JACKSONVILLE – This was wild, and crazy. It was gutsy, and impressive.
And it was oh-so-very memorable.
Quarterback Trevor Lawrence threw a career-high four touchdown passes and the Jaguars rallied in impressive fashion, with safety Rayshawn Jenkins returning an overtime interception for a touchdown as the Jaguars beat the Dallas Cowboys 40-34 in front of 69,038 on a sun-splashed December day at TIAA Bank Field on Sunday.
"Just happy for the guys; they never gave up," Head Coach Doug Pederson said.
Jenkins returned an interception off Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott 52 yards with 6:52 remaining in overtime – a wild finish befitting of a wild day.
"To be the guy to make a play like that for us, that was pretty cool," Jenkins said, adding of a road game against the New York Jets Thursday: "We've got another one here in four days that's pretty important. I'm just excited to get onto the next one."
The Jaguars, after a five-game October losing streak, have won four of their last six games and have won two consecutive games for the first time since Weeks 2 and 3. They have come from behind in their last four victories. The Cowboys slipped to 10-4.
"It feels good to win a game like this – a big game, a national game against a great team," Lawrence said. "It feels good to show who we are. You can't lie: It feels good to show people that. It doesn't change anything about us. It's the same group.
"We lost five games straight in October and everybody wrote us off. If you listen to what people say, you're not really in a good spot. It's the same group. We've just stuck together. It has been fun."
Prescott's third touchdown pass of the game – this one for 13 yards to wide receiver Noah Brown – gave the Cowboys a 34-31 lead with 3:02 remaining.
Lawrence's lost fumble with 1:28 remaining ended a potential go-ahead or tying drive. The Jaguars' defense held to give the Jaguars possession at their 29 with 1:01 remaining, with the Jaguars driving to tie it 34-34 with a 48-yard field goal by Riley Patterson on the final play of regulation.
"That's the mindset of this team, that whatever happens, you've just got to keep playing," Lawrence said.
Lawrence rallied the Jaguars from a 27-10 third-quarter deficit with touchdown passes on three consecutive drives. Wide receiver Zay Jones caught three touchdown passes, and his three-yard touchdown reception from Lawrence gave the Jaguars a 31-27 lead with 10:03 remaining.
"We just kept chipping away against a really good football team," Pederson said. "They're one of the top teams in the league. This win today just gives our guys confidence in who they are as a team."
Lawrence completed 27 of 42 passes for 318 yards and four touchdowns with one interception. The Jaguars committed three turnovers – a third-quarter interception by Lawrence that led to a Dallas field goal, Lawrence's fourth-quarter fumble and a fumble by running back Travis Etienne Jr. that led to a 7-0 Cowboys first-quarter lead.
Etienne rushed for 103 yards on 19 carries. Zay Jones caught six passes for 109 yards, wide receiver Christian Kirk caught six passes for 92 yards and wide receiver Marvin Jones Jr. also caught a touchdown pass for the Jaguars.
Prescott completed 23 of 30 passes for 256 yards and three touchdowns with two interceptions – both by Jenkins.
The Jaguars' defense also registered three sacks – one and a half by lineman Arden Key, one by linebacker Josh Allen and a half sack by defensive tackle Foley Fatukasi.
"The guys are starting to believe in themselves," Pederson said. "That's important down the stretch. It was a tremendous win by everybody. All three phases had a hand in it."
Step by step:
- Running back Ezekiel Elliott's 10-yard touchdown run with 4:31 remaining capped a six-play drive on Dallas' second possession and gave the Cowboys a 7-0 lead; Cowboys safety Donovan Wilson recovered a fumble by Etienne at the Jaguars 41 to set up the drive.
- The Cowboys began pulling away in the second quarter by pushing the lead to 14-0 when Prescott passed 20 yards to tight end Peyton Hendershot with 13:01 remaining in the first half. The Jaguars cut the lead to a score on the ensuing series, with Lawrence capping a nine-play, 75-yard drive with a five-yard pass to Zay Jones. Prescott's one-yard pass to Brown gave the Cowboys a 21-7 lead with 1:55 remaining in the half and capped an 11-play, 66-yard drive.
- A 33-yard field goal by Patterson cut the Cowboys' lead to 21-10 with 10:35 remaining in the third quarter, with kicker Brett Maher's 24-yard field goal on the ensuing drive pushing the lead back to 24-10 with 7:36 remaining in the quarter. A 53-yard field goal by Maher pushed the Dallas lead to 27-10 before a 59-yard touchdown pass from Lawrence to Zay Jones pulled the Jaguars to within 27-17 with 3:57 remaining in the third quarter. Jenkins intercepted Prescott on the ensuing series, setting up a four-play, 39-yard drive that ended when Lawrence passed 10 yards to Marvin Jones to pull the Jaguars to within 27-24 with 1:23 remaining in the quarter.
- A three-yard touchdown pass to Zay Jones gave the Jaguars their first lead of the game, 31-27, with 10:03 remaining in the fourth quarter, with the Cowboys driving 75 yards on 13 plays to take a 34-31 lead with Prescott passed 13 yards to Brown with 3:02 remaining.
- Jaguars outside linebacker Travon Walker, the No. 1 overall selection in the 2022 NFL Draft and a starting outside linebacker in the first 12 games of the season, was among five players named inactive by the Jaguars 90 minutes before kickoff. Arden Key started for Walker. The Jaguars' other inactives: Wide receiver Kendric Pryor, safety Tyree Gillespie, cornerback Montaric Brown and outside linebacker De'Shaan Dixon. All other Jaguars players listed as questionable Friday quarterback Trevor Lawrence (toe), cornerback Darious Williams (abdomen), right guard Brandon Scherff (abdomen), safety Andrew Wingard (shoulder) and linebacker Chad Muma (ankle) – played.
- Jaguars defensive tackle Foley Fatukasi sustained an ankle injury in the first quarter. Right tackle Jawaan Taylor sustained a hamstring injury in the third quarter and returned, and Jaguars left tackle Cam Robinson sustained a knee injury in the fourth quarter. Etienne sustained an ankle injury in the fourth quarter and returned in overtime.
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