JACKSONVILLE – In a weekly feature for the 2022 season, NFL Media and Jaguars Media analyst Bucky Brooks breaks down the Jaguars' performance in a 40-34 overtime victory over the Dallas Cowboys at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville Sunday
- The Jaguars scratched out a win before a raucous crowd in a playoff-like atmosphere. The walk-off win showcased the Jaguars' grit, determination and resilience – proving to Head Coach Doug Pederson's young players they are a playoff-caliber team when they execute at a high level. From the offense clicking under the direction of a red-hot gunslinger to the defense taking away the ball at crucial moments, the Jaguars are rounding into form as a dynamic team with playoff potential.
KEYS TO VICTORY
- The Jaguars claimed a victory over the Cowboys with a total team effort that embodied the "complementary football" preached by Pederson since Day 1. The offense marched up and down the field, mixing deceptive runs from running back Travis Etienne Jr./wide receiver Jamal Agnew and pinpoint passes from quarterback Trevor Lawrence to an underrated set of pass catchers on the perimeter. Defensively, the Jaguars came up with timely stops and takeaways in the second half to flip the game's momentum. Safety Rayshawn Jenkins was the catalyst of the effort with 18 tackles and a pair of interceptions, including the walk-off "Pick Six" that sealed the game. Although the unit could not control the Cowboys' running game or contain wide receiver CeeDee Lamb on the perimeter, the defense made enough "winning" plays in the second half to seize control of the game.
- The former No. 1 overall pick is transforming into a superstar in front of our eyes. Lawrence continued to shine as a gunslinger against the Cowboys with a 300-yard game (completed 27 of 42 passes for 318 pass yards) that also featured four touchdowns. The second-year veteran not only made a handful of pinpoint scripted throws, but also flashed impressive improvisational skills making scramble tosses on the move. With Lawrence also displaying more moxie and swagger as the Jaguars' QB1, the offense is starting to click on all cylinders heading down the stretch, as evidenced by the 500-plus yards of total offense against the Cowboys. If No. 16 continues to sizzle as he has since Week 9 (14:1 touchdown-to-interception ratio), the Jaguars could roll into the playoffs with the quarterback that no one wants to face in a "win-or-go-home" contest.
- Wide receiver Zay Jones gets the nod after posting a "hat trick" against the Cowboys with six catches, 109 receiving yards and three touchdowns. The veteran flipped the game's momentum with a touchdown on a double move against an inexperienced cornerback on the perimeter. Jones' ability to win his one-on-one matchups from various spots helped Lawrence take advantage of a defensive backfield that appeared overmatched outside of Trevon Diggs.
- The Jaguars are humming on all cylinders as an explosive offensive machine. Pederson is deftly mixing in runs and passes, with Lawrence and Etienne anchoring the offense as the top playmakers. The combination of deceptive runs and quick-rhythm throws enabled the Jaguars to operate efficiently against a defense that was expected to pose problems with a star-studded frontline that featured a collection of explosive pass rushers. Considering the offense rolled up 500-plus yards in an impressive win, the Jaguars offense is beginning to look like a Top 5 unit.
- Coordinator Mike Caldwell has simplified the defense to help the unit flourish the past few weeks. Although the yardage totals do not reflect the defense's improvement, the uptick in turnovers and splash plays suggests the scaled-back approach is producing better results. Against the Cowboys, the defense came up with a couple of critical turnovers and a few key stops to change the game's momentum. Jenkins was the star of the day, but inside linebacker Foye Oluokon (14 tackles), lineman Arden Key (1.5 sacks), lineman Dawuane Smoot (three tackles for loss) and outside linebacker Josh Allen (three tackles and a sack) also contributed to a solid defensive effort.