After coming up short five straight weeks, the Jacksonville Jaguars were finally able to put in a complete effort (or close to it) and put an end to a losing skid. Moreover, the Jags showed resilience when they managed to come back from a 17-point deficit and beat the Las Vegas Raiders 27-20.
It wasn’t pretty and trailing the Raiders17-0 in the second quarter, it looked like Jacksonville was going to lose their sixth consecutive game (and seventh overall) of the 2022 season. But then, running back Travis Etienne scored a touchdown before halftime to draw the Jags to within 17-7.
Las Vegas went on to kick a field goal before the end of the second quarter but those were the last points they were able to score for the remainder of the game, as the Jags’ defense didn’t allow a single point in the second half. For their effort, John Breech of CBS Sports gave the Jaguars a B+.
Breech thinks Etienne is a big reason the Jaguars were able to mount a comeback and believes their offense now revolves around him. He also praised the Jags’ defense for neutralizing the Raiders’ offense in the second half.
"It’s starting to look like the Jaguars’ (3-6) best pick of the 2021 draft might have been Travis Etienne. The second-year running back totaled 126 yards (109 rushing), marking the fifth straight game that he’s finished with 100 scrimmage yards or more. The Jags’ offense now revolves around Etienne, and he’s played so well that it’s opening things up for the passing game. Defensively, the Jags clamped down in the second half, surrendering less than 100 yards of offense to a Raiders team that had piled up yardage in the second half."
One player Breech underlook was Trevor Lawrence. Although he only tallied 235 passing yards, he added 53 rushing yards on six carries. Moreover, the No. 1 pick in the 2021 draft completed over 80 percent of his attempts and avoided making mistakes, something he’s struggled with this season.
The Jaguars took a step in the right direction vs. the Raiders in Week 9
The Jaguars have shown progress this season but have also had growing pains. While they still have a long way to go, ending their five-game losing streak should be relieving. After all, losing can be taxing, and at some point, motivational speeches and talk will no longer work. Had Jacksonville lost to the Raiders, the morale in the locker room could have taken a significant hit.
Doug Pederson acknowledged after the game that beating the Raiders won’t make or break the season but he believes they took a step in the right direction. On the other hand, he told the media Monday that they won’t have too much time to celebrate and they’ll need to turn their focus onto the next game.
“We don’t have time to relish in victories and we don’t have time to relish in defeat”, Pederson said. “It’s on to the next one, onward and upward and that’s my task, my job as a head coach to make sure the guys stay focused that way and stay centered, stay grounded but a win can definitely lift your sails a little bit and you go into the week feeling a little bit better about yourself”.
Next on the Jags’ schedule are the Kansas City Chiefs, one of the best teams in the league. It will be interesting to see how they fare coming off a win. Can they make it two in a row? While doable, they might need to play even better than they did against the Raiders.