The Jacksonville Jaguars blew a substantial lead to the New Orleans Saints in the second half, but they were able to salvage a win, 31-24, to make it four in a row for the AFC South leaders on Thursday night.
After the Saints tied it up at 24 apiece, Trevor Lawrence, who played through a knee sprain he suffered in the team’s victory over the Indianapolis Colts this past Sunday, found Christian Kirk on a short pass and he turned up field with all his speed to find space down the right sideline and flew into the end zone for his third touchdown of the season.
The Saints made another second-half push, with running back Alvin Kamara picking up a first down on third-and-2 to make it first and goal from Jacksonville’s six-yard line on a highly productive night for the veteran.
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But despite the excellent field position, the Saints could not convert and they had a golden opportunity on third-and-goal when the Jaguars had a miscommunication leaving Foster Moreau wide open in the back left of the end zone.
However, Moreau could not haul in the perfectly placed pass from quarterback Derek Carr. On fourth-and-goal, Carr tried to throw a fade to Chris Olave, but Montaric “Buster” Brown was in coverage and smacked the ball away to seal the Jaguars’ victory.
The Saints lost their second in a row, as they fell to the Houston Texans on Sunday. They move to 3-4 on the season, while the Jaguars are 5-2.
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Travis Etienne set the tone for the Jaguars on the first drive of the game, finding the end zone on a two-yard run on a beautifully scripted 10-play drive for Jacksonville. His monster first half would see another rushing touchdown in the second quarter, this time going for 17 yards on a pitch play.
It was the third game in a row Etienne had two rushing touchdowns, cementing himself as one of the top running backs in the game this season. He finished with 53 rushing yards on 14 carries, while catching three passes for 24 yards.
Etienne wasn’t the leading rusher for the Jags, though. It actually went to Lawrence, who showed that his knee wasn’t that much of an issue. Yes, he didn’t take any contact on the short practice week. But using a brace around his knee, he was confident in tucking and running the football, doing it eight times for 59 yards, including a 26-yard pick-up at one point.
Through the air, Lawrence went 20 of 29 for 204 yards with his passing touchdown to Kirk, who was the team’s leading receiver with 90 yards on six catches.
Though Moreau’s drop will be looked at the most by fans, the Saints’ struggles to get things going in the first half created an immediate hole for Carr’s group. He finished 33 of 55 for 301 yards with a touchdown and an interception, which was returned for a pick-six.
Carr was looking Kamara’s way a lot in this game, as he caught 12 passes for 91 yards (14 targets). He also rushed for 62 yards on 17 carries, while also getting a two-point conversion.
Chris Olave finished with 57 yards on seven catches, though he had 15 targets to lead the team. Michael Thomas hauled in a touchdown for Carr that led to the eventual Kamara two-point conversion to tie the game.
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The Saints will hope to get back on the winning side of things next week against the Indianapolis Colts. The Jaguars will face off against the Pittsburgh Steelers after their 10 days off.