INGLEWOOD, California. It’s been 1,015 days since the Jacksonville Jaguars last won a road game, a nearly three-year stretch that ended Sunday in a 38-10 thrashing of the Los Angeles Chargers at Sophie Stadium.
The win is important for more than just breaking a losing streak that goes back to the win against the Oakland Raiders on December 5, 2019 in the last game played at the Oakland Coliseum.
The Jaguars, who have won just four games in the past two seasons, are starting to look like a team that could make the playoffs in December. At 2-1, they currently lead AFC South, a division that looks shaky at best.
“That’s it for this team,” head coach Doug Pederson said of the franchise’s fourth win in 19 games played in the Pacific Time Zone. – And that’s what the guys were talking about, those who were here. It’s nice to win an away victory over a great football team. Traveling around the country like this is the merit of the guys from the locker room.
“I hope this is the beginning of things to come and [they are] moving in the right direction.”
This may seem a little premature because the season is only three weeks away and the Jaguars are eight points clear of the fourth quarter lead, losing to the Washington Commanders in the season opener. But the way the Jaguars have won the last two weeks shows they can be for real.
The Jaguars led the Chargers by over 100 yards, Lawrence threw for 262 yards and three touchdowns, James Robinson rushed for 100 yards and scored a touchdown, rookie Devin Lloyd intercepted his second pass in as many weeks, and Davoine Smoot forced a fumble. which Foye Oluokun recovered.
It’s not just a statistic, though: the Jaguars didn’t flip the ball, took just two penalties, and went on a 22–0 streak after the Chargers scored a field goal, cutting the Jaguars’ lead to nine points early in the game. third quarter. For the second week in a row, the team ended the victory with a dominant second half.
It looks like the team is coming together.
Lawrence may have been the best quarterback in the league in the last two weeks. His overall QBR of 84.6 is second only to Miami Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa (87.0) and he leads the league in completion percentage (76.8%). He threw five touchdowns and no interceptions in the Colts and Chargers rout—the second and third highest-ranked games of his career.
Three weeks later, he ranks sixth in the NFL in overall QBR (72.9) and seventh in completion percentage (69.4). Most importantly, he does not flip the ball (only one interception).
“The guys are doing a great job on defense,” Pederson said. “The guys are opening up and we had opportunities to take shots and we converted them on the field. There were some possibilities there [for explosive plays] and we hit them and we were effective in passing. That’s all we can demand from our guys. Requires 11 [players] do it, but [Lawrence] was very efficient, very accurate.”
And the Jaguars didn’t make the mistakes that have been a hallmark of the franchise in the last few seasons. They are the best in the NFL plus seven in turnover margins (they were the worst in the NFL minus 20 last season) and have taken just five penalties in their last two games (they had 13 penalties in their first game and averaged seven per game). last season) and have converted 47% of their third downs in the last two weeks.
“We played the full game,” Lawrence said. “Stacking two weeks in a row is a big deal for us.”
If it was three weeks in a row, that would really be a sign that the Jaguars are for real, because it would mean beating the Philadelphia Eagles on the road. Adding to the plot of Pederson’s return to town, which he led to a Super Bowl title, is the fact that the Eagles (3-0) are probably the best team in the NFC and possibly the NFL.
The Jaguars have lost their last 18 games to the NFC since defeating the New York Giants in the 2018 season opener. Breaking this series will get the rest of the NFL talking.
“I think the way we played, you can’t deny that we’re a really good team,” Lawrence said. “But in the end, it doesn’t really matter what it says about us. We know who we are. Our only goal on Sunday is to win the game and what other people think doesn’t really matter. Every week we will prepare the same way. We’ll be ready to play.”