NFL London: Trevor Lawrence promises new era for Jacksonville Jaguars

By Ben CollinsBBC Sport at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium

Trevor Lawrence bounded into the media room for his post-match news conference, a smile beaming from his face.

"Whoa," he said, in a mixture of delight and relief. A thrilling finish in London had just seen the Jacksonville Jaguars end their 20-game losing streak.

It also handed the rookie quarterback and coach Urban Meyer their first NFL win, in a game both say they will never forget.

When Meyer took charge of the Jaguars he promised his team would be "fast and fearless". After an 0-5 start to the NFL season, they finally delivered against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.

More than three hours of action came down to five seconds, a passage of play which could change the direction of the franchise which has made London its second home.

What happened during frantic finale?

With the score tied at 20-20 with 20 seconds left and Jacksonville on third and 20 near halfway, overtime looked likely.

But two quick, short passes from Lawrence to Laviska Shenault suddenly gave the Jaguars an opportunity to end the second-longest losing streak in the Super Bowl era.

After the first pass, Jacksonville called a timeout to stop the clock with five seconds left. During the stoppage, Lawrence and Meyer confirmed they spotted Miami preparing to defend a Hail Mary attempt into the end zone so changed their next play.

They got enough yards for a first down and called another timeout with one second on the clock, allowing Matthew Wright to kick a game-winning field goal from 53 yards.

"We practise it every week, it's called slider," said Meyer. "I had the official right there and said, 'as soon as he (Shenault) catches and goes down, timeout'."

It was remarkable game management from a new coach-quarterback partnership and a team used to losing, not just being alert and adjusting but executing the plays too.

"That took guts," said BBC pundit Osi Umenyiora. "Nobody expected this, nobody thought the Jags would make calls like that."

Lawrence explained: "It's a situation that's hard to prepare for, but all those reps in practice really paid off. We said we had to win and we made the plays when we needed."

Meyer practising what he's preached

It's the second time in recent weeks that Meyer has practised what he's preached after introducing the "own it" motto at Jacksonville.

After videos of him partying with a young woman went viral, the legendary college coach apologised both publicly and privately.external-link

The irony was that earlier this year Meyer warned Lawrence to be careful before his bachelor party. Now Lawrence, who's just turned 22, was being asked to answer for the actions of a 57-year-old grandfather who has been married for 35 years.

The youngster took it all in his stride, insisting he still respects Meyer, and the way they secured this much-needed win shows trust and belief too. Lawrence even had his arm round Meyer's shoulders as they watched Wright make the decisive kick.

Meyer added: "I said 'come here, quarterback. Let's watch this young kicker try to drill a 53-yarder'. And he said, 'coach, we're going to win this regardless (in overtime)'. I get to coach a guy like that, that's kind of cool."

Having the chance to select a generational talent such as Lawrence with the first pick of this year's draft was the main reason Meyer accepted the Jacksonville job. Could they now transform the mindset of a team that has a 13-41 record since losing the AFC Championship game in the 2017 season?

"It's been tough, we hate losing," said Lawrence. "So to get a win, especially in that fashion, it feels good.

"We're getting better every week and I love the momentum we have right now. It's exciting for sure."

BBC pundit Jason Bell added: "Winning is contagious. Now the Jags will play their next games knowing they're always in it, 'we believe in our quarterback and now we believe in our coach'."

Lawrence would relish London return

There's much more to being a franchise quarterback than extreme talent, and Lawrence seems to have it all.

He's consistently level-headed, humble and polite. From dealing with questions about Meyer to chatting with Jason Bell for The NFL Show and charming the British media, he's a natural in front of a camera or a microphone.

With Jacksonville remaining committed to playing in London each year, they have a star with which to rebuild their brand, who can become the new face of the franchise and the NFL in the UK. And it's a role he'd relish.

"To get my first win out here in London, it's special," he said. "It's unbelievable. The fans were awesome.

"I love that the Jags play this game, at least one every year, so I'm excited to come back."

The 60,784 that witnessed Sunday's compelling conclusion will be delighted to have him.

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