There's been a lot of chatter on Twitter dot com about Trevor Lawrence's recent "struggles," and some fans are even suggesting the number one overall pick should be put on the shelf for the remainder of 2021.
With that in mind, I decided to break down Trevor Lawrence's most recent performance, a 23-17 loss to the Colts, a team with a strong defense and one of the best rushing attacks in the game.
I'm going to break down every drive here. Buckle up, Duval!
The Jaguars started the game out on defense, and after Jonathan Taylor gashed them a couple of times, the Big Cats stood tall and forced a field goal.
Trevor and the offense got the ball down 3-0. A false start from Chris Manhertz puts the Jags behind the chains to start. After two straight runs, the Jaguars are looking at third and nine. Lawrence is in the gun, takes a three-step drop, and gets the ball out with pressure in his face. He was looking for Dan Arnold on a 10-yard out, but Arnold failed to turn and locate the ball. It didn't look like the most accurate throw, but Arnold should have at least located the ball and gotten a hand on it, if not come down with the catch. Giving Trevor his first drop back of the game on third and long is far from ideal.
The next time Trevor got the ball, the Jags were already down 10-0 thanks to a blocked punt touchdown. Backed up inside his own ten-yard line thanks to a holding call on the kick return, the Jags start out with a two-yard run and a check down for no gain. It's third and long again. With four wide, Trevor takes the snap from the gun and delivers a perfect pass down the left side to a streaking Jamal Agnew. Agnew appeared to secure the ball only for it to pop out at the last moment. A big-time throw by Lawrence goes down as another incompletion. Punt.
And on the Jaguars' third offensive drive, they're already down 17-0. Putting Trevor Lawrence in a position to succeed? I think not. Darrell Bevell starts the drive off with a PA boot to the right side. A fine play call in theory, but the route combinations got jumbled underneath, and Trevor took a shot down the sideline that should have been intercepted. Ideally, Chris Manhertz and Laviska Shenault aren't stepping on each other's toes here, and Lawrence checks it down, throws it away, or scrambles for a couple yards. Lawrence made a poor decision, but the moving parts around him didn't help. After another run for no-gain, Lawrence drops back for another third and long, but this time he hits Marvin Jones past the sticks for a first down. Jones found the tiniest crease in the zone and Lawrence hit him on target and on time. On the next play, Jamal Agnew races past the entire defense for a 66-yard run out of the gun. Of course, Matthew Wright missed the PAT, and the Jaguars still trailed 17-6.
The Jaguars' defense held strong on the Colts' next drive, giving Trevor and the offense excellent starting field position at their own 38. Lawrence took the first down snap from under center and looked for Viska on a deep out. The only problem was Shenault never looked for the ball. Another miscommunication, another missed opportunity. A short run gives Trevor a 3rd and eight to deal with. He takes the snap out of the gun, two crossers going from right to left fail to get open, and Trevor has to force a ball to the right side in tight coverage. Nowhere to go with the ball. Punt.
After another defensive stand, Lawrence and the Jags get the ball back at their own 37. A jet sweep to Agnew and a shotgun carry from Robinson and the Jaguars are moving. Sike! Holding on Chris Manhertz, his second penalty of the game. On 2nd and 15, Lawrence uses his legs to pick up 13 yards in the open field. On 3rd and three, the play is basically just get to sticks and sit; of course, with this group of receivers, no one gets open, and Trevor's pass to Marvin Jones gets broken up. Had Lawrence worked through his progression quicker, he may have had Marvin. Still, this was an uninspiring play call when you have a group of receivers that don't separate. Punt.
After yet another defensive stand, Lawrence takes over at his own 43. He takes a three-step drop from the gun, surveys the field, finds nothing and takes off for a four-yard gain. Third and one? A Carlos Hyde run from the gun that is stuffed in the backfield. This is a situation where there needs to be a check at the line. The Colts are showing run blitz, and the Jags don't have the numbers to pick up the extra defenders. Punt.
The Colts drove the ball down the field and got three points from it, giving them a 20-6 lead. Trevor and the Jags' offense get the ball back with 1:43 left in the first half. Time for some magic? Starting at their 25 after a touchback, Lawrence scrambles for eight yards on first down. Trevor tosses the ball a bit too wide for Dan Arnold on his next drop back. He stepped into the throw and wasn't facing pressure; this one just got away from him. On third and two, Trevor launches another shot for Agnew on a nine route; Agnew dives for the ball, but it bounces off his hands, and the Jaguars are yet again forced to punt. This one wasn't on the receiver or the QB. There wasn't anywhere else for Trevor to go with the ball, and he threw a pretty damn good nine route; Agnew just couldn't quite secure it on the extension. You can live with this one from both parties.
The Big Cats' defense forces a quick punt, giving the ball back at their own 30 with 36 seconds left. On his first drop back, Trevor avoids a sack and sails the ball out of bounds in the direction of Carlos Hyde. The pocket collapsed, and no one got open. On second and ten, Lawrence took the snap from the gun, manipulated the pocket, and eventually escaped to the right, and then layered a perfect 20-yard shot to Dan Arnold on the run. First down, Jaguars! At the Colts' 46 with 20 seconds left, Lawrence avoids pressure and scampers for nine yards and wisely gets out of bounds with 13 ticks left. Attempting to get into field goal range, Lawrence targets Agnew on a quick slant, but Agnew is unable to secure the on-target pass. Third and two, Lawrence misfires for Shenault short, and the Jaguars are forced to kick the field goal from 56 yards out. Wright drilled it, and the Jaguars went into the break down 20-9.
The Jaguars get the ball to start the second half and put together an inspiring drive. They start off with a James Robinson run that moves the chains and another that gets five more. Marvin Jones then draws a defensive pass interference deep down the middle to keep the chains moving. Then Agnew gets the ball on a jet sweep for nine more yards. J-Rob takes care of the rest, gets 14 yards and another Jaguars' first down inside the Colts' 35. We get an impressive rollout pass to Dan Arnold, who picks up a big chunk of yards, but a crack-back call on Chris Manhertz puts the Jaguars behind the chains at first and 20. Manhertz's third penalty of the game. A screen to Robinson gets 10 yards back, and then on second and 20, Trevor delivered an impressive shot down the right side to Marvin Jones, who failed to extend for the ball. It certainly looked catchable from my perch. On third and ten, Trevor targeted Laviska, who failed to bring in the pass despite getting both hands on it. The Colts' defender out-physicaled the Jaguars' most physical receiver. Matt Wright missed the ensuing field goal try wide right.
Another Colts' drive, another defensive stand. The Jags get the ball back, and Trevor immediately gets to work, hitting Viska over the middle twice and picking up a quick first down. Of course, Dan Arnold picks up a false start and puts the offensive behind the chains at first and 15. On the next play, Arnold drops the ball, leading to second and 15. Then we get a holding call on Jawaan Taylor, making it second and 25. Lawrence keeps his composure and hits Arnold in the flat for 13 and then on third and long fires a missile on a post to Laquon Treadwell. First down, Jaguars! The offensive line collapsed on the next drop back, giving up a six-yard sack. Lawrence takes a deep shot to Viska on a nine-route on the following play, but the ball flys right through Viska's hands, incomplete. On third and 16, the Jaguars run a screen to Carlos Hyde of all people. You know the drill. Punt.
The Jaguars' defense holds one more time. Still down 20-9, now in the fourth quarter, Trevor Lawrence and the Jaguars' offense marches the ball down the field. On the first play of the drive, James Robinson drops the ball. He then gets stuffed at the line. But on third and long, Trevor dropped a dime on a back shoulder to Marvin Jones for the first down. After a screen to Viska and a chunk run from James Robinson, the Jaguars are deep in Colts territory. After a short run from J-Rob, Trevor takes the snap on second and eight, but with no one open, he traverses the field and takes a four-yard sack. But on third and long, Trevor delivered again, this time with an underneath slant to Dan Arnold that picked up the first down inside the five. James Robinson finished the drive with two runs. Down 20-15, the Jaguars wisely went for two, and Trevor shovels it to Dan Arnold underneath for the easy conversion.
Despite a handful of drops, some questionable effort by receivers, and some untimely penalties, Trevor Lawrence still led the Jaguars back from a 17-point deficit to get within striking distance in the fourth quarter. Yeah, the kid is reallllllly struggling.
You'll never guess what happens next: another Jaguars' defensive stand! The Jaguars take over on their own 22. On first down, Trevor keeps it for one yard. On the second, he misses Marvin Jones on a back shoulder that didn't quite have enough on it. On third down, Trevor delivers a perfect pass over the middle with pressure in his face, but Jamal Agnew drops it. Punt.
The Colts' offense manages three points on their next drive, extending their lead to 23-17. The Jaguars get the ball back 2:17 left in the game, needing a touchdown and extra point to win it.
On Trevor's first drop back of the final drive, the Colts get pressure, and Trevor is forced to get rid of the ball as he's getting crunched, incomplete. The rookie remains calm and gets the ball to Dan Arnold over the middle for nine yards. On third and short, James Robinson gets the job done on the ground. After two dump-offs to J-Rob that total 23 yards, the Big Cats are in Colts territory. But on the final offensive snap of the game for Trevor, the pocket collapses, and he tried to take off, but a slew of Colts defenders maul him and strip the ball. Game.
Trevor certainly erred on the final offensive play of the game, but it's hard to blame him. The heat was on, and he tried to make a play. Perhaps he could have gotten the ball out to Marvin Jones, but coverages was still pretty tight.
But to look at this game and come away with a "Trevor isn't living up to the hype" take is laughable. With six offensive penalties, six drops, and more than a handful of dropbacks where no one created any separation, Trevor Lawrence led the Jaguars back from a 17-point deficit and almost won them the game on the final drive. Despite the struggles of many around him, Trevor Lawrence continues to display poise and confidence. He isn't backing down. There are undoubtedly areas of his game that Trevor can improve. But the first overall pick is playing at a much higher level than most rookie quarterbacks have over the last 50 years, in spite of the lack of support around him from his receivers and play-caller.
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