four returns in a 31-30 home victory over the Los Angeles Chargers in an AFC Wild Card Playoff game, including a 52-yard return. He then averaged 43.67 yards on three kickoff returns in a 27-20 AFC Divisional Playoff loss at Kansas City, with his 63-yard return in the first quarter setting up a touchdown.
  5. Patterson in the postseason. Patterson converted 30 of 35 field goals in his first season with the Jaguars, and he was clutch in big situations late in the season. He made 18 of 19 field goals in the Jaguars' last nine games, with the lone miss coming in rainy, cold conditions in a 19-3 road victory over the New York Jets in a game in which Patterson made four field goals – and was named AFC Special Teams Player of the Week. Patterson only kicked one field goal in the Jaguars' victory over the Chargers in the AFC Divisional Playoff game, but it was critical. He converted it from 36 yards for the game-winning points as time expired.

Take a look back at some of the best moments from the Jacksonville Jaguars Specialists for the 2022 Season, including the 36-yard field goal kick by Riley Patterson that sent that Jacksonville Jaguars to the AFC Divisional Round playoff game.

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