Five takeaways as Jacksonville Jaguars fail to hold lead in 31-19 loss to Arizona Cardinals

John Reid
Florida Times-Union

The Jaguars needed a breakthrough — a play to seize the momentum to help get them on track against the Arizona Cardinals

Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury did plenty to help when he put his field goal kicker, Matt Prater, onto the field to attempt a 68-yard field goal with two seconds remaining before halftime. Prater's field goal attempt was well short, caught by Jamal Agnew before he took off downfield.

Following a wedge of blockers, Agnew broke through four tackles on his way to the end zone for an electrifying 109-yard return for a touchdown that tied for the longest TD in NFL history.

Despite it all, it was still wasn't enough for the Jaguars to end their slide: Whatever momentum they had was lost after halftime when the Cardinals scored 21 unanswered points to beat the Jaguars 31-19 and drop them to 0-3 for the season. Jacksonville's losing streak extended to 18 consecutive games since last season. The Cardinals improved to 3-0.

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Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (10) catches a pass in front of Jacksonville Jaguars defensive back Rayshawn Jenkins (2) in the second quarter at TIAA Bank Field.

Defense started strong but couldn't finish

The Jaguars defense met the challenge, getting off the field on third down and not getting beat for deep passes during the first three quarters. The Jaguars forced the Cardinals to go empty on their first five third-down conversions. Arizona came in averaging 36 points a game, but the Jaguars held them to seven points in the first half. But the lid came off in the third quarter when Jacksonville couldn't hold a 19-10 lead.   

Still starting:Jaguars safety Andrew Wingard driven by overcoming odds

Jaguars stick with James Robinson, running game

Robinson had more carries by the third quarter than he had in the entire game last week against Denver when he was limited to 11 carries for 47 yards. Despite having only 30 yards rushing at halftime, the Jaguars stuck with the ground game instead of abandoning it like they did in the previous two games. On the Jaguars'  third-quarter scoring drive, Robinson had six carries for 62 yards. He put the Jaguars ahead 19-10 on his 4-yard touchdown run.      

Running hard:James Robinson gets Jaguars running game into rhythm with strong effort vs. Cardinals

Josh Lambo remains in slump

Urban Meyer did not bring a kicker to challenge Josh Lambo last week after he missed field goal attempts of 48 and 52 yards. Lambo didn't attempt a field goal Sunday, but he missed two critical PAT kicks Sunday. 

Still struggling:Jaguars kicker Josh Lambo misses two extra points against Cardinals

Bad play call by Darrell Bevell

Late in the third quarter, the Jaguars had a 19-17 by leaning on James Robinson and Carlos Hyde. But Jaguars offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell made a bad play call on a second-and-6 play deep in their territory. Bevell gambled, calling an ill-advised flea-flicker play. Cornerback Bryon Murphy easily read the play Lawrence's pass intended for tight end Jacob Hollister that sailed short. Murphy's Pick-6 helped put the Cardinals ahead 24-19. Murphy returned the interception 29 yards down the left sideline for the touchdown that the Jaguars never recovered from that point on in the game.

Watch the highlights:See all the big plays from Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Arizona Cardinals

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Lawrence unable to avoid 4 turnovers

Lawrence was more effective Sunday than last week when he was held to 45 yards passing after the Jaguars opening drive after completing 5 of 7 for 73 yards. Early on, Lawrence attacked the Cardinals with intermediate completions instead of deep passes. However, he still couldn't avoid critical turnovers. He was intercepted twice and lost two fumbles. After three games, Lawrence has thrown seven interceptions.