The Jacksonville Jaguars came crumbling against the Tennessee Titans in the season finale. Trailing 28-20 in the fourth quarter, they still had a chance to win. However, they couldn't get the job done. They got as far as the Titans' one-yard line but couldn't get into the end zone in spite of trying four different times.
In one of the attempts, Trevor Lawrence changed the call and tried a quarterback sneak. It failed and the Jags turned the ball over on downs, narrowing down the odds of a potential comeback. Jacksonville got another possession and once again turned it over on downs. Following the 28-20 loss, Lawrence met with the local media and talked about the season coming to an abrupt halt.
"It's tough, it's a pretty surreal feeling, hard to put into words right now," Lawrence said. "The whole season comes down to one game, and then you look back. It's like a few plays, your whole season comes down to a few plays and we weren't able to make them. Of course, you're thinking about if you did it differently, one if play went a little differently or if you weren't in certain situations or whatever."
"You think about all that, which is the hardest part about losing and losing games like this is you go back and you replay everything and it hasn't really set in yet. We're done. We're gonna be planning more this year. It's gonna be a long offseason. It's tough to put it into words right now," Lawrence said.
Lawrence is right. If a couple calls plays had gone their way, the Jags might've come out on top. Wide receiver Calvin Ridley could've scored in the fourth quarter had he not dropped a perfectly placed long pass. Similarly, they could've reached the end zone if Lawrence hadn't fallen short of the goal line when tried the QB sneak. He was asked about that particular play.
"That's one of those plays like we talked about. Like I said, [previously] scored on it, four or five times and didn't on that one. So it's unfortunate and something I can learn from. Maybe that situation, you let the play ride, and hope you get in. Let the guys up front do their job and the running backs and all that. Don't try to take that into my own hands," Lawrence said.
"Lawrence continued. That's something I got to watch and make that decision but it's done now. I made the decision and they trust me with those things and didn't work. I gotta take accountability for that. They told me, I decided to do it and didn't. It's one of those plays if you do it, you'd better score. I didn't it's unfortunate."
A few mistakes notwithstanding, Lawrence played relatively well. He threw a couple of picks but the first one was the result of tight end Evan Engram not being able to secure his pass. In the second one, he overthrew wide receiver Zay Jones, and cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting made a play. The third-year quarterback went 29-of-43 for 280 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Here's his full exchange with the media.
Trevor Lawrence's decision to change the call is one of the reason the Jaguars lost
This is going to sting for Trevor Lawrence. As he noted, he would like to have the play back, and it's not something he'll try to do again, especially when you take into account how costly it turned out to be. That said, it's fair to wonder what made him change the play to begin with. John Shipley of Sports Illustrated asks if that's something a quarterback that trusts the playcalling would do.
Maybe he saw a favorable matchup, one that he could take advantage of. He didn't though and he deserves scrutiny for the decision. On the other hand, he isn't solely responsible for it. As the saying goes, there's no such thing as a bad idea, just bad execution, and you can see how center Luke Fortner was overpowered. Had the offensive line held ground, Lawrence might've scored.
Trevor Lawrence and the Jacksonville Jaguars most definitely have to figure out what went wrong on that play and the rest of their season. On the bright side, they'll have plenty of time given that they've been effectively eliminated from playoff contention.