The Jacksonville Jaguars entered Week 14 wanting to beat the Cleveland Browns and avoid starting a losing skid. However, mistakes on both sides of the ball held them back and ultimately lost 31-27 to the Cleveland Browns.
Late in the fourth quarter, the Jags made a comeback attempt trailing 31-21. They managed to score a touchdown to make it 31-27. They then tried a two-point conversion but it failed, giving Cleveland the win.
The offense, at times, was able to move the ball in the first half but they only mustered a touchdown in nine drives before halftime. They got the ball one last time with five seconds left on the clock but Trevor Lawrence kneeled. The rest of their possessions ended in either a punt (six times) or an interception (twice).
Their defense wasn't much better, giving two touchdowns to trail 14-7 at halftime. They flashed at times, especially in the second half but their efforts ultimately fell short, letting Joe Flacco throw for over 300 yards, becoming the first Brown quarterback since Tyro Taylor last year to achieve the feat in November of last year. One play that stood out (for wrong reasons), came on fourth-and-3 on the Jags' 41-yard early in the fourth quarter.
Up 21-14, Cleveland chose to go for it. Their gamble paid off, with Joe Flacco hitting wide receiver David Bell for a 31-yard touchdown, making it 28-14. The Jags answered back with a touchdown of their own but Cleveland also scored, giving them a 28-21 lead.
This was Flacco's second start of the season. He signed to the Browns' practice squad last month and got promoted to the active roster when rookie Dorian Thompson-Robinson entered concussion protocol. Although Thompson-Robinson was cleared ahead of Week 14, Flacco got the nod behind center. It paid off, as Jacksonville made him look like his old vintage self, going 26-of-45 for 311 yards with three touchdowns and one interception.
Meanwhile, Lawrence struggled, throwing three interceptions. Granted, one of his picks falls on wide receiver Calvin Ridley for going deep into a route instead of turning back. Had he run the correct route, he would've gotten a first down, and gotten the Jaguars within scoring distance. Moreover, Ezra Cleveland, who started at left tackle in relief of Walker Little, left the game.
Lawrence finished the game with a 66 percent completion rate for 257 yards with three touchdowns and three interceptions.
There are a few bright spots on the Jaguars loss to Browns, albeit far and few between
Not everything was gloom and doom for the Jaguars in the loss to the Browns. Tight end Evan Engram consistently gained positive yardage and even broke his own personal record for catches in a season. His total tally for the season stands at 85, so getting to the 100-catch mark seems reasonable with four games left in the season. Moreover, he scored two touchdowns, giving him three for the year.
Trevor Lawrence deserves credit for playing just six days after spraining his ankle on Monday Night Football. Despite the fact that he was wearing a brace (and probably in pain), he was able to move around the pocket to buy time and even took off a few times. That said, he wasn't particularly accurate, often overthrowing passes to Calvin Ridley and Zay Jones.
Rookie Parker Washington, filling in for Christian Kirk, fumbled three plays into their first second-half possession. Props to linebacker Anthony Walker Jr. for ripping the football off Washington's hands. Washington's fumbled came on their own 14-yard, paving the way for the running back Kareem Hunt to cap off a seven-play, 22-yard drive with a four-yard touchdown run.
Later in the game, Washington sort of made up for his lost fumble catching a pass over his shoulder for a touchdown. A sixth-round pick in this year's draft, the former Penn State Nittany Lion has scored in back-to-back weeks.
Still, it wasn't enough to overcome the many mistake both the offense and the defense made throughout the game. The silver lining is that both the Houston Texans and the Indianapolis Colts also lost, so the Jackosnville Jaguars remain in first place in the AFC South.