Jaguars QB Trevor Lawrence throws for two touchdowns in 34-14 preseason victory vs. Cowboys
Quarterback Trevor Lawrence was sharp and poised Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys, looking like the generational talent that led to the Jaguars selecting him as the No. 1 overall pick in April.
Lawrence led the Jaguars to touchdowns on two of their first three drives during their 34-14 victory in the preseason finale at Cowboys Stadium.
Lawrence opened the game, completing his first six passes, including an 18-yard touchdown toss to wide receiver Pharoh Cooper in the corner of the end zone.
Lawrence finished completing 11-of-12 passes for 139 yards and two touchdowns for a 154 passer rating. Lawrence's second touchdown pass of the day came on a 4-yard strike in the corner of the left end to wide receiver Laviska Shenault early in the second quarter.
With a 14-0 lead, Lawrence gave way to backup quarterback C.J. Beathard early in the second quarter. Beathard is now the team's top backup quarterback with the Jaguars trading Gardner Minshew to the Philadelphia Eagles Saturday.
On his final drive of the game, Lawrence led the Jaguars' six-play, 67-yard march that started with a screen pass to Shenault that went for 20 yards. On the play, Shenault broke a tackle and then carried Cowboys cornerback Nahshon Wright about five yards before he finally went down.
With the Jaguars' opener against the Houston Texans two weeks away, Lawrence needed a performance like Sunday's. The Jaguars' first-team offense had been stagnant during the first two preseason games, having only one scoring drive — a 34-yard field goal by Josh Lambo.
In last week's 23-21 loss to the Saints, the pocket collapsed on Lawrence too quickly, and their first four drives all ended in punts. Against the Browns in the preseason opener, Lawrence was sacked twice and held the ball too long on a few plays.
Even playing behind an offensive line Sunday having four of the five starters out, Lawrence still looked decisive in finding open receivers, He released the ball quickly and looked to be in command from the start.
The Cowboys sat most of their starters. The Jaguars played most of the starters except wide receivers Marvin Jones Jr. (AC sprain), DJ Chark (finger), outside linebacker Josh Allen (reserve, COVID list), offensive guards Andrew Norwell (elbow) and A.J. Cann (reserve, COVID list) center Brandon Linder (knee) and offensive tackle Cam Robinson (ankle).
Meyer said at halftime he considered sitting out Lawrence because of having only one available starter, Jawaan Taylor, on the offensive line but he decided against it because he needed to have a solid performance in the final tuneup game. Lawrence closed out the preseason, completing 31 of 44 for 323 yards.
Locked in one of the Jaguars' toughest position battles, wide receiver Jeff Cotton Jr., needed to stand out Sunday. With final roster cuts looming Tuesday, Cotton had one last chance to prove he is worth keeping around for the season.
He did what he could, catching three passes on four targets for 66 yards. He made a backward falling catch on the edge of the end zone in the first half that was initially called a touchdown. But the play was overturned because Cotton bobbled the ball before he gained possession after he had gone out of bounds.
Chark, Jones, Shenault, and Jamal Agnew are locks to make the 53-man roster. However, if the Jaguars keep six receivers, Dorsett, Laquon Treadwell, Collin Johnson, and Jalen Camp, Tavon Austin, and Cotton are vying for the final two spots. Treadwell caught an 11-yard touchdown pass from reserve quarterback Jake Luton in the third quarter.
Josh Lambo had struggled to make field goals in practice and missed a 43-yard attempt last week against the Saints. He didn't miss Sunday, making field goals for 45 and 34 yards against the Cowboys. Lambo also made all four point-after-touchdown kicks.