JACKSONVILLE – Senior writer John Oehser examines five key plays from the Jaguars' 23-20 victory over the Miami Dolphins in a 2021 Week 6 game at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, England, Sunday …
1. Oh, those third downs. The Dolphins set Sunday's early tone with a 13-play, 75-yard drive that consumed the first 7:15 of the game – and that ended with a six-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Tua Tagovailoa to wide receiver Jaylen Waddle. This drive wasn't about big plays as much as it was about Tagovailoa, who missed the last three games with a rib injury. The Dolphins converted all three third downs on the drive – with Tagovailoa passing 10 yards to Waddle on 3rd-and-10 from the Dolphins 26, 20 yards to tight end Mike Gesecki on 3rd-and-3 from the Jaguars 48 and six yards to Waddle on 3rd-and-4 from the Jaguars 22. Tagovailoa rushed for seven yards for a first down in the red zone to set up the touchdown.
2. Fighting for the first. The Jaguars trailed by just a field goal at halftime despite the Dolphins dominating the first quarter and a half – and two big plays by Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence and his wide receivers were the reasons why. With the Jaguars trailing 13-3 and facing 4th-and-6 on the Dolphins 35, Jaguars Head Coach Urban Meyer eschewed the long field-goal attempt. Lawrence passed to second-year wide receiver Laviska Shenault Jr., who fought through a tackle by cornerback Justin Coleman for a seven-yard gain and a first down. Lawrence on the ensuing play passed deep to veteran wide receiver Marvin Jones Jr., who battled Dolphins cornerback Noah Igbinoghene and made a leaping 28-yard catch for the touchdown that made it 13-10, Dolphins, with :40 remaining in the second quarter. "They played man coverage, and I had a vertical shot to Marv," Lawrence said. "That's my guy. I always give him a shot if I can. We felt like we had good matchups. It was an OK throw. He really made the play."
3. J-Rob gets involved. The Jaguars took their first lead of the game on the first drive of the third quarter, a drive sparked by a 29-yard pass from Lawrence to wide receiver Jamal Agnew. That play gave the Jaguars a first down at the Dolphins 40, but the drive also was keyed by two plays that immediately followed Agnew's reception. First, Dolphins safety Jevon Hollard drew a 15-yard penalty after an incomplete pass from Lawrence to tight end Dan Arnold. Running back James Robinson had his longest run on the next play, a 24-yarder to the Dolphins 1. Robinson's one yard run on the ensuing play gave the Jaguars a 17-13 lead with 12:29 remaining in the third quarter.
4. Clutch catch. Jones' first-half touchdown was far from his only critical play Sunday. Just as important and impressive was a play that led to a game-tying 54-yard field goal by kicker Matthew Wright. Lawrence on 3rd-and-8 from the Jaguars 39 made a back-shoulder throw to Jones, who – again covered by Igbinoghene – made the reception as he got both feet down just in bounds. Wright converted from 54 yards three plays later to tie the game, 20-20, with 3:40 remaining.
5. A big, big stop. The Jaguars through five games didn't make enough big plays. On Sunday, key players made a slew of them. One of the biggest came with the Dolphins facing 4th-and-1 from the Miami 46 with 1:49 remaining. Dolphins running back Malcolm Brown ran right, but Jaguars defensive end/linebacker Josh Allen disrupted the play and contacted Brown behind the line of scrimmage. He and linebacker Chapelle Russell were credited for stopping Brown for no gain on a play that gave the Jaguars possession at the Dolphins 46 and led to a game-winning field goal. "We needed to make a play," Allen said. "That was a situation where it was like, 'This is it. We can either go win this game or we're going to go to overtime.' Guys wanted to make that play. It felt great. Oh, Lord, it felt great. I thought they were going to do some tricky stuff, but obviously we stopped them."
5b. Slider kill. Wright's 53-yard game-winning field goal – his second field goal of more than 53 yards in less than four minutes after missing off the cross bar from that distance last week – was unquestionably the most memorable play in the Jaguars' first victory in 399 days. But that play doesn't happen without Lawrence throwing nine yards to Shenault on the preceding play. The Jaguars initially lined up for a Hail Mary on 4th-and-8 from the Dolphins 44 with :05 remaining. "We were going to take a shot and didn't really like what they were doing; it [would have been] kind of like throwing up a prayer,'' Lawrence said. Meyer during a timeout changed the call to "slider kill," which called for Lawrence to throw quickly to Shenault and "kill" the clock with a timeout. Meyer and Lawrence each said afterward it usually takes six seconds to execute the play. The Jaguars did it in five to set up Wright's game-winner. "That's something we've been working on, that you always have in," Lawrence said. "You have to know the situation: How long does it take to get down and get a timeout called? Honestly, five seconds was really less than what we needed. It was a situation that's hard to prepare for, but all those reps in practice really paid off. The guys were ready and answered when we needed to."