Jaguars one step closer to the playoffs after win vs. Panthers: 3 takeaways

• The Jaguars beat the Panthers in what was a must-win game

• They ended a 4-game losing streak and remain in 1st place in the AFC South

• Here are thee observations from the dominant win in Week 17

Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Matt Barkley (19) talks with Carolina Panthers quarterback Bryce
Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Matt Barkley (19) talks with Carolina Panthers quarterback Bryce / Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Unio / USA
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3. CJ Beathard did enough during Trevor Lawrence's absence

There's always a dropoff from the starting quarterback to the backup, which is why Trevor Lawrence hadn't missed a game prior to Week 17 despite the fact that he was dealing with several ailments. However, the shoulder sprain proved too much to overcome and he ended up missing the bout.

With Lawrence unable to go, Beathard got the starting nod, the first time he did since the 2020 season finale. All things considered, Beathard did enough in Larwence's absence, going 17-of-24 for 178 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions.

Even though Beathard didn't have many big-time throws beyond the 48-yard completion to Jamal Agnew, he consistently looked for ways to keep the offense going. He even scrambled a few times to move the chains, but more importantly, he didn't turn the ball over. Doug Pederson was most definitely pleased with his performance.

"I thought CJ played. He played smart. He played tough and came back in after being checked. He ran the offense. Credit the offensive line, especially in the second half, taking over and helping out in the run game. The thing too sometimes is when your starter's out and the backup's in, the focus of the attention is a little more zeroed in. And we saw that today really from not only the offense but the defense as well," Pederson said.

As Pederson noted, Beathard was checked for a concussion after getting hit on the head. He left the game briefly, with Matt Barkley filling in, but quickly returned to the lineup, showcasing the toughness Pederson alluded to.

It's uncertain if Lawrence will be good to go in the final. If he isn't, Beathard told the media that he's ready to take on the Tennessee Titans.