By Jeff Moeller
Trevor Lawrence couldn’t have had a worse game at a worse time.
Lawrence and his team were riding the crest of the wave with two impressive wins, the latter in an unexpected, dominant stand against the Chargers.
Against Philadelphia last week, Lawrence lost four fumbles and threw an interception. He did throw for a pair of scores with 174 yards. His receivers dropped five passes, and the league’s number one-ranked run defense allowed 210 yards rushing and four touchdowns.
As for Lawrence’s turnovers against Philadelphia, you have to turn back a few pages to find a similar situation. As for this year, it was an anomaly.
Heading into Sunday’s game against Houston at TIAA Field, Lawrence is at one of the pivotal points in his two-year career.
He needs to guide his team (2-2) to a victory – really a convincing one – over a winless team (0-3-1).
Good teams win the game they are supposed to win. If they’re facing a winless team, they need to put their foot on their necks.
The Jags are at that point.
They are 2-2 and can take a major step toward securing the AFC South. The Titans are 2-2 and the Colts are 2-2-1. The Jags have a victory over the Colts as the first step.
It’s easy to see Lawrence has progressed immensely since last season. He has completed 88 of 134 attempts for 934 yards with eight touchdowns and two interceptions.
Lawrence hasn’t thrown an interception and five touchdowns against AFC opponents this season, and he has completed 25 of 30 attempts for 235 yards with five touchdowns at TIAA Field.
He has looked like a seasoned veteran on his home turf this season, and he’ll need another sterling performance Sunday.
Houston quarterback Davis Mills entered the league the same time as Lawrence, and he has quietly settled into his own unlike Lawrence’s high profile. He completed 24 of 34 passes for 264 yards with a pair of touchdowns and interceptions last week against the Los Angeles Chargers.
The Texans fell into a 27-7 hole in Los Angeles last week, but they battled back to within 27-24 before the Chargers sealed it.
Texans’ running back Dameon Pierce will be a challenge for the Jags’ run defense. Pierce ran for 132 yards against Los Angeles, and he has rushed for 313 yards with better than a five-yard per carry clip.
Last season, Houston swept the Jags in the regular-season series, and they had five interceptions against Lawrence.
But this is a different Jags’ team as well as a different Texans’ squad.
This Jags’ team needs a win desperately to establish themselves without reservations and convection, while the Texans are still a year – or probably more – away.
Most of the league scribes believe Lawrence is beginning to show what the football world believed he could do as the next generational player.
This truly is his time, and the stock of the defense and running game has risen in unison. The Jags can take a major step forward with a win Sunday and then a win at Indianapolis next week.
It’s time for a blowout and Lawrence’s credibility to rise to another level.