JACKSONVILLE – So good so early.
As for what happened next – and as for why the Jaguars on Sunday were terrific offensively for a series and not even close to that after that …
Well, the NFL can be a weird place sometimes.
It also can be difficult place for rookie quarterbacks, which may be the best way to explain how the Jaguars could score beautifully and easily on their first series Sunday then barely move offensively during the last three and a half quarters of a 23-13 loss to the Denver Broncos in the 2021 regular-season home opener at TIAA Bank Field.
Rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence looked the part of the No. 1 overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft on the first series. He completed five of seven passes for 73 yards and bigtime 25-yard touchdown to wide receiver Marvin Jones Jr.
Lawrence threw for just 45 yards on 9-of-26 passing after that as an experienced, talented and confusing defense confounded him into errant passes – and two interceptions – as the lead slipped away before becoming a second consecutive double-digit deficit for the young quarterback.
The Jaguars as a team had just 189 yards offense and 12 first downs, negating at times was a fair-to-OK defensive performance: 22 first downs and 398 yards allowed with three sacks and less than 100 yards rushing allowed.
The performance doesn't mean Lawrence is bad, but he has five interceptions in his first two NFL games – and it's all-but impossible to win that way. It also means the Jaguars are 0-2 with a good Arizona team heading to TIAA Bank Field next week.
Buckle up. And let's get to it …
Wade from Westside: Run the damn ball. Run the damn ball. Run the damn ball. The NFL is not the SEC or the Big10.
This was a common refrain among emailers Sunday. The Jaguars ran just 16 times for 75 yards Sunday – the same number of carries as the Jaguars had in a 37-21 Week 1 loss at Houston. But while the 16 carries in the Houston game felt like way too few, Sunday's total was more a reflection of the entire Jaguars' offenses struggles. Because whereas the Jaguars threw 51 times in the loss to Houston, they threw just 33 times Sunday. The Jaguars ran just 50 plays – 17 fewer than the Broncos. The Jaguars certainly would have run more Sunday, but with Denver controlling the game – and having a 38:52-21:08 time-of-possession advantage – they had little chance to do so.
Tom from My Couch near the Mean Streets of Nocatee: This Lawrence kid might be pretty good if they can get him some receivers who can actually catch the ball.
Lawrence will be good, though he wasn't after the first drive Sunday. Drops continue to be an issue for Jaguars receivers, and wide receiver Laviska Shenault Jr. struggled with them Sunday. No doubt. It has been a thing.
Ben from Jacksonville: 0-17. I hate this organization. I hate everything. 0-17.
An 0-2 start has gotten the best of Ben.
Josh from Atlanta: No matter what happens the rest of the game, that drive gives the city hope of what is to come for years. That was astonishing.
This was the much-ballyhooed, eagerly-anticipated, sometimes-but-not-this-time-disappointing First Email of the Game – and yes … the Jaguars' opening drive was stunning and encouraging. Lawrence' went three for three for 62 yards on the drive on third down including the touchdown pass to Jones. After a penalty-filled start that led to a one-sided Week 1 loss, you couldn't have asked for a better start at home. It indeed was a drive that showed why the Jaguars selected Lawrence No. 1 overall in the NFL 2021 Draft. He has big-time traits and does special things. He showed all of that on that drive. He didn't do it at all the rest of the game, which probably had more to do with the Broncos' pass rush and talented secondary than anything else.
Sascha from Cologne:The weekly reminder that Josh Lambo is good unfortunately needs to stop.
Lambo, the Jaguars' veteran kicker, missed from 52 and 48 yards in the first half Sunday. That came after he missed from 55 yards in Houston last week. Missing from plus-50 – and missing from 48 in a significant rain – doesn't necessarily mean a kicker isn't good, but you're right that Lambo historically has been more reliable than that.
Matt from Chandler, AZ: Looks like the Lambo ran out of gas. Time to bring in some kicker competition. Those preseason misses should have been a sign.
Head Coach Urban Meyer supported Lambo after the game, praising his work ethic. He also said he didn't know about bringing another kicker for competition. Stay tuned.
David from Denver: Does Urban Meyer hate James Robinson?
Why would he?
JT from Palm Coast: Trevor, for the love of everything look to the damn check down man already. Horrible interception. He has big play "itis." This is not college young man.
This was very definitely an issue Week 1. It certainly looked like an issue again Sunday. It seemed at first glance that Lawrence threw deep to the corners a bit too much Sunday, but know this: Better to be making mistakes of aggression early than to not have the inclination – or ability or vision – to throw downfield.
Marcus from Jacksonville: Is Josh Lambo the kicker next Sunday?
RG from Middle Earth: Getting beat deep again. And again. And again. How do they fix this?
The deep pass beat the Jaguars' secondary in Week 1. It did it again Week 2, with Broncos wide receiver Courtland Sutton catching momentum-turning passes of 33 and 55 yards to set up second- and third-quarter touchdowns. Many factors contribute to deep completions. Cornerback CJ Henderson being out with a hip flexor in the second half Sunday didn't help; Broncos quarterback Teddy Bridgewater went after Henderson's replacement – Chris Claybrooks – on the 55-yarder that led to the Broncos pushing the lead to 10 early in the third quarter. How do the Jaguars fix it? Get more pressure to disrupt the quarterback. Then knock the pass down when you have the opportunity. Those two things wouldn't have prevented all the deep passes this season. But they would have stopped a few.
Roger from Heidelberg, Germany: OMG, TLaw can't throw and our receivers can't catch. What a bunch of losers.
Sunday was a struggle offensively.