Cowboys fail to clinch playoff berth with tough OT loss to Jaguars 40-34

Dec 18, 2022; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Noah Brown (85) makes the catch against the Jacksonville Jaguars in the second quarter at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Reper-USA TODAY Sports

Cowboys fail to clinch playoff berth with tough OT loss to Jaguars 40-34

This one stung for the Cowboys. After leading 27-10 in the third quarter, Dallas would be outscored 30-7 the rest of the way, eventually losing 40-34 to the Jaguars in overtime. Dallas would have clinched a playoff berth with a win; however, with the loss and the Lions’ win, the Cowboys will have to wait another week to lock themselves into the postseason.

The Cowboys’ defense fell apart in the second half allowing 503 yards of offense and four touchdown passes to Trevor Lawrence. The Jaguars were 8-of-12 on third down and were simply more explosive on the offensive side of the ball. Lawrence finished 27-of-42 for 318 yards and four touchdowns with an interception; three of those touchdowns to Zay Jones, who finished with 109 yards receiving.

The run defense struggled once again, allowing 103 yards rushing on 19 carries to Travis Etienne. He broke out for multiple big runs throughout the game.

In the first half, Dak Prescott was immaculate. Once the second half came around, it was a different story. Dak finished 23-of-30 for 256 yards and three touchdowns with two critical interceptions, including the one to end the game in overtime. Ceedee Lamb pulled in seven catches for 126 yards, while Noah Brown hauled in two touchdowns.

Despite committing fewer penalties, turning the ball over less, and controlling time of possession by almost eight minutes, Dallas made their mistakes in critical situations and could not keep Jacksonville from taking advantage. The Cowboys only put up one sack today, courtesy of Micah Parsons, despite the Jags losing both starting tackles at different points in the game.

The Cowboys would start with the ball and fail to make anything of it; however, the defense stepped up and made a big play early. With Jacksonville starting to mount a drive, rookie Sam Williams forces a Travis Etienne fumble giving Dallas the ball back at the Jacksonville 41-yard line.

On the ensuing drive, Dallas would put together a combination of strong runs from both Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard, eventually leading to their first score of the day. Elliott marched in on a 10-yard touchdown run giving Dallas the lead 7-0 with about four and a half minutes to play in the first quarter.

Following a defensive stop, Dallas would add to their lead with another touchdown early in the second quarter. An 11-play drive would result in a 20-yard touchdown pass from Prescott to Peyton Hendershot, giving Dallas a 14-0 lead.

The Jaguars would answer right back with their first score of the day on the next possession. The Jags would march down the field on nine plays and cap it off with a 5-yard touchdown pass from Trevor Lawrence to Zay Jones to cut the deficit in half 14-7 with just under eight minutes to play in the half.

Dallas would get those points right back on the following possession. Another 11-play drive would end in a 1-yard receiving touchdown to Noah Brown, giving the Cowboys a 21-7 lead with less than two minutes to go in the half.

The half would end 21-7 though the Cowboys had another chance to score. Dak Prescott ended the half throwing only one incompletion on 16 pass attempts with two touchdown passes.

The Jaguars would start the second half with the ball and immediately put points on the board. The Jags would lead a 10-play drive, eventually settling for a 33-yard Riley Patterson field goal after taking a couple of shots at the end zone. With under 11 minutes to play in the third quarter, Dallas led 21-10.

Dallas’ next drive would end in a similar fashion as they settled for a field goal deep in the red zone. After an eight-play drive filled with explosive passes, Dallas would score on a 24-yard Brett Maher field goal pushing their lead back to 14 points at 24-10 halfway through the third.

The Dallas defense continues to make impactful plays as they took advantage of a Trevor Lawrence mistake. Lawrence, who has not been picked off in the last five games, threw an interception to DaRon Bland, giving Dallas the ball back at the Jacksonville 42-yard line. Following the pick, Dallas would put up another three points on a 53-yard field goal extending their lead to 27-10 midway through the third quarter.

Trevor Lawrence would rebound from his mistake on the next possession with a beautiful deep ball for a touchdown. Lawrence would connect with Zay Jones for the second time on a 59-yard strike, as Kelvin Joseph got beat over the top, cutting the lead to 27-17. This would become the longest touchdown pass of Lawrence’s young career.

The momentum would start to shift in Jacksonville’s favor as their defense came up with a big play deep in Dallas territory. Following a sack, Dak would sail a ball over the head of Dalton Schultz into the hands of Rayshawn Jenkins for an interception giving the Jags great field position.

A penalty would push the Jags back to the Dallas 39-yard line. It would not matter though, as they moved quickly scoring a touchdown and cutting the Dallas lead to just three late in the third. Lawrence hit Marvin Jones for a 10-yard touchdown shrinking the deficit to 27-24.

The Dallas lead was officially blown on the next Jacksonville possession. The Cowboys’ defense, following some injuries, opened up for the Jags to take advantage. An eight-play drive would result in Zay Jones’ third touchdown catch of the day, this one a three-yard quick pass giving Jacksonville a 31-27 lead with 10 minutes to play in the game.

The Cowboys would gain the lead right back on the ensuing possession. Dallas would lead a 13-play drive that took up seven minutes resulting in a 13-yard touchdown pass to Noah Brown, his second of the day. With three minutes to play, Dallas retook the lead 34-31.

Dallas would have an opportunity to close the game following a costly fumble from Trevor Lawrence as he tried fighting for the extra yard. However, they would go three-and-out, giving Jacksonville over a minute to tie the game.

With over a minute to go, Jacksonville would get the ball back at their own 29-yard line. They would lead a seven-play drive resulting in a 48-yard field goal as time expired to tie the game at 34-34.

Dallas’ defense would get the stop in overtime; however, after driving down to midfield, Dak would throw his second interception of the game, where Rayshawn Jenkins would run it back for a touchdown to end the game. It would be Jenkins’ second interception of the day, sealing the overtime win for Jacksonville 40-34.

Dallas’ playoff berth will have to wait another week as they fall to 10-4, whereas Jacksonville keeps themselves in the hunt improving to 6-8 and winning three of their last four.

The Cowboys head into a crucial game next week in their final home game as they take on the division-leading Philadelphia Eagles.

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