EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Senior writer John Oehser examines five key plays from the Jaguars’ 19-3 victory over the New York Jets in a 2022 Week 16 game at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., Thursday
1. Fuuuumble – and saved by a sack. The Jets entered Thursday as one of the NFL's best defenses, and the unit made the game's first big play when defensive tackle Quinnen Willams overpowered Jaguars guard Tyler Shatley on third-and-six from the Jaguars 29 on the game's first series. Williams' sack forced quarterback Trevor Lawrence to fumble, and linebacker Carl Lawson recovered at the Jaguars 16. The Jaguars held the Jets, with safety Andre Cisco blitzing and sacking Jets quarterback Zach Wilson on third-and-five from the Jaguars 11. That forced a 37-yard field goal by kicker Greg Zuerlein that gave the Jets a 3-0 lead with 11:37 remaining in the first quarter. "That's big right there," Head Coach Doug Pederson said. "That could easily go turn into seven. But the defense held them to the three points – and no points after that. They really did a nice job of controlling their offense. That was a big boost at that point just to hold them to three."
2. Methodical. The Jaguars' offense was efficient early after Lawrence's fumble, and kicker Riley Patterson's 32-yard field goal on the Jaguars' second possession tied it 3-3. The Jaguars then turned in one of their most impressive offensive possessions of the season to take the lead. Starting on their four-yard line after a Jets punt, the Jaguars used 16 plays and 8:15 to drive 96 yards over the end of the first and start of the second quarters. "It just shows you what we're capable of doing offensively," Pederson said. "It just gives the guys confidence throughout the game you can build off." Lawrence capped the drive with a one-yard dive over the middle of the line to give the Jaguars a 10-3 lead with 11:26 remaining in the second quarter. Lawrence's touchdown came on the Jaguars' lone third down of the drive. "To be able to put a drive together like that, to have a methodical drive end in a touchdown … that's huge," Lawrence said. "It was big. That defense is really good."
3. Stuffed. The rain and a strong, ball control offense by the Jaguars prevented many big plays in the first half – and as much as anything, the first half was defined by one of the Jaguars' most impressive defensive stretches of the season. First, the defense allowed just a field goal after Lawrence's early fumble gave the Jets possession in point-blank range. The defense followed that by allowing just 66 first-half yards and three first-half first downs. The Jaguars' defense forced punts on the three drives after the opening field goal and linebacker Devin Lloyd intercepted Wilson on the final play of the half. That allowed the Jaguars to maintain control of the game's momentum and lead 13-3 at halftime. The Jaguars for the game allowed 227 yards and 10 first downs playing without starting outside linebacker Travon Walker and starting tackle Foley Fatukasi. "It's always been next-man-up mentality," Pederson said. "It was a group effort by those guys. It's a relentless group and a resilient group and I thought they played well in the absence of Foley and Travon."
4. Clutch kicks. The Jaguars' moved efficiently much of the night against a defense that entered the game as one of the NFL's best. But aside from the 96-yard second-quarter drive, the Jets' defense managed to hold the Jaguars' offense out of the end zone through the first three quarters. While Jaguars kicker Riley Patterson missed from 44 yards at the end of the first half, he converted his four other attempts – from 32 in the first quarter, from 45 in the second quarter, from 41 in the third quarter and from 37 in the fourth quarter. "The wind and the rain were definitely tough," Patterson said. "It was kind of gusty. I would have liked to have made all the kicks. I hit it decent, but in wind like that you have to kick your best balls. I didn't hit my best ball. If we were indoors, that thing goes in, but these are games you need to make them. It was good to come back and make the next two."
5. Fourth-and-nope. One of the Jaguars' biggest defensive plays on a night of big defensive plays came early in the fourth quarter. The Jets, after struggling offensively much of the game, put together their best drive of the game to that point with quarterback Chris Streveler having entered the game in place of the ineffective Wilson. With Streveler running for 37 yards and throwing for 41 yards, the Jets moved to the Jaguars 12. On fourth-and-two from the 13, Streveler threw incomplete to rookie wide receiver Garrett Wilson with 10:24 remaining. The Jaguars converted three first downs on the ensuing drive to drain nearly five minutes from the clock before the Jaguars punted with 5:48 remaining. Cornerback Chris Claybrooks downed Logan Cooke's 38-yard punt at the Jets 1. Jaguars linebacker Foye Oluokun forced a fumble by Wilson on the ensuing series that cornerback Tre Herndon recovered to give the Jaguars a first down at the Jets 24 with 4:10 remaining to set up Patterson's final field goal.