One incomplete pass, a long one at that, could change the fate of two franchises for decades to come.
Think about that.
Faced with a fourth-and-4 from the New York Jets' 37 late in Sunday's game, Los Angeles Rams coach Sean McVay opted to eschew a 55-yard field goal attempt to try and get a first down. But a long pass to Gerald Everett fell incomplete and the Jets won for the first time this season, ending their chances at an 0-16 season.
It also put a damper on their chances of landing the top overall pick in the draft, which means they are now behind in the Trevor Lawrence sweepstakes. By beating the Rams, the Jets dropped behind the Jacksonville Jaguars in the race to land the top overall pick.
They really did lose by winning. You can't tell that to the players, but the fans sure have to feel that way and it's a fact.
In Jacksonville, they danced. Two more losses and Lawrence will be theirs. They've tried countless ways to fill their quarterback position for the past 25 years and have failed miserably, but now they have a chance to get a player who most scouts consider generational at the position.
Mark Brunell, who came over in a trade from Green Bay in Jaguars' first season in 1995, is the last legitimate star passer the franchise has had — and he never threw more than 20 touchdown passes in a season. They blew three marquee first-round picks trying to fix the position, but Byron Leftwich, Blaine Gabbert and Blake Bortles all flamed out.
Compounding the hurt was that the team drafted running back Leonard Fournette fourth overall in 2017 and passed on Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson. A year later, they took a backup defensive tackle in Taven Bryan in the first round just ahead of Lamar Jackson.
Is it any wonder why the city celebrated in a big way when the Jets won?
They have hope now. There will be a new coach and general manager, but it's now a plum job. They can land the franchise passer, they have a second first-round pick from the Rams thanks to the Jalen Ramsey trade, and they have a ton of cap room.
Here's an early way to fix the franchise:
- Draft Lawrence.
- Find help up front to protect him (Joe Thuney or Trent Williams?).
- Draft a tight end early or sign Hunter Henry.
- Spend money on Giants defensive lineman Leonard Williams and one other defensive lineman, and I would look at Trey Hendrickson of the Saints.
- Get a true speed threat outside for Lawrence in the second round. Maybe Rondale Moore of Purdue or Kadarius Toney of Florida.
Think about the potential of the offense. Lawrence behind a good front, throwing to a first-round tight end or Henry and either Moore or Toney as well as current receivers D.J. Chark, Laviska Shenault and Collin Johnson. James Robinson, who has proven to be a star in the making at running back, would be the ball carrier.
It's no wonder this is now an attractive job, with names like Urban Meyer being linked to it. The Jaguars are at the bottom of the Power Rankings this week, and they will likely be there for the next three weeks. But don't expect them there for a long time after that.
That's what Lawrence will mean to the franchise. He will solve the position for the next decade. It's also why that long incomplete pass late Sunday means so much.
Now the Jaguars just can't ruin all that hope by winning either of the next two games.
Don't worry. They won't.
|They are rolling to the top seed in the conference. They are playing a lot of close games, which is a bit concerning.||--||12-5-0|
|They weren't on top of their game against the Panthers, but they found a way. That's the sign of a good team. One more victory and they will be the NFC's top seed.||--||13-4-0|
|They are flying high on offense now. The Bills have already won the AFC East, which is the first time since 1996. They will be dangerous come playoff time.||--||11-6-0|
|They now control their fate in winning the division. Two more victories and it's theirs.||2||7-10-0|
|They've lost two straight games, which isn't a good way to be playing down the stretch. Drew Brees didn't look good for much of the Chiefs game, but he rallied late.||--||9-8-0|
|Three consecutive losses has this team reeling right now. They aren't good enough on offense in any area.||2||9-7-1|
|They have come alive on offense, but the defense is having some issues. They have to be better this week against the Steelers.||--||9-8-0|
|The comeback against the Falcons could be the game that gets them rolling again. That offense is the one we expected to see.||1||13-4-0|
|Here come the Ravens. The schedule is favorable and they will be a dangerous playoff team if they get in.||1||8-9-0|
|Kevin Stefanski has done an outstanding job turning this team around. Baker Mayfield is playing well with the running game clicking.||1||8-9-0|
|They continue to lead the AFC South, winning with their offense again against the Lions. That bad defense will be tested against the Packers.||1||12-5-0|
|They have a real shot to be a playoff team, but they have a big one this week against the Raiders. This could be the game where Tua Tagovailoa gets it going.||1||9-8-0|
|What happened against the Jets? That's inexcusable. They have to regroup in a big way this week in a tough road game at Seattle.||5||12-5-0|
|They found a way against Arizona, but the defense struggled again. They have to be better if they are to get to the playoffs.||--||11-6-0|
|They have found an offense with the return of Mitchell Trubisky. They are still alive at 7-7.||2||6-11-0|
|They will likely play without Derek Carr, who suffered a groin pull. It's on Marcus Mariota now. With that defense, he has to be good.||1||10-7-0|
|Even with the loss to the Seahawks, they are atop the NFC East. They should have Alex Smith back this week against Carolina.||1||7-10-0|
|It's over. No playoffs this year for this team. But did we really expect it?||--||10-7-0|
|So much for the playoffs. All the changes and the moves to more of a younger team have caught up with them.||--||8-9-0|
|They impressed in winning against the Raiders. Justin Herbert is the real deal.||5||9-8-0|
|The defense gets worse by the week. They can't stop anybody. Deshaun Watson can't do it by himself.||1||4-13-0|
|The defense has regressed in a big way. But there is a lot to like for next season.||--||7-10-0|
|They are still alive in the NFC East, but they need to win this week at Baltimore and get help. That won't be easy.||--||4-13-0|
|Don't look now, but they are still alive in the NFC East race. The offense has played so much better with Andy Dalton.||4||12-5-0|
|They have to be excited about the way Jalen Hurts is playing. They might have their long-term answer, but it's a little early for that.||1||9-8-0|
|The Super Bowl hangover is now complete. They are done. Has any team ever dealt with more than this team did this year?||5||10-7-0|
|Does this team know how to blow leads or what? It's the same story seemingly every week - no matter who is the coach. They need a fresh start.||1||7-10-0|
|They competed against the Packers, but the losing continues. They can't seem to find a way to win a game after a solid start.||1||5-12-0|
|They are already conducting general manager interviews, and whoever gets the job will be facing a tough task to turn it around. Will Matt Stafford be a part of it?||--||3-13-1|
|They looked good in beating the Steelers Monday night. That's a good sign for next season.||--||10-7-0|
|They showed some fight in beating the Rams, but it's a victory that will sting if they don't pick first overall. But the players don't care about that.||1||4-13-0|
|Don't do it. Don't win a game. Don't ruin the chance to land Trevor Lawrence. It's just not worth it.||1||3-14-0|