|Posted on September 26, 2021 at 4:00 PM|
Article by Dan Tortora
The Jacksonville Jaguars have begun the Urban Meyer / Trevor Lawrence era at 0-2, which should come as not much of a surprise as an organization works to develop what its new chapter will look like.
Here at home inside TIAA Bank Field for the second time this season, the Jaguars started 0-for-2 on third down until running back Carlos Hyde, in his second stint as a Jaguar, grabbed five yards on a 3rd-&-2 situation from the Jacksonville 33. The Jaguars, however, would punt it away once again, giving them three punts on three drives in the first half.
Conversely, the visiting Arizona Cardinals would get down the field on their second drive of the game, scoring on a one-yard keeper by quarterback Kyler Murray to make it 7-0 Cardinals. Murray went 4-for-4 on this drive and Arizona ran two other times besides the Murray keeper.
They also had three drives in the first quarter, with the other two concluding with a punt apiece.
At the end of the first quarter, six combined drives by both teams had amounted seven points, with Arizona leading 7-0.
Lawrence would go 2-for-2 and Jacksonville would run the ball four times on their fourth drive of the contest, which began at the end of the first quarter and carried into the second. One of those completions by Lawrence was a 20-yard pass play to wide receiver Laviska Shenault, Jr., who was wide open, reeling it in to place the Jaguars in the Cardinals' red zone, at the Cardinals' 19.
But this prime opportunity would turn sour when Lawrence passed to tight end Jacob Hollister who lost the handle, leaving the ball free in the air for Arizona cornerback Byron Murphy, Jr., to intercept it.
The defense would bail out that turnover by forcing the Cardinals to punt for the third time in the game.
On the following drive, Lawrence would take off on 3rd-&-5 on a run after looking downfield. He needed six yards.
Lawrence got five, despite stretching the ball out with his right hand as he was going out-of-bounds.
Head Coach Urban Meyer, on 4th-&-1, elected to punt, this the Jaguars' fourth punt of the match-up.
A 29-yard completion from Murray to wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins on 3rd-&-3 would have placed the Cardinals in the Jaguars' redzone, but tight end Maxx Williams would negate the play when he was called for offensive pass interference, a penalty that would accidentally aid the Jaguars when the drive would end in a punt a play after as opposed to the defense having to prevent a score backed inside their own 20.
Lawrence would find wide receiver DJ Chark, Jr., who had gotten behind two defenders, for a 12-yard touchdown that tied the game at 7-7 with 1:16 to go in the first half.
Arizona would send kicker Matt Prater out to attempt a 68-yard field goal to end the half, and it would backfire, as a score did occur before the half, but it did not come from the Cardinals. Wide receiver Jamal Agnew was set up in the end zone in case the Prater attempt was short, which it was, and he took the ball out for a hail mary before half. That prayer and faith in himself worked as Agnew eluded defenders all the way down the field for a 109-yard return on the field-goal miss, giving Jacksonville their first lead of the game, 13-7 (after an extra-point miss by kicker Josh Lambo), going into the locker room.
What would begin as punt, punt, punt, interception, and punt for the Jaguars would end in back-to-back touchdowns.
Looking to tie or take the lead, Arizona came out out of the break with Murray going 2-for-2 on their opening drive of the third quarter. His third attempt would be completed as well, but to the wrong team, as strong safety Andrew Wingard intercepted a pass meant for wide receiver Christian Kirk at the Jacksonville one-yard line, preventing a touchdown and returning the ball 22 yards to the Jacksonville 23.
Murray would go 4-for-7 and the Cardinals would run four times en route to a 34-yard field goal by Prater to condense their deficit to three, 13-10, on their second drive of the third quarter.
The Jaguars trusted in the run on their next drive, running eight times and not attempting a single pass, with running back James Robinson taking the majority of the carries (6) into the final one, which saw him go up middle and through for a four-yard score to elevate the Jaguars' lead to nine, 19-10, after Lambo missed his second-consecutive extra-point attempt.
Running back James Conner would reply to Robinson's rushing touchdown with one of his own, this also ironically from four yards out. Arizona got to the Jacksonville four-yard line thanks to a completion from Murray to Kirk that moved the Cardinals 33 yards from the Jaguars' 37 to the four-yard line. Murray threw to Kirk twice on this drive, both completions, totaling 51 yards.
On the second play of Jacksonville's following drive, Lawrence, from his own 25, would be intercepted by Murphy, who gained his second interception of the day, this one by jumping Hollister's route on the outside. Both of Murphy's interceptions came defending Hollister. Murphy returned this one 29 yards to the house to bring the lead back to Arizona, 24-19, with 24 seconds remaining on the third-quarter clock.
Less than two minutes into the fourth quarter, the Jaguars would punt the ball back to the momentum-holding Cardinals.
Murray would come back onto the field to go 4-for-4, with his third pass coming on 3rd-&-9 from his own 49 which he turned into a redzone opportunity for Arizona after completing to wide receiver A.J. Green for 36 yards to the Jacksonville 15. Green had rookie cornerback Tyson Campbell on him but Green stayed poised and reeled in the ball.
The Cardinals would spend the last three plays of this drive on the ground, with Conner attaining his second touchdown of the game on this drive, from one yard out, to expand the Arizona advantage to 12, 31-19.
What once was a nine-point Jaguars' lead in the second half went well into the other direction on a 21-point swing for the Cardinals, scoring three-straight touchdowns, two offensive and one defensive in between those two as aforementioned.
With the win, Arizona improves to 3-0, remaining undefeated on the road at 2-0, while the Jaguars dip to 0-3, with now back-to-back home losses here in the Meyer / Lawrence era.