Sunday was different than the last 17 game days before the Jacksonville Jaguars, but not nearly different enough.
In the span of just a few minutes in real-time, the Jaguars and a rowdy TIAA Bank Field crowd saw a nine-point lead evaporate before their eyes, leading to a 31-19 defeat to the Arizona Cardinals that saw the Jaguars drop to 0-3.
The loss is Jacksonville's 18th loss in a row, with their last win coming in Week 1 of the 2020 season. And while they have suffered some heartbreaking losses in that span, Sunday's loss to Arizona may just take the cake because, for a few fleeting moments, it looked as if the Jaguars had finally broken the rock.
But they hadn't. Instead, the rock broke them for the 18th game day in a row, with the Jaguars having nobody to blame but themselves for a self-inflicted loss.
The Jaguars started the game slowly, putting up a goose egg on the scoreboard as the first three drives of the game all ended in a punt. The Jaguars didn't record a first-down until their third drive of the game, which underscores their early offensive struggles,
The Cardinals, meanwhile, drew first blood. After a Rondale Moore punt return went to the Cardinals 44-yard line and a 28-yard Christian Kirk catch put the Cardinals into Jaguars' territory, Kyler Murray took a naked bootleg into the end-zone for an untouched one-yard touchdown, giving the Cardinals a 7-0 lead.
The Jaguars' defense held tough for much of the first half following Murray's score, though. The Jaguars held Murray and the Cardinals' offense to 0-for-4 on 3rd down through the first two quarters and forced the Cardinals to punt on every first-half offensive possession but their touchdown drive.
Trevor Lawrence and Jacksonville's offense did their part to flip the script following Murray's touchdown run ... or at least they tried to. Just a few possessions later, the Jaguars began to pick up first-down after first-down, with a 20-yard Laviska Shenault catch putting the Jaguars into Cardinals' territory -- just the Jaguars' second red-zone trip of the year.
But on third-down, Lawrence attempted to fit a potential first-down pass into tight end Jacob Hollister's hands. Hollister would bobble the catch, leading to a drop and then a Byron Murphy interception. The Jaguars got close to tying the game, but another self-inflicted mistake doomed their chances. That would sum up the day for the Jaguars' home loss.
The Jaguars fought and scratched and clawed their way back into the game, largely due to a series of steller third-down stops. A nine-play, 79-yard drive in a two-minute situation helped the Jaguars tie the game up, with Lawrence finishing the drive with a perfectly-placed 12-yard touchdown pass to DJ Chark after Lawrence scanned the field and came off his first two targets.
And then, with the game at 7-7, things got weird. Really weird.
The Cardinals had just 0:21 left in the first half when they got the ball following Chark's touchdown, but Kliff Kingsbury put his foot on the pedal and didn't let up. The Cardinals attempted a hurry-up drive to move the ball downfield, eventually getting it midfield before asking Matt Prater to hit a 68-yard field goal.
Prater, of course, was short on the field goal, leading to Jamal Agnew doing what he did best.
Agnew, who just last week returned a kickoff return for a touchdown, scored his second return touchdown in as many weeks on Sunday, fielding Prater's miss and then weaving his way in and out of traffic on his way to an NFL-record 109-yard return touchdown.
It was the spark the Jaguars needed, until it wasn't. With the euphoric feelings still fresh after the play, Josh Lambo recorded his first of two missed PATs, giving the Jaguars only a 13-7 lead at halftime.
Positive momentum kept going the Jaguars' way, too, to start the second-half. With the Cardinals driving, third-year safety Andrew Wingard intercepted Murray to give the Jaguars their first defensive turnover of the year.
But following the potentially game-changing pick, the Jaguars went three-and-out, picking up just six yards in their attempt to widen their lead. The Cardinals got the ball back and marched down the field for a 68-yard scoring drive, ending in a Prater field goal to make it 13-10.
The Jaguars and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell then attempted to do what fans have been calling for them to do all season: feed James Robinson. The Jaguars conducted an eight-play, 75-yard touchdown drive that featured eight runs and zero passes, with six of those runs and 62 of those yards going to Robinson.
Robinson would put the exclamation mark on the drive with his first touchdown of the year, a four-yard plunge up the middle to give the Jaguars a nine-point lead. It was only nine points instead of 10, too, due to Lambo's second missed extra point attempt.
For Robinson, it was by far his biggest game of the year. The second-year running back carried the ball 15 times for 88 yards after getting 16 carries through the first two games, while also catching six passes for 46 yards.
From there, though, it was all Cardinals, with the Jaguars committing three turnovers (all from Lawrence) over the rest of the course of the game. The Cardinals took away the Jaguars' positive momentum with an easy five-play, 75-yard scoring drive that ended with a James Conner four-yard score to make it a two-point game.
On the next offensive play, Lawrence and the Jaguars effectively lost the game. Bevell called for a flea-flicker to push the ball downfield to DJ Chark, but a missed block by Andrew Norwell led to Lawrence having to rush a throw with pressure in his face.
With Lawrence backpedaling, the rookie quarterback lofted a pass to Hollister, which is exactly what Byron Murphy was hoping would happen. Murphy broke on the ball with ease, intercepting Lawrence and returning it 29 yards for a touchdown, taking all air out of the stadium and from the Jaguars' sideline.
From there, the game was over. Conner would find the end zone one more time, leading to a 12-point gap for the Jaguars that they simply couldn't catch up to. And with that, the Jaguars, once again, defeated themselves.
Lawrence finished the game with two interceptions and two fumbles, giving him nine turnovers through his first three games. The first fumble came at the hands of James Robinson when the running back's helmet hit the ball coming out of Lawrence's hand, while the second came on the final play of the game when the Jaguars were simply playing for pride.
Lawrence finished the game 22-of-34 (64.7%) for 2019 yards (6.4 yards per attempt), one touchdown, two interceptions, and two fumbles. It was a better game for Lawrence, but not good enough to find his first NFL victory.
The Jaguars will next play the Cincinnati Bengals on Thursday Night Football.