One half is in the books, and the Jacksonville Jaguars are two quarters closer to potential victory.
The Jaguars are trailing the Denver Broncos 10-7 at home after 30 exciting minutes of football. Each team has made their fair share of plays, and now the two are looking for ways to pull ahead following the half.
So, what did we make of the first half? What did the Jaguars do well, and where will they have to improve? We break it all down below.
Plays of the half
Trevor Lawrence's 25-yard touchdown pass to Marvin Jones Jr to cap off the best drive of the Jaguars' young season. Lawrence was fantastic to open the game, completing five of seven passes for 73 yards (10.4 yards per attempt), with the bulk of that production coming on third-down. This included his 3rd-and-13 dart to Jones in the right corner of the end zone, with Lawrence leading Jones perfectly into a touchdown catch.
Josh Allen's 16-yard sack on the Broncos' first drive of the game was massive as well. The Broncos were marching up and down the field on the Jaguars' toothless defense, picking up first downs with ease through the air and the ground. But on first-down, Allen was able to beat the left tackle on a play-action pass and bring Teddy Bridgewater down for a 16-yard gain. The Broncos went from first-down on the Jaguars' 10-yard line to second-and-forever, eventually forcing Denver into a field goal instead of a chance to score a touchdown.
Where are the Jaguars winning?
With Lawrence's arm. Lawrence did little wrong in the first-half, even if the scoreboard hardly reflects that. And even on Lawrence's incompletions, he was giving the Jaguars a chance. He throw and accurate pass deep to Laquon Treadwell on the first drive that Treadwell failed to bring in, while his third-down incompletion to Laviska Shenault on the second drive was a good throw in a tight, tight window of traffic. It was a dangerous throw, but Lawrence gave Shenault a chance to bring it in. Lawrence has been the best player on the field today, which says a lot considering he is sharing the field with a Hall of Famer in Von Miller. If the Jaguars are going to win, they will have to keep trying to set Lawrence up for success, while the skill players need to continue coming through for him on those big downfield shots.
Where are the Jaguars losing?
The defense needs more impact plays. Allen's sack was a tremendous play in a big moment, but the Jaguars need more than that. They are still allowing too many open receivers, especially on money downs. The Jaguars should have been flagged for pass interference on their third-down red-zone stop in the second-quarter, while Teddy Bridgewater also could have hit an eas checkdown for a first-down. The Jaguars have gotten lucky and a few breaks have gone their way, but the defense has been far from impressive. More pressures, tackles for loss, and hands on the ball in the pass game are going to be imperative. The offense also completely imploded following the first-drive touchdown, with penalties and drops both stunting Lawrence's ability to pick up first-downs.
- Continue to get strong play from the tackles. Jawaan Taylor specifically had a strong first half, allowing one pressure against Von Miller. Taylor held his own in a tough, tough matchup, so him and Cam Robinson continuing to give Lawrence a chance.
- Be better on special teams. Josh Lambo's 52-yard missed field goal wasn't even close, taking away a chance for the Jaguars to go up 10-7 with close to 8:00 left in the half. Jamal Agnew also didn't have a good half as a returner, taking the opening kickoff to only the Jaguars' 17-yard line. Lambo then missed a 48-yard field goal wide left with 0:20 left that he should have made.
- Convert more big plays. Shaq Griffin nearly intercepted Bridgewater on the drive following the missed goal, but it just barely bounced off his fingertips. Teams on 16-game losing streaks need to convert those plays if they hope to finally find a win.