Cowboys vs. Jaguars preseason score, takeaways: Trevor Lawrence shines against Dallas' backups

gettyimages-1337091410-trevor-lawrence-jaguars-qb-2021-preseason-1q-1400.jpg

No, you didn't see any superstars take the field in this one for the Dallas Cowboys and Jacksonville Jaguars, unless you've already crowned Trevor Lawrence as one, having seen him look fairly lethal in his team's 34-14 shellacking of the Cowboys at AT&T Stadium on Sunday. The rookie first-overall pick torched the Cowboys backups for two touchdowns in the first half, and his accuracy was stellar -- leaving little work to be done by his receivers to get to the intended spot. Days after being named starter and seeing Gardner Minshew traded to the Philadelphia Eagles, Lawrence is making Meyer look great.

Toss in some early great play from backup Jake Luton as well and, well, Meyer has to be pleased. The Cowboys began fighting back once they pulled a struggling Cooper Rush from the game to start the second quarter, sending in Garrett Gilbert, who engineered an 80-yard drive that was punctuated with the first touchdown of the day for the Cowboys. That pushes back against Rush in the bid for backup quarterback behind Dak Prescott, after Rush applied pressure with a strong outing a week ago. 

For the Jaguars, it's about keeping Lawrence healthy (so far, so good) and for Meyer to begin refining his overall depth chart in the hopes of having success right out of the gate in his 2021 NFL coaching debut. For the Cowboys, the tone is much different, because the expectations for this coming season are again through the roof with the return of Dak Prescott and several other key players, but it's how Mike McCarthy rounds out the middle to bottom of the roster that will be just as important in his/their race to bounceback from a disappointing 6-10 finish to 2020. 

They'll now begin the task of forgetting about an 0-4 preseason, particularly one that ends with DiNucci helping the defense embarrass them on their own field to end the month of August. He'd improve a bit late in the game, but it was much too late.

Why the Jaguars won

Simply put? It's because they were supposed to. To their credit, they did, and you shouldn't take that away from them. But when you're playing starters against backups, if you do anything other than grind them into dust, you'd have a lot to be worried about. The good news for the Jaguars is they're leaving AT&T Stadium wearing nothing but smiles, and it's in large part due to the aforementioned performance by Lawrence, who finished with 139 passing yards and two touchdowns and only one incompletion on 12 attempts -- for a 154.5 passer rating. From there, Jake Luton had his way with the Cowboys defense as well, tossing for 128 passing yards and a touchdown on 15 completions in 17 pass attempts and a passing touchdown with no interceptions, at one point. 

It didn't matter that the Jaguars couldn't get the ground game going, because they never truly had to, so they never really tried to make it happen -- in a game that saw the Cowboys secondary taken to the woodshed with a big game from Lawrence, Luton and receiver Jake Cotton, with Cotton putting on a bit of a show, as you'll see below. It was quite the thumping by the Jaguars, who have to feel great going into September. 

Why the Cowboys lost

Simply put? It's because they were supposed to, or at least on paper. But they still could've at least tried to make the game interesting. Alas, it was more of the same from many who struggled in camp and the preseason to make a name for themselves -- going on to do the same in the preseason finale. There were standouts like Ron'Dell Carter and rookie safety Israel Mukuamu grabbed an INT (aided by QB pressure from Carter), and linebacker Luke Gifford was seen flying around to the tune of 10 combined tackles (a team-high), but there's much more to regret seeing if you're the Cowboys than there was to fawn over.

Cooper Rush lost some of the pressure he applied to Garrett Gilbert in the running for QB2 but Gilbert didn't stay in the game long enough to save the day, because it was Ben DiNucci who entered in the second half and... oof. DiNucci was once again a mess under center, yucking and chucking the ball in ill-advised ways into ill-advised situations that should've truthfully ended with him giving up at least two interceptions, one week after having thrown three against the Cardinals (he'd at least get a TD toss with under two minutes to play). 

Mostly poor QB play combined with mostly bad defense to give the Cowboys their fourth preseason loss of 2021.

Turning point 

It came early in this contest, when Lawrence put the Cowboys on notice that he didn't fly to Texas to lose.

Play of the Game 

Only one word can describe both this catch and the subsequent troll job by the Jaguars social media manager: SAVAGE.

Lower-case "d"

"The Cowboys' first half tackling issues have carried over to the second half." - Todd Archer of ESPN

What's next

The regular season!

The Cowboys will see the return of Dak Prescott when they visit Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sept. 9, while the Jaguars get to work prepping for the official regular season debut of Trevor Lawrence against the Houston Texans on Sept. 12.

Meaningful 2021 football has arrived!!

0
0
SUN 1:00 P
DAL +4, o36
NFLN
DAL 4, O/U 36

Season Leaders

passing
headshot-image
J. Luton186 YD, 1 INT
headshot-image
J. Luton186 YD, 1 INT
headshot-image
B. DiNucci112 YD, 1 TD
headshot-image
B. DiNucci112 YD, 1 TD
rushing
headshot-image
S. Conner11 ATT, 31 YD
headshot-image
S. Conner11 ATT, 31 YD
headshot-image
M. Davis8 ATT, 51 YD
headshot-image
M. Davis8 ATT, 51 YD
receiving
headshot-image
L. Farrell5 REC, 61 YD
headshot-image
L. Farrell5 REC, 61 YD
headshot-image
B. Smith1 REC, 40 YD
headshot-image
B. Smith1 REC, 40 YD
Live updates
(74)
See New Posts
Pinned
@dallascowboys via Twitter
August 29, 2021, 7:50 PM
Pinned
@dallascowboys via Twitter
August 29, 2021, 7:00 PM
Pinned

C.J. Beathard getting in on the TD party for JAX. 

See More