NFL News & Analysis

NFL Preseason Week 3 Game Recap: Jacksonville Jaguars 34, Dallas Cowboys 14

Aug 29, 2021; Arlington, Texas, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) throws in the pocket for a touchdown in the first quarter against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

All eyes were on 2021 No. 1 overall pick Trevor Lawrence and the Jacksonville Jaguars offense after last week’s debacle in New Orleans. Lawrence proceeded to have his best performance of the preseason against the Dallas Cowboys’ backups, and the Jaguars cruised to a 34-14 victory.


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JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS

Quarterback

Jacksonville’s quarterback of the future was dealing in this one. Lawrence was decisive, accurate and ultra-efficient in his few series. He completed a couple of deep balls for 56 yards and a score, one being a big-time throw. While Dallas’ backups didn’t present the stiffest competition and Lawrence had a clean pocket on all but one dropback, this was an encouraging day for the rookie after a bumpy first two weeks.

Trevor Lawrence-led passing offenses in the 2021 preseason
EPA per pass Successful pass play %
Week 1 (vs CLV) 0.06 36.4%
Week 2 (@ NO) -0.07 36%
Week 3 (@ DAL) 0.96 83.3%
Trevor Lawrence this preseason
Dropbacks Pressured Dropbacks Avg. Time-to-Throw
Week 1 (vs CLV) 11 2 2.67
Week 2 (@ NO) 25 12 3.02
Week 3 (@ DAL) 12 1 2.18

Newly named backup C.J. Beathard connected on two 20-plus yard throws for 75 yards, both of which were under pressure. Yet, he had more quarterback-fault incompletions (two) than total completions (one) from a clean pocket.

Running Back

James Robinson was RB1 and played the first two series for Jacksonville. He picked up 10 yards on three carries, nine of which came after contact.

Carlos Hyde, Dare Ogunbowale and Devine Ozigbo all appeared in that order. Ozigbo notched the Jaguars’ only two explosive runs, averaged 5.1 yards after contact and picked up a first down or touchdown on 63.6% of his carries.

Wide Receiver/Tight End

Laviska Shenault Jr. showed off his after-the-catch prowess in this contest. The 2020 second-round pick ran 10 routes and hauled in three passes — one of which was a screen that he turned into a 20-yard gain after breaking a tackle and carrying defenders for multiple yards.

Six other wide receivers ran a route with Lawrence on the field as D.J. Chark Jr. and Marvin Jones Jr. sat out: Pharoh Cooper, Collin Johnson, Josh Hammond, Devin Smith, Phillip Dorsett and Laquon Treadwell. Cooper reeled in Lawrence’s first and only touchdown of the preseason with a nice toe-tapping grab. Dorsett beat rookie Kelvin Joseph for the other deep completion from Lawrence.

Tight end James O’Shaughnessy was productive with three targets on eight routes. He came up with 3.38 yards per route on the day.

Offensive Line

Rookie offensive tackle Walker Little was coming off a poor Week 2 performance (50.4 PFF grade). He bounced back in pass protection but made a couple of mistakes in the run game. He finished with a couple of pass-block losses on 33 snaps, neither of which were severe.

Starting right tackle Jawaan Taylor also had a clean day, with zero losses on 12 pass-block reps.

Defensive Line

Interior defensive lineman Roy Robertson-Harris made more impact plays as a pass-rusher than any Jaguar, and he went after the passer only eight times. He batted a pass and recorded a couple of pressures. Robertson-Harris and K’Lavon Chaisson were the only Jaguars who tallied multiple pressures that didn’t come on a cleanup or unblocked play.

Edge defender Jihad Ward recorded two run stops on seven such snaps and defeated a block a couple of other times outside of those plays.

Linebacker

Six different off-ball linebackers saw the field for the Jaguars. Two of the top performers were Myles Jack and Damien Wilson despite them playing only 15 and 11 snaps, respectively. Jack is the highest-graded linebacker on first review, and Wilson recorded a stop against the run and in coverage.

Secondary

Brandon Rusnak and Sidney Jones played more on the outside than any other Jacksonville defensive backs. Both allowed 50-plus yards and one touchdown in coverage.

Cornerback C.J. Henderson tallied a run stop and nine yards allowed in coverage on 21 total snaps.

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DALLAS COWBOYS

Quarterback

Cooper Rush, Garrett Gilbert and Ben DiNucci all got a chance to lead the offense. Gilbert threw some inaccurate balls, but also made a couple of big-time throws to the intermediate level of the field. Rush and DiNucci earned passing grades in the red upon first review.

Running Back

Brenden Knox and JaQuan Hardy got the nod at running back. Knox was the most productive running back in the game. He broke three tackles on 11 carries and picked up 31 of his 47 yards after contact. Knox did drop one of his four targets in the passing game, though.

Wide Receiver/Tight End

Poor quarterback play hindered the performances of any Cowboys receivers fighting for roster spots.

Simi Fehoko ran more routes than anyone (26) but generated only 0.81 yards per route run. He also got worked as a run-blocker and is poised to earn a poor grade in that facet.

Tight end Nick Eubanks led the tight end room in total snaps. He gave up a pressure on one of the few occasions he stayed back to pass protect. As a receiver, he shed a couple of tackles after the catch and made a contested grab.

Johnnie Dixon had an explosive reception of 15-plus yards followed by a contested touchdown at the end of the fourth quarter. He was the most productive wide receiver of the game, generating 3.22 yards per route run. Dixon, a 2019 undrafted free agent, didn’t get into the game until the middle of the fourth quarter.

Offensive Line

Center Matt Farniok was the highlight performer along the Cowboys’ offensive line. He played the entire game and didn’t lose one pass-block rep. He is set to earn the highest pass- and run-block grades on the team after first-run analysis.

Tackle Terence Steele had a day to forget. He played only 15 pass-block snaps and lost four reps.

Defensive Line

The six Dallas defensive linemen who played — Bradlee Anae, Ron’Dell Carter, Justin Hamilton, Quinton Bohanna, Azur Kamara and Austin Faoliu — combined for eight pressures. Of those eight, five were deemed to come in cleanup or unblocked situations.

Linebacker

Rookie Micah Parsons didn’t dress after lighting it up in each of his prior three preseason appearances. Jabril Cox and Luke Gifford played the entirety of the contest and put together relatively average performances. Cox missed a couple of tackles in coverage but made a couple of stops — one being a tackle for loss against the run.

Secondary

Cornerback Deante Burton got picked on in the secondary, and he didn’t handle it well. He was targeted 10 times on 33 coverage snaps and gave up nine receptions for 92 yards and two touchdowns.

Rookie corner Nahshon Wright was also picked on, seeing seven targets on 39 coverage snaps. He recorded a forced incompletion and a passing stop but also gave up five catches for 103 yards and a touchdown.

Sixth-round rookie Israel Mukuamu has been moved around throughout the preseason. In this one, he primarily covered the slot for the Cowboys and was one of their best coverage defenders.

Israel Mukuamu snaps by position in the preseason
Defensive Line Box Slot Free Safety
HOF game 5 19 1 17
Week 1 3 7 17 8
Week 2 4 4 0 2
Week 3 8 12 43 4

Mukuamu allowed only one first down while notching an interception and forcing a couple of passing stops.

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