JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP)Rayshawn Jenkins snatched the ball inches from the ground and raced the other way.
He could have played it safe and taken a knee or stepped out of bounds. But this wasn’t the time or place – not for a guy who had never returned an interception for a touchdown.
Not in the NFL. Not in college. Not in high school. Not even as a kid playing peewee football in Florida. So Jenkins had one thought: score.
Jenkins intercepted Dak Prescott’s tipped pass in overtime and returned it 52 yards for a touchdown that gave the Jacksonville Jaguars a stunning 40-34 victory over the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday.
”That’s a play you dream about ever since you’re 8 years old, ever since I started playing this game, to be the guy to make a play like that for us to get that win,” said Jenkins, who became the first player in NFL history with 18 tackles and two interceptions in the same game. ”That was pretty cool to do.”
Tre Herndon tipped Prescott’s low throw to Noah Brown, and Jenkins made a shoelace grab and went untouched to the end zone to end Jacksonville’s 20-game skid – an NFL record – against teams from the other conference.
”I was running for dear life,” Jenkins said. ”My hamstrings about to pull and everything.”
Prescott sat on the field in disbelief as the Jaguars celebrated one of their more improbable wins in franchise history.
”Unlucky bounce for us; hell of a play by them,” Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy said.
The shocker ended Dallas’ four-game winning streak and prevented it from securing an NFC playoff berth, at least for a few hours. The Cowboys wrapped up a wild-card spot later Sunday when the New York Giants beat Washington. Jacksonville (6-8), meanwhile, got within one game of reeling first-place Tennessee in the topsy-turvy AFC South.
The Jaguars stormed back from a 27-10 deficit to take the lead in the fourth, only to see Prescott and the Cowboys answer. Trevor Lawrence responded by driving Jacksonville into position for Riley Patterson’s 48-yard field that sent the game into overtime.
Jacksonville won the coin toss and had a chance to win it but went three-and-out. Jenkins’ pick-6 three plays later ended the game.
”It’s tough. It’s frustrating,” Prescott said. ”It’s tough treading that line, trying to make a play, trying to be aggressive, and at the same time not putting the ball at risk.”
Prescott completed 23 of 30 passes for 256 yards, with three touchdowns and two interceptions. Two of his TD passes went to Brown.
Lawrence was better. He completed 27 of 42 passes for 318 yards, with four touchdowns and an interception. Lawrence also lost a fumble. Three of his TD passes went to Zay Jones. Travis Etienne ran for 103 yards.
It was Jacksonville’s first cross-conference win since the 2018 season opener against the Giants. The 20-game skid was one of several losing streaks Jacksonville has ended in coach Doug Pederson’s first season.
”We’re here to flip the script,” Jaguars receiver Christian Kirk said.
Cowboys: Dallas lost two defensive starters. Linebacker Leighton Vander-Esch (neck) was ruled out at halftime, and defensive tackle Dorance Armstrong (knee) followed him to the locker room in the second half.
Jaguars: Jacksonville lost both starting offensive tackles, left tackle Cam Robinson (right knee) and right tackle Jawaan Taylor (hamstring). Taylor returned late. … Defensive tackle Foley Fatukasi (ankle) left the game early and never returned.
Cowboys star Ezekiel Elliott ran for 58 yards and a score, joining Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith as the only backs in franchise history with rushing touchdowns in seven straight games. Smith holds the team mark with at least one in each of the final 14 games of the 1995 season.
COWBOYS GET HELP
Cowboys offensive tackle Tyron Smith, one of the best blockers in franchise history, made his season debut in Jacksonville. The eight-time Pro Bowl left tackle started on the opposite side in place of injured Terence Steele, who tore knee ligaments last week against Houston. Smith played well despite rotating series with 40-year-old Jason Peters.
Lawrence’s streak of consecutive passes without an interception ended at 204. Cowboys rookie DaRon Bland picked off Lawrence’s pass intended for Kirk in the third quarter. Lawrence was closing in on the franchise record (209) set by David Garrard in 2007.
ANOTHER SLOW START
The Jaguars dug themselves an early hole for the sixth consecutive game. They trailed Dallas 14-0 in the second quarter. They also trailed Tennessee 14-7, Detroit 20-3, Baltimore 6-0, Kansas City 20-0 and Las Vegas 17-0. They rallied to win four of those.
”When you win games like this, it just builds up so must trust in your group,” Lawrence said. ”We even said it on the sideline, `We’ve been here before.”’
The Cowboys host Philadelphia on Saturday, a game that could have seeding implications for the Eagles.
The Jaguars play at the New York Jets on Thursday night. It’s Jacksonville’s only prime-time game this season.
AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl and https://twitter.com/AP-NFL