JACKSONVILLE – In a weekly feature for the 2021 season, NFL Media and Jaguars Media analyst Bucky Brooks breaks down the Jaguars' performance in a 23-20 victory over the Miami Dolphins in a 2021 Week 6 game at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, England…
The Jaguars snapped a 20-game losing streak with a total team effort that showcased their potential. The defense came up with a few timely plays to keep the game within reach until the offense was able to find its stride behind rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence. The No. 1 overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft played his best game to date with his confidence, composure and poise matching his spectacular arm talent. Lawrence dropped dimes to the Jaguars' unheralded pass-catchers while running back James Robinson steadied the unit with his rugged runs between the tackles. With kicker Matthew Wright splitting the uprights on a pair of 50-plus-yard kicks in the fourth quarter, the Jaguars scratched out a win utilizing a complementary football approach that should leave the coaches encouraged about the long-term prospects of this team.
KEYS TO VICTORY
The grit and guts displayed by the Jaguars were the difference in this game. Head Coach Urban Meyer's squad refused to cave when facing adverse circumstances despite having the cloud of the losing streak hanging over their heads. The defense made plays at critical moments, including cornerback Nevin Lawson’s interception in a sudden change situation (after a fumble) and defensive end/linebacker Josh Allen and Co.'s fourth-down stop to set up the game-winning drive. Lawrence came up with some clutch throws to wide receivers Marvin Jones Jr. and Laviska Shenault Jr. to keep the Jaguars in the game, while also sprinkling in some tosses to wide receiver/returner Jamal Agnew to move the chains. Robinson added some balance to the offense with a steady effort on the ground (17 carries, 73 yards) that kept the Dolphins from loading up on the Jaguars' aerial attack. The kicking game also stood out with Wright nailing three field goals, including the 53-yard game-winner that showed his range and poise. Given the considerable contributions from members of each phase (offense, defense and special teams), Meyer should be pleased with the Jaguars' performance and encouraged by their progress.
Lawrence enjoyed the best day of his young career in London. Lawrence put up 300-plus passing yards with a touchdown on pinpoint passes that showed off accuracy and ball placement. Most importantly, the rookie displayed the confidence, poise and clutch playmaking skills that coaches expect from franchise players. Reviewing the game tape, I believe Lawrence has made huge strides with his patience and discipline within the pocket. He has limited his "hero" throws and played more "connect-the-dots" football. With the rookie willing to play like a pass-first point guard from the pocket, the Jaguars' passing game forces defenses to defend the entire field. Moreover, Lawrence is putting defensive coordinators on notice that the game plans that worked earlier in the season are no longer applicable.
Wright cemented his legacy in Jaguars history with a picture-perfect performance across the pond. The confident kicker not only nailed three field goals to shore up the team's biggest weakness, but he drilled a pair of 50-yarders under pressure to secure his spot on the roster.
The Jaguars appear to have found an offensive identity heading into the bye week after a winning performance. The call sheet finally features a mix of runs and passes that enable Robinson to take some of the offense off Lawrence's shoulders. With Jones, Shenault and Agnew pitching in as playmakers in the passing game, the Jaguars rolled up nearly 400 yards of total offense and looked like a dynamic outfit for the second game in a row.
Hats off to defensive coordinator Joe Cullen for his work with the Jaguars' young defense. The grizzled defensive architect has his defenders playing hard despite challenging circumstances of dealing with a losing streak that had robbed the unit of its confidence. To their credit, the Jaguars' defenders did not flinch in the face of adversity and found a way to come up with critical plays with the game in the balance. From Lawson's key interception to the crucial fourth-down stop, the Jaguars' defense showed up when it mattered against the Dolphins.