The Jacksonville Jaguars have a championship pedigree at coach and quarterback.
However it took a software engineer-turned-kicker to finally end the misery of a 20-game losing streak.
Matthew Wright’s 53-yard field goal as time expired gave the Jags a 23-20 victory over the Miami Dolphins on Sunday at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London.
“I don’t think anybody on our team ever heard him speak until about 10 minutes ago,” Jags coach Urban Meyer said.
Wright, playing just his third game for the Jags (1-5), also nailed a clutch 54-yarder to tie the game at 20 with 3:40 remaining.
“He was telling me he was like a software engineer like a month and a half ago,” Trevor Lawrence said. “Just crazy, you can’t even make it up.”
Lawrence was 25 of 41 for 319 yards and a touchdown as he and Meyer finally earned their first NFL victories — even if it required a trip to Europe to get it done in a “home” game.
The Dolphins lost their fifth consecutive game, spoiling the return of Tua Tagovailoa, who made his first start in a month. The second-year quarterback threw two touchdown passes to Jaylen Waddle.
On the final drive, Lawrence connected on a slant pass to Laviska Shenault Jr. and the Jags called timeout with 1 second remaining after the Dolphins (1-5) gambled on a fourth-and-1 from their 46 with Malcolm Brown stuffed for no gain.
The Jags lost yards on a penalty and a sack, but then Shenault caught a 12-yard pass to the Miami 44 with 5 seconds left. The Jags had planned to just heave it into the end zone but Miami called a timeout, and so they changed plans.
“We checked it after they called the timeout and got into something else,” Lawrence said of the slant pass to get to the Miami 35 for a 9-yard gain on a fourth-and-8 to set up Wright’s clincher.
The 25-year-old kicker, who also played three games for Pittsburgh last season, was mobbed by teammates and true to form was understated about helping the team win.
“Just not a huge talker, just here to do my job,” he said.
Tagovailoa finished 33 of 47 for 329 yards with the two TD passes and one interception in his return from fractured ribs.
“I’m not 100%, but I was 100% ready to be out there,” Tagovailoa said.
“I’m not doing a good enough job," Dolphins coach Brian Flores said. "Not playing consistently enough. Not coaching well enough. Not playing well enough. And not playing consistent enough. Some positive plays. Consistent ball — first half, a little bit in the second half but we’re just not putting it together. That starts with me.”
The Dolphins took a 20-17 lead when Tagovailoa finished a seven-play, 91-yard drive with a 2-yard touchdown pass to Waddle with 10:22 left in the game.
Jacksonville grabbed a 17-13 lead early in the third quarter on James Robinson's 1-yard run after he rumbled 24 yards on the previous play.
Tagovailoa and the Dolphins offense started hot, scoring on their first drive, but squandering two other chances from inside the Jacksonville 10, settling for field goals both times.
Tagovailoa completed eight of 10 passes and finished a 75-yard opening drive with a 6-yard slant to Waddle to put Miami ahead 7-0. They converted three third downs including a 20-yard reception by tight end Mike Gesicki and Tagovailoa's 7-yard scramble to the 6, setting up Waddle's touchdown.
Gesicki had a game-high 115 yards on eight receptions.
Trailing 13-3 late in the first half, Lawrence then finally exploited Miami's depleted secondary, launching a perfect pass to Marvin Jones Jr. in the end zone for a 28-yard TD pass with backup cornerback Noah Igbinoghene in coverage to make the score 13-10 with 40 seconds left in the half.
Miami played without starting cornerbacks Xavien Howard and Byron Jones, who were both out injured.
Before Sunday, the Jags hadn’t won a game since beating Indianapolis 27-20 in the 2020 season opener, when Gardner Minshew threw three TD passes. The 20-game losing streak is the second-longest in the Super Bowl era.
Jacksonville’s win also snapped the London hex on rookie quarterbacks, who had been 0-5 since the NFL started staging regular-season games in England’s capital in 2007.
Now, it’s the Dolphins racking up losses. They haven’t won since beating New England in the season opener.
Miami is the only one of the four teams that played in London to not get a bye the following week.
Sunday’s game featured a rematch of quarterbacks from the college football national championship game from the 2018 season. Lawrence and Clemson beat Tagovailoa and Alabama 44-16.
Dolphins: host Atlanta on Oct. 24.
Jaguars: bye week, then at the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday, Oct. 31.
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