JACKSONVILLE – Senior writer John Oehser examines five key plays from the Jaguars' 27-20 victory over the Las Vegas Raiders in a 2022 Week 9 game at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville Sunday
1. Oh no … not again. A familiar theme repeated itself early Sunday – and again cost the Jaguars points. The Jaguars, after stopping the Raiders on the game's opening possession, drove impressively on their first possession and faced third-and-five at the Raiders 26. Quarterback Trevor Lawrence then pitched to backup running back JaMycal Hasty, who never gained possession. Defensive end Maxx Crosby recovered at the Raiders 29 to end a drive that began on the Jaguars 30. The play wasn't technically a red-zone turnover, though it marked the fifth time in six games the Jaguars committed a turnover inside the opponents' 30. Unlike recent weeks, the Jaguars overcame the mistake Sunday. "You learn from those," wide receiver Christian Kirk said. "There's never a game you walk away from that you don't learn something. You learn how to bounce back. It was good we were able to do that."
2. Big play(s) by Adams. Davante Adams of the Raiders is one of the NFL's best receivers – and he showed why early Sunday. Adams, who joined the Raiders in a trade from the Green Bay Packers in the offseason, caught 10 passes for 146 yards and two touchdowns Sunday from quarterback Derek Carr – and he was particularly impressive on the Raiders' second drive. Not only did his 25-yard reception give the Raiders a 7-0 lead with 4:45 remaining in the first quarter, but he also made the three other key plays on the drive converting third-and-nine from the Raiders 30 with an 11-yard reception, then catching back-to-back passes of 16 and 11 yards to turn third-and-20 from the Raiders 42 into a first down at the Jaguars 31 to set up the touchdown pass. Adams caught six passes for 88 yards on the drive. Key to the game for the Jaguars was shutting down Adams in the second half, when he caught one pass for no yards. "As a corner, when you're going against great receivers, they're going to make their plays," said Jaguars second-year cornerback Tyson Campbell, who had coverage on Adams much of the game. "You have to throw your punches, too. I feel like in the second half, collectively as a group, we locked in on our keys and we played hungry."
3. A big response. It was the sort of drive that grows in importance as a game continues. The Jaguars trailed 17-0 after Adams' second touchdown reception – a 38-yarder from Carr with 10:51 remaining in the second quarter. The Jaguars then drove impressively and cut into the Raiders' lead when running back Travis Etienne Jr. capped a 10-play, 75-yard drive with a one-yard run on first-and-goal. Etienne's touchdown came after he ran 13 yards to the one. The drive's key play: A 16-yard scramble by Lawrence that turned third-and-8 from the Raiders 39 into a first down. Lawrence rushed for 53 yards on six carries Sunday. "There's going to be times and opportunities where I can use my legs, and today was one of those times, just giving us some space," Lawrence said. "There were a couple of times that they dropped a bunch of guys out underneath and took some things away, so [I] just used my legs when I can. I like doing that. I like being able to affect the game that way when it's necessary when it's needed. I think it helped us today."
4. Needed (special teams) spark. The Jaguars rallied in methodical fashion Sunday, with the key moments coming late in the second and early in the third quarter. First, Etienne's one-yard run cut the Raiders' lead to 17-7, then the teams exchanged field goals with Jaguars kicker Riley Patterson's 44-yard field goal on the final play of the first half cutting the Raiders' lead to 20-10. One of the bigger plays in the rally came when Jaguars wide receiver Jamal Agnew – out the last two weeks with a knee injury – returned the second-half kickoff 52 yards to the Raiders 45. The Jaguars then drove 45 yards on nine plays, with Lawrence cutting the Raiders' lead to 20-17 with 10:15 remaining in the third quarter with a seven-yard pass to Kirk. Lawrence completed five of five passes for 38 yards on the drive. "Whenever sixteen (Lawrence) is rolling, we're all rolling," Kirk said of Lawrence.
5. Dealing. The Jaguars' go-ahead drive Sunday wasn't about a key play as much as multiple efficient plays by Lawrence as he turned in one of the most impressive stretches of his career. Lawrence on the Jaguars' second drive of the third quarter continued a hot stretch, completing five of five passes for 57 yards on a 12-play, 82-yard drive that ended with a five-yard touchdown run by Etienne. That gave the Jaguars a 24-20 lead with 14:56 remaining. Lawrence at that point had completed 13 of 15 passes for 120 on the Jaguars' last three drives – possessions that had produced 17 points and turned a 20-7 deficit into a 24-20 lead. Lawrence completed 25 of 31 passes Sunday for 235 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions. "He just stayed true to himself," tight end Evan Engram said of Lawrence. "His energy in the huddle was awesome, too. It was a great day for him and a great day for our offense."
5a. Coming up big. The fourth quarter was about more than one big play for the Jaguars' defense. It was about an entire quarter for a unit that had allowed a go-ahead touchdown in the final six minutes of each of the last four games – all losses. The Jaguars' defense protected a one-score lead the entire fourth quarter Sunday – forcing two punts and a turnover on downs before rookie inside linebacker Devin Lloyd secured the victory by intercepting a lateral on the Raiders' final play in the final seconds. "We were the hungrier team in the second half and that got us the win," Campbell said.