PerspectivesCole Pepper Jacksonville Today Contributor
Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16), left, reacts after an NFL football game between Jacksonville Jaguars and Buffalo Bills at the Tottenham Hotspur stadium in London, Sunday, Oct. 8, 2023. The Jaguars won the match 25-20. (AP Photo/Ian Walton)

SPORTS | Jaguars sweep London trip with thriller over Buffalo

Published on October 8, 2023 at 4:34 pm
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There was no lack of drama. 

No lack of penalties or injuries or missed opportunities. 

But it was a win.

The Jaguars rode a rollercoaster performance to a London sweep, beating the Buffalo Bills 25-20 at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sunday.

While the Jaguars lacked style points for much of the game, especially on offense, the result produced some major positives for the Jaguars’ path in the season.

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The offensive line struggled for most of the game, but in the fourth quarter, they were able to create some opportunities for Travis Etienne to run the ball. Etienne finished with 136 yards rushing and two touchdowns.

Despite spotty pass protection, Trevor Lawrence guided the Jaguars to 10 third-down conversions in 18 chances, an area of struggle this season. Lawrence finished the game completing 25 of 37 passes for 315 yards and a touchdown.

Calvin Ridley caught seven passes for 122 yards, including three third-down conversions.

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The Jaguars’ offense scored three touchdowns, the most since a four-touchdown performance in the season opener against the Indianapolis Colts.

The defense continued to play well, allowing only two touchdowns to the league’s second-highest-scoring team.

So where does the performance leave the Jaguars?

With a record of 3-2 on the season and a win over one of the preseason AFC favorites, the Jaguars can return home to Jacksonville with the mindset of a contender. Two weeks ago, there were major questions after the Jaguars lost to the Houston Texans.

There are still areas of concern.

Cam Robinson returned to the lineup at left tackle and didn’t play well. Walker Little, who had been starting at left tackle, opened the game at left guard but left after an injury. His status will be updated this week. Robinson also left the game late with an injury.

And the biggest area of weakness on the team continues to be the offensive line.

Next Sunday, the Jaguars will host the Colts at home. Then it’s road games in New Orleans and Pittsburgh. All of those games are winnable. If the Jaguars can pull it off, suddenly they are going to have the look of an AFC title contender at the bye week. But that’s looking a long way down the road.

Sunday’s win also will affect how the Jaguars look at their future trips to London. Last week, owner Shad Khan said the Jaguars were examining the possibility of playing multiple games in London in the future. It’s unclear whether that would be two “home” games or one home and one road game, as was the case this year.

Depending on the schedule for the Jaguars stadium renovations, multiple home games could be played in London.

But back to this year. The Jaguars can breathe a little easier knowing that they overcame some serious obstacles against the Bills, many of them self-inflicted.

The Jaguars are not in postseason form yet, but their record is about what most predicted it would be at this point in the season. 

Lead photo: Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence Tottenham Hotspur stadium in London, on Oct. 8, 2023. | AP Photo/Ian Walton

author image Jacksonville Today Contributor

Cole Pepper has covered sports in Jacksonville since 1996, most recently for News4Jax. He is currently broadcast director for Sporting Club Jacksonville and has called play-by-play for a number of teams, including the Suns, Tomcats, Jacksonville University, Sharks and The Bolles School football. He also served as the studio host for the Jaguars Radio Network.

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