JACKSONVILLE – Trevor Lawrence was efficient and smart Sunday.
That was enough for the Jaguars to beat the Indianapolis Colts in the 2022 regular-season home opener – and enough to draw praise from Head Coach Doug Pederson.
Pederson delivered that praise early Monday afternoon.
"He did an outstanding job in the game just delivering the football and [he was] very accurate too," Pederson said a day after the Jaguars' 24-0 victory at TIAA Bank Field.
Lawrence, in his second season as the Jaguars' starting quarterback, completed 25 of 30 passes for a career-high completion percentage of 83.33 percent. He threw for 235 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions.
The Jaguars' game plan Sunday was to patiently work the Colts' bend-don't-break Cover 3 defense with mostly short and intermediate routes – a plan that teammates said Lawrence worked well.
"He just played a really smart, decisive game," tight end Evan Engram said. "He made a lot of plays, a couple of scramble drills that we succeeded on, and he made a lot of smart throws. We still had our shots. It was a smart performance by him, being really decisive and smart with the ball."
Pederson lauded Lawrence Monday for helping the offense maintain discipline against a defense coordinated by former Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley.
"I just think the way he controlled and managed the offense, his efficiency, getting the ball out of his hand, he saw the defense extremely well, found the right guys in the right spots," Pederson said. "We talked all last week about the Gus Bradley type of defense, you kind of know where they're going to be, so we have to maintain that discipline on offense and Trevor's part of that."
Pederson on Monday also discussed Lawrence's accuracy, particularly rolling to his left – which can be difficult for right-handed quarterbacks. Lawrence's longest completion Sunday came on such a play – a 26-yard completion to wide receiver Christian Kirk that converted 1st-and-20 and came one play before a 37-yard touchdown run by running back James Robinson.
"It's a tough throw, but it's one of the things we try to do as much as we can," Pederson said. "We feel like we can go either way with Trevor because he's very accurate out of the pocket. [He] made a couple tough throws going to his left. [It's] difficult to do, but he makes it seem pretty easy."
- The Jaguars entering Monday night's games lead the NFL at plus-five takeaway giveaway after finishing last in the NFL in 2021 in the category at minus-20. They are second in the league with six takeaways after finishing with a league-low nine in 2021.
- "It's very important," Pederson said. "We talk about creating turnovers and try to get as many in practice as we can, whether we're punching the ball out or catching interceptions. It's good to be in that position now, but it's something that we have to sustain. We have to maintain it throughout the course of the season. Any team would say if you can do that, you can win more games if you're on the positive side of that."
- The Jaguars' three takeaways Sunday came on interceptions by safeties Andre Cisco and Rayshawn Jenkins and linebacker Devin Lloyd. "That's part of our identity, kind of how we see ourselves – as a defense that takes the ball away and that can rely on that," Cisco said.
- Pederson on Monday lauded the play Sunday of Jenkins, who registered four pass breakups with a first-quarter interception that led to the Jaguars' first touchdown. "He played well," Pederson said. "He played sound. He's one of the leaders back there. He played physical the whole game. He played real well."