- Trevor Lawrence plays through injury; Travis Etienne Jr. scores multiple touchdowns.
- Saints’ quarterback Derek Carr struggles, with crucial turnovers shaping the game.
- Jaguars secure their fourth consecutive win, maintaining their lead in the AFC South.
The Jaguars may not be perfect, but they know how to win ugly pretty much anywhere. Weeks after logging consecutive victories in London, Jacksonville hit the Bayou to match up with the Saints and kick off Week 7 on Thursday. Trevor Lawrence played through a knee injury that had him questionable to suit up, Travis Etienne Jr. scored multiple times for the third straight game, and the Jags survived a late scare to secure a 31-24 victory — their fourth in a row — and remain unchallenged atop the AFC South.
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Noteworthy Player Performances
Lawrence offset an uneven passing performance with 63 rushing yards to aid Etienne on the ground, but it was the Jaguars defense that initially did even more damage in the Superdome. New Orleans may have entered the game with the superior “D,” but Saints quarterback Derek Carr had no answers until late in the contest, repeatedly throwing into traffic if not checking the ball down to a busy Alvin Kamara. Carr connected with Michael Thomas on a TD that preceded a two-point conversion to knot the score at 24 in the closing minutes of action. But it proved too little, too late, as the Jaguars struck back immediately afterward, scoring on a 44-yard Christian Kirk catch-and-run.
The Saints fall to 3-4, and third place in the crowded NFC South, with the defeat.
Besides the fact New Orleans remained offensively inept for three quarters? Christian Kirk came alive in crunch time, racing past Tyrann Mathieu and the Saints’ typically sound secondary for a go-ahead score in the fourth. While Lawrence wasn’t perfect, struggling early to move the chains through the air, he also had several big runs, including a scramble to set up a scoring drive. Travis Etienne didn’t get a ton of opportunities but showcased his vision where it mattered most, scoring twice on red-zone carries. The defense also flashed early, frequently forcing Derek Carr into checkdowns or tight coverage, with five different players logging pass deflections. The linebacker corps, in particular, was all over the place, with Foyesade Oluokun and Devin Lloyd combining for 25 tackles, three pass breakups and a pick-six.
Saints’ Offensive Struggles
They lacked an offensive clue until it was too late. Look, Dennis Allen’s defense is always physical, always competitive. And that unit did its best to disrupt, even if Trevor Lawrence avoided most pressure. But at some point the QB and play-caller and play-makers have to, you know, score points. Which they did, but only after first falling behind by 15. Carr showed resilience guiding a late push, but only after spending three quarters opting for one dump-off after another. Their rare juice, believe it or not, seemed to come mostly from Taysom Hill, who got in on the action as both a runner and receiver.
Halfway through the third, the Saints forced a three-and-out, but then they proceeded to botch their ensuing possession, with Carr forcing one in Rashid Shaheed’s direction and watching as Darious Williams deflected the ball into Oluokun’s arms for a pick-six. Just like that, the Jags went up 24-9, and while Jacksonville did its best to keep the Saints in the ballgame later in the fourth, that multiple-score advantage kept Carr and Co. buried for a while. Christian Kirk’s catch-and-run TD officially sealed it.
The Jaguars (5-2) will hit the road for a matchup with the Steelers (3-2), who visit the Rams this Sunday. The Saints (3-4), besides potentially reassessing their QB situation, will also travel for a matchup with the Colts (3-3), who take on the Browns this Sunday in their second straight contest with Gardner Minshew under center.
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