One slide helped end another.
When Matthew Wright’s third field goal of the afternoon went through the uprights at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London it was the Jaguars’ first victory in 399 days, dating back to beating the Indianapolis Colts in the 2020 season opener. It also eased some of the pressure off a franchise that was staring at the potential of tying or breaking the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ NFL-record 26-game losing streak had they not won Sunday.
“I really enjoyed that locker room after the game,” head coach Urban Meyer said of the emotion and celebration in the moments after the victory. “I think I enjoyed that more than the actual game.”
Oft-criticized offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell came up with the key play late in the game. The Jaguars lined as if they were going to throw a Hail Mary on fourth-and-8 from the Miami 44-yard line, but Bevell instead called “slider” — a quick throw to that would take only a few seconds and still be able to call a timeout before the clock expired. Trevor Lawrence completed a 9-yard pass to Laviska Shenault and Meyer called timeout with one second to play.
That set up Wright’s third field goal attempt of the day. He also made a 54-yarder inside the right upright with 3:40 remaining to tie the game at 20-20 and had a 40-yarder in the first quarter. Those are the only three field goals the Jaguars have made this season.
“That’s something that Darrell Bevell brought to us and we practiced that,” Meyer said. “It’s called a slider — either slider timeout, slider kill. They say it’s six seconds, five seconds [needed to execute it]. It’s hard to get that done.”
But the Jaguars (1-5) did and now Meyer and Lawrence have their first victories in the NFL.
“Obviously, there’s still so much more work to do, but it feels good to get a win,” said Lawrence, who connected with Marvin Jones Jr. on a 28-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter. “I wasn’t a part of the other 15 [losses], but I was a part of the first five here. We hate losing. It’s been tough. We’ve had some games that you feel like could have gone our way and didn’t.
“So to get a win and especially in that fashion, I mean, it’s just crazy, so it feels good.”
Lawrence is the first rookie quarterback to win a game in London (rookie QBs were 0-5 in London entering Sunday). His 319 passing yards are also the most by a rookie QB in London, beating the previous mark of 309 by former Jaguar Gardner Minshew in 2019.
The 53- and 54-yard field goals were the longest of Wright’s career. He signed with the Jaguars’ practice squad on Sept. 27 because Josh Lambo had missed all three of his field goal attempts and two PATs in the season’s first three weeks. Wright missed his only field goal attempt before Sunday when he came up short on a 53-yard attempt against the Tennessee Titans on Oct. 10. But he was a perfect 3-for-3 against the Dolphins, and Lambo was one of the players who enthusiastically congratulated him after the game-winning kick.
“There’s no bad blood between either of us,” Wright said. “We’re both here to do the job, and we’re just competing, and he’s been really helpful, actually, with everything because he’s had quite a long, successful career, so he’s had some wise words for me.”
Defensive end Josh Allen also played a critical role late in the victory, too. He stopped Miami running back Malcolm Brown for no gain on a fourth-and-1 run at the Miami 46-yard line with 1:42 to play. Allen got inside tight end Durham Smythe and grabbed onto Brown’s legs and held on and linebacker Chapelle Russell ensured Brown wouldn’t get away.
“We needed a win,” Meyer said. “Someone asked me last week if we were desperate for a win, and we are desperate for a win, and we came close a few times.”
The Jaguars finally ended their slide Sunday.