LONDON (AP)Trevor Lawrence’s goal-line interception ended a promising drive.
His next pick ended the game.
Lawrence has made strides in his second year, but the rookie mistakes linger.
The Jacksonville quarterback’s miscues were costly in the Jaguars’ 21-17 loss to the Denver Broncos at Wembley Stadium on Sunday.
”Being the quarterback and having and opportunity to go win the game and you don’t get it done, that’s really disappointing and frustrating,” Jacksonville’s No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 draft said after going 18 for 31 for 133 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions.
”I’ve got to look in the mirror. I’ve got to play better.”
The Jags (2-6) lost their fifth consecutive game and will fly back to Jacksonville knowing they had all the momentum in the first half.
Denver’s offense was struggling early when quarterback Russell Wilson was picked off by cornerback Tyson Campbell at the Broncos 37-yard line. Lawrence then found Evan Engram for a 22-yard scoring pass for a 7-0 lead.
The Broncos went three-and-out and Lawrence led the Jags from their 19 down to the Denver 1, aided by several Denver penalties.
But on first-and-goal, Lawrence rolled right looking for receiver Christian Kirk, who was covered. So Lawrence tried to squeeze a pass to Marvin Jones. Broncos safety Justin Simmons had been tracking Lawrence along the goal line and reached up for the interception.
”Those are just points you’re taking right off the board,” Lawrence said.
Jags coach Doug Pederson defended the play call – despite running back Travis Etienne eating up yardage en route to a career day of 156 rushing yards and a touchdown.
”It’s a relatively safe play. If it’s not there, and Trevor knows this, just throw the ball (away), just sail the ball and you’ve got two to three more downs to do whatever you want to do there,” Pederson said.
Etienne scored on a 1-yard plunge to give Jacksonville a 17-14 lead with 3:54 to play. The Broncos responded with Latavius Murray’s touchdown with 1:43 remaining.
But Lawrence threw an interception to K’Waun Williams at the Jacksonville 35.
The five-game losing streak matches the longest skid of Pederson’s coaching career; the Eagles lost five in a row in 2016, Pederson’s first year in Philadelphia.
”We’ve got to be smart, both coaches and players collectively, in those situations,” he said.
Up 10-7 and driving before halftime, Lawrence also took the Jags well out of field-goal range when he was penalized for intentional grounding.
The red zone struggles have been frustrating, Pederson said.
”It’s something that we as a staff we really have to take a look at and make sure that we’re putting our players in situations that they can be successful in. It’s got to be a collective effort – coaches, players,” he said.
Pederson said he has full faith in his second-year quarterback: ”I told him to keep his head up, stay confident.”
Lawrence is getting tired of the routine.
”We say the same thing every week. It’s tough,” he said. ”Obviously I’m pretty upset and frustrated and disappointed in myself in the way I finished the game. At the end we’ve got to find ways to rally and go make the play.”
Lawrence slipped to 1-1 in London starts. The Jags beat the Miami Dolphins last year at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. The Jags have now lost three consecutive games at Wembley, with their previous victory here a 44-7 win over the Baltimore Ravens in 2017.
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