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Five key plays: Lions 40, Jaguars 14


DETROIT, Mich. – Senior writer John Oehser examines five key plays from the Jaguars' 40-14 loss to the Detroit Lions in a 2022 Week 13 game at Ford Field in Detroit, Mich., Sunday

  1. Fuuuuuumble. The Jaguars ran well to start the game, but their far-too-brief early momentum ended when running back Travis Etienne Jr. fumbled on the game's second play after a 13-yard gain. "We were not ready," Jaguars Head Coach Doug Pederson said. "We turned the ball over on the second play of the game, which can't happen." Lions safety Alex Anzalone recovered at the Lions 38. The Lions then drove 38 yards on seven plays, taking a 7-0 lead when running back Jamaal Williams scored on a one yard run with 10:55 remaining in the first quarter. Lions wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown caught a deflected pass from quarterback Jared Goff on third-and-seven from the Jaguars 13 on the play before Williams' touchdown.
  2. Big play to Chark. The Lions started hot, and their momentum continued on their second drive after the Jaguars pulled to within 7-3 on a 31-yard field goal by kicker Riley Patterson. The Lions moved quickly and efficiently on their second possession, with the key play a perfect deep pass from quarterback Jared Goff to former Jaguars wide receiver DJ Chark Jr. on first-and-10 from the 50 – a play good for a 41-yard gain to the Jaguars 9. Goff two plays later gave the Lions a 14-3 lead when he found St. Brown on the sideline for a 10-yard touchdown pass with 4:04 remaining in the first quarter. Goff at that point had completed nine of 10 passes for 101 yards and the Lions had 113 yards and eight first downs – and two touchdowns – on their first two possessions. "It's just unacceptable," Jaguars outside linebacker Josh Allen said of the defensive performance.
  3. Maintaining their lead. The Lions' victory Sunday wasn't about big plays as much as their steady efficiency and the Jaguars' inability to force them into difficult situations offensively. And while the second quarter lacked touchdowns, Detroit steadily continued to drive and extend their lead as halftime approached. They had three second-quarter possessions – 59, 41 and 47 yards – that ended in field goals of 45, 47 and 38 yards by kicker Michael Badgley. The Lions held a 23-6 at halftime, holding a 260-176 total-yardage advantage. They had 16 first-half first downs, and the Jaguars registered just one sack in the first half. "We just got off schedule," Jaguars defensive lineman Dawuane Smoot said. "They (the Lions) came out and played a great game. We came out here and didn't, so that's all it is."
  4. Touchdown to the tight end. The Jaguars' offense showed life in the third quarter – and perhaps the most important element of their strongest drive of the game was that quarterback Trevor Lawrence played the entire series. Lawrence, the No. 1 overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft, sustained a hard hit by Lions pass rusher James Houston on a sack on the first half's final play and remained down for an extended time. He walked from the field to the locker room and returned during the Lions' first possession of the second half. Lawrence completed six of 10 passes for 52 yards on the Jaguars' first drive of the second half, capping it with a three-yard pass to tight end Evan Engram. Wide receiver Jamal Agnew's two-point run cut the Detroit lead to two scores, 30-14, with 2:54 remaining in the third quarter.
  5. Over and over. The game's storyline continued throughout the final quarter Sunday. Though the Jaguars trimmed the lead to two scores with Engram's touchdown and Agnew's conversion, the Lions' offense continued to methodically and reliably consume clock and score effectively in the fourth quarter. The Lions first extended the lead to 33-14 with a 44-yard field goal by Badgley. The Lions then moved 68 yards on 12 plays – a drive that consumed 7:33 of the fourth quarter – and took a 40-14 lead with 2:43 remaining when Goff threw his third touchdown pass of the game. This was St. Brown's second touchdown reception – a four-yarder on which he was wide open and stepped easily into the end zone. The Lions at that point had scored on all eight of their possessions and never punted Sunday. "For them not to punt the ball one time … that's embarrassing," Allen said. "I've never ever done that before in my career."

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