JACKSONVILLE – Senior writer John Oehser and senior correspondent Brian Sexton offer quick thoughts on the Jaguars' 28-27 victory over the Baltimore Ravens in a 2022 Week 12 game at TIAA Bank Field Sunday
John Oehser, Jaguars Senior Writer
- This was the moment. There was no shortage of Jaguars storylines Sunday, the grittiness that defined an upset over an established franchise known for gritty late-season toughness chief among them. But make no mistake: This was a day about a young quarterback growing up before our eyes, and Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence continued to do just that Sunday. Lawrence, the No. 1 overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft, turned in a third consecutive 100-plus-passer rating game Sunday and completed 29 of 37 passes for 321 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions. But this performance was about far more than numbers. Lawrence looked the part and played and threw with a confidence he has earned with steady improvement over the last month. He never has been better in 28 NFL starts than he was late Sunday, completing 15 of 19 passes for 173 yards and two fourth-quarter touchdown passes on the final three drives. He overcame sacks early on both fourth-quarter touchdown drives and overcame third-and-21 on the game-winning drive. His 10-yard last-drive touchdown pass to wide receiver Marvin Jones Jr. was a throw of precision and confidence – and it was one of five, six or seven such throws by Lawrence Sunday. By late in the fourth quarter, you were no longer hoping his passes and decisions would be accurate and right; you were expecting that to be the case. "He did a tremendous job at the helm," Jaguars wide receiver Christian Kirk said. "He stayed cool. Whenever 16 is rolling, we're all rolling." Lawrence on throw after big throw Sunday continued to shed inexperience and develop before our eyes into the franchise quarterback the team has wanted and needed for so long. That, ultimately, may be how Sunday is remembered. If so, it's the most important day – and game – around here in a long time.
- Credit where it's due. 2.Credit where it's due. Perhaps some rolled their eyes this past week when Jaguars players and coaches spoke of still being alive for the postseason – and at 4-7, that remains a difficult task. But credit these Jaguars for displaying real fight and belief this week – and for pulling off their most impressive victory in several seasons. The Ravens not only led the AFC North at 7-3 entering the game, but they have also led by nine or more points in every game this season and are a playoff-tested veteran franchise that knows how to win on the road late in the season with the postseason at stake.
Brian Sexton, Jaguars Senior Correspondent…
- They bent but they didn't break. The Jaguars' defense gave up a few big plays and at times seemed unable to stop Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson, but they bowed up and held them to four field goals. That kept this game close enough for Lawrence to get the offense in gear. By the time Jackson found former Jaguars tight Josh Oliver for the go-ahead touchdown with 2:02 remaining, it felt as if Jackson was in rhythm and up for the challenge. The defense was far from perfect and at times looked unable to get a stop, but with their backs to the wall the unit never gave in or gave up. Was there a bigger defensive play Sunday than safety Andrew Wingard stripping the ball from Ravens running back Gus Edwards to set up the Jaguars' go-ahead field goal early in the fourth quarter? The Jaguars' defense made plays when it needed to and it was as much the story of this game as the Jaguars' late two-point conversion. It was a steppingstone game for Defensive Coordinator Mike Caldwell and Company.
- I wrote in this space last Wednesday about wide receiver Zay Jones and tight end Evan Engram – and on Sunday it was Zay Jones and running back Jamycal Hasty who combined for 240 of the Jaguars' 332 yards. Impressive. Perhaps next week will be Engram's week, but this offense needs more playmakers, and the good news is Lawrence looks like he is figuring it out and can use whatever tools Head Coach Doug Pederson can hand him. They need more from Engram and tight end Dan Arnold next week and another Sunday like that from Zay Jones – and perhaps we'll see another level for the Jags offense.