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What we learned from the Jaguars’ win over the Jets on Thursday night

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  1. The first-place finishers control their fate in the play-off. By defeating the Jets, the Jaguars would finish first and take the No. 4 seed into the AFC Playoffs photo if the Titans (with Malik Willis at QB) loses to the Texans on Saturday. In their Week 11 bye, the Jaguars were 3-7 — and only one team, the 2020 Washington FC, has started with that record and made the playoffs. The straw isn’t in the fold yet, of course, and the Jaguars still have to face the Titans in Week 18. But all momentum is building towards a happy ending to the season. It’s been said a million times, but Doug Pederson was the perfect antidote to reseeding the scorched earth left by Urban Meyer last season. If Pederson isn’t one of the top three nominees for the Associated Press NFL Coach of the Year, what are we going to do with that award? Trevor Lawrence He’s looked mostly great this season, apart from a few problems (including one early Thursday), especially when you compare him to the quarterback he was drafted just after in 2021.
  2. Zack Wilson Jets fans were booed mercilessly by the coaches. The Jets coaches had seen enough, and with just over three minutes remaining in the third quarter, they pulled the plug on Zach Wilson. No, they didn’t sit on Wilson Mike White; He’s in pain. And not for Joe Flaco. But for the CFL and NFL preseason legend Chris Striveler. The Jets have already started Streveler running Thursday — at wide receiver — in an unorthodox set of personnel and have a bunch of plays before taking over fully. Wilson was the starting quarterback, but he couldn’t even get through a single offensive streak before Jets fans booed him mercilessly. Each pass is incomplete. every penalty. every kick. They’ve been directed at the Jets offense as a whole in some cases, but the taunting felt personally directed at Wilson – so much so that you wonder if the guy will take another shot this season. (Or ever?) As soon as the coaches made the switch, Jets fans loudly cheered Strieveler as well as booed Wilson. This is a great situation that will almost certainly seep into the off-season with Wilson’s future with the club suddenly cloudy.
  3. Evan Ingram He enjoys his best game in the stadium he once called home. As a first-round pick for the New York Giants in the 2017 NFL Draft, Ingram has been described as an overly athletic New Era end. It didn’t work out that way for the Giants, as Engram was plagued by dropped passes, especially in his last two seasons there. Jaguars grabbed him on a one-year deal, and he did just that. The Drips haven’t completely gone away, but Engram has been a big weapon for Lawrence lately, catching 26 passes for 337 yards and three touchdowns in the past three games. He’s now reached career-highs in catches and receiving yardage, and his 113-yard game against the Jets was his highest total ever at MetLife Stadium — the place he called home for five years and 32 games (prior to Thursday).
  4. The Jets’ QB position puts more pressure on Robert Saleh. Saleh entered the season with some pressure to lead after a 4-13 mark in Year 1, and he answered his critics during the Jets’ 7-4 start. Deftly navigating tough injuries and dealing with Wilson’s struggles made this mark all the more impressive. But the Jets have now lost four straight points, as the offense hit a slide and the impressive defense fell a notch or two. It’s not like the Jets didn’t have hiccups on both sides of the ball before the losing streak, but they were finding ways to win. right Now? Saleh’s hopes almost certainly rest on the shoulders of White, who was inactive on Thursday and has yet to be cleared of contact after taking several big shots when he took charge of Wilson. Streveler, who gave the Jets a short shot in the arm on Thursday, may also be in the mix. But this could be the flashpoint as Saleh’s planes could move in both directions, up or down, from now on. How he handles Wilson, White and this team in general this season – even if the playoffs feel like a pipe dream – could determine whether Saleh is able to sustain success. He can’t bear to miss the locker room and see his own body language Garrett Wilson And others while Zach Wilson struggles again may be an indication of who the other Jets players can support more at quarterback.
  5. Trevor Lawrence’s running ability brought the win. It was a skill that was sometimes overlooked during Lawrence’s stellar college career, but a kid can move. He’s an agile runner for someone who’s 6-foot-6, and several times on Thursday he used his legs off the script to turn sacks into positive yards and punish the Jets’ slightly undisciplined defense. Lawrence ran seven times for 51 yards and a fourth down TD sneak to give the Jaguars the lead well early in the second quarter. The 51 yards were the second-highest total for Lawrence in his season (and career). Over his past seven games, he’s rushed 29 times for 191 yards and two scores, adding another dimension to an already diverse and dangerous offense. The Jets have been surprised time and time again as Lawrence gets going, and it wouldn’t be at all shocking to see Pederson running back a few more opportunities for his quarterback in upcoming games.

Next-gen stats for the game: On the opening drive, Jets defensive lineman Quinnen Williams forced his third turnover by pressing (tied for fourth in the NFL) on a bar sack from Trevor Lawrence. Williams leads all defensive tackles with a pressure rate of 14.7% this season (at least 200 rushes).

NFL Research: On Thursday, Travis Etienne became the fifth player in Jaguars franchise history to reach 1,000 yards rushing for a single season. The others: Fred Taylor, Maurice Jones-Drew, Leonard Fournette and James Robinson, whom the Jaguars traded to the Jets earlier this season (Robinson was inactive Thursday).

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