It was a rough night for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
After 12 years away from Monday Night Football, the Jaguars’ big party in the national spotlight was instead defined by devastating injuries and one of the team’s worst defensive efforts in recent memory.
By the time the Cincinnati Bengals hit a field goal in overtime to win 34-31, the Jaguars had allowed 491 yards of total offense to a team that recently lost Joe Burrow for the year.
Even worse was an avalanche of injuries, which included an ankle issue for Trevor Lawrence that looked devastating. While the initial diagnosis of a sprain is relatively positive, it’d be shocking if the third-year quarterback didn’t miss time.
So who’s to blame for the awful night at EverBank Stadium? And who stood out most, despite the final score? Here are some studs and duds in the Week 13 loss:
Dud: Jaguars injury luck
The worst case scenario came true for the Jaguars on Monday night: Trevor Lawrence got injured.
While the severity of the injury remains to be seen (initial updates have been relatively positive), any time without Lawrence is not good.
It wasn’t just Lawrence, either. Christian Kirk, Andre Cisco, Walker Little, Tre Herndon, and Folorunso Fatukasi all left with game with injuries too. While Cisco didn’t take long to come back into the game, none of the other players did.
Dud: CB Tyson Campbell
THERE GOES JA'MARR
— NFL (@NFL) December 5, 2023
The first game back from a hamstring injury wasn’t a smooth one for Campbell. The third-year cornerback was beat on several plays, including a 76-yard Ja’Marr Chase touchdown where he was in pretty decent position but struggled to find the ball in the air. For the Jaguars’ sake, they better hope it just took a game for the rust to get shaken off.
Stud: WR Parker Washington
The rookie Parker Washington catches the TD off the deflection!
— NFL (@NFL) December 5, 2023
The rookie sixth-round pick has been in the lineup as a returner due to the absence of Jamal Agnew, but he was forced into action as a slot receiver when Christian Kirk went down early. Washington, who had zero career receptions before Monday, stepped up to the plate and caught all six of his targets, including an incredible deflection touchdown.
Dud: Defensive communication
Maybe it was the Bengals offense’s pre-snap motion and formations, maybe it was the loss of Tre Herndon, maybe it was the crowd noise. It could’ve been a combination of all three and more. Whatever it was, the Jaguars defense was discombobulated and lost for most of Monday night.
Veteran linebacker Foye Oluokun spent much of the game moving players to the right place pre-snap, but it clearly wasn’t enough to patch up some serious communication deficiencies.
Stud: QB Trevor Lawrence
Prior to his injury, Lawrence was stellar. The third-year quarterback completed 22 of his 29 passes for 258 yards with two passing touchdowns and a rushing touchdown. His 125.4 passer rating was his highest of the year.
Stud: TE Evan Engram
Engram’s long overdue first touchdown of the season finally came in the second quarter when he raced down the left sideline for a 22-yard score. He finished the night with nine receptions on as many targets for 82 yards.
Dud: K Brandon McManus
Yes, McManus made a 40-yard field goal to tie the game in the final 30 seconds and force overtime. But it could’ve been a game-winner if he hit a 48-yarder earlier in the fourth quarter. The Jaguars’ kicker has been reliable for most of the year, but a one-of-two night wasn’t good enough Monday.
Dud: WR Calvin Ridley
Ridley was targeted eight times Monday night and finished with the same amount of receiving yards as Christian Kirk, who played one snap. While a great play by Ridley was wiped out by a penalty, he also failed to take advantage of a wild throw from Trevor Lawrence that went right through his arms.
A catch would’ve put the Jaguars in field goal range before halftime. Instead they punted on the next play.
Stud: OLB Josh Allen
A monster season for Allen continued Monday with another 1.5 sacks added to his total, bringing him to 13.5 on the year. One more will tie Calais Campbell’s franchise record for sacks in a season.
Dud: CB Greg Junior
The Jaguars’ second-year cornerback has been putting together an impressive sophomore campaign, but looked lost much of the night. No player had to be put in the right spot by Foye Oluokun more than Junior.
Dud: Jaguars run defense
Doug Pederson summed it up after the game.
“That’s the strength of our defense, is stopping the run. We just didn’t do that. We failed there. … when the running game for them is going, you see what happens, right? That’s where the explosiveness comes from.”
The Bengals’ duo of running backs, Joe Mixon and Chase Brown, combined for 129 rushing yards and quarterback Jake Browning added another 22.