The Jacksonville Jaguars were 0-13 on the road, going into Sunday’s game at Baltimore. The streak, which goes back 714 days looked like it was going to continue. That is, until a facemask penalty with no time left on the clock, was called against the Ravens Elvis Dumervil. The play resulted in an untimed down for the Jaguars and the ensuing 53-yard field goal by Jason Myers, gave the Jaguars an improbable 22-20 victory.
“Unbelievable. Unbelievable game,” said Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley. “I give credit to our players. The coaches come up with a game plan and it really comes down to players making plays. The effort, the scratching the clawing, that’s what they’re doing. Let’s make sure we continue that part of it.” Bradley was asked if the game-winner by Myers saved the kickers job and he laughed it off, but he gave Myers credit, saying “he hit it and he hit it good, too.”
The Dumervil penalty was the culmination of a day of mistakes by the Ravens, who turned the ball over four times. Davon House, who lost his starting job earlier this season picked Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco off twice, but the Jaguars were only able to manage a field goal. The Jaguars took a 7-0 lead with 2:29 left in the first quarter when Blake Bortles found Allen Hurns with a five-yard strike. Hurns’ touchdown marked the seventh straight game with a score, adding to his Jaguars record. The Jaguars held that lead as the first quarter came to an end. It was the first time this season the Jaguars had led after 15 minutes.
Bortles, who had a career day last week in the loss to the Jets, struggled Sunday. He completed 22 of 45 passes for 188 yards and two touchdowns and threw an interception to Ravens cornerback Lardarius Webb at the Jaguars 26 and two plays later, tight end Crockett Gilmore brought in a 10-yard TD pass, making it 7-7, with 11:32 left in the second quarter. Myers regained the lead for the Jaguars with a 21-yard field goal with 3:28 left, thanks in large part to a 27-yard pass interference penalty on the Ravens. The field goal capped a 15-play, 77-yard drive and gave the Jaguars a 10-7 lead. Flacco answered when he found tight end Maxx Williams with 1:11 remaining in the second quarter making it 14-10, Ravens at halftime.
Jacksonville (3-6) had some golden opportunities in the second half, starting with the House interception and ensuing Myers field goal from 45 yards out, closing the gap to 14-13. The Jaguars forced turnovers on the next two possessions, with House picking Flacco again at the Jaguars 6, taking away a scoring opportunity and defensive end Tyson Alualu recovering a fumble at the Jaguars 41. The Jaguars came up empty on both, with Myers missing a 26-yard field goal after Alualu’s recovery.
Jacksonville took advantage of another turnover, when Nick Marshall came up with a muffed punt, setting the visitors up inside the 20. Bortles found Allen Robinson from 15 yards out, giving the Jaguars a 19-14 lead with 13:01 left in the contest. The two-point conversion was no good. Flacco answered again with 7:30 to go, hooking up with Chris Givens in the end zone, giving the home team a 20-19 lead. The Ravens two-point try was unsuccessful. The Jaguars next couple drives were shut down and it appeared the Ravens were on the verge of saving their season when Bortles dropped back to attempt a last-gasp pass. He fell down on the play, but was never touched. As he regained his balance, Dumervil was there to take him down. The only problem was that he grabbed Bortles by the face mask, twisting him to the ground. “That play, Blake did a great job,” said Bradley of the final play. “Got the ball off, then slipped, had the fortitude to get up, keep the play going and then the face mask. He didn’t sit there, didn’t stay down, kept battling, kept competing and that’s our central theme… always compete.”
The penalty came with the clock reading zero, but the game cannot end on a defensive penalty. With the ball now sitting at the Ravens 35, the Jaguars only chance came off the foot of Myers, who would face the pressure of an untimed down. After Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh called a timeout to hopefully freeze Myers, the Jaguars kicker drove the kick of his life through the uprights. With that, the Jaguars snatched victory from the jaws of defeat and now sit one game out of first place in the AFC South. “When something like that happens with the blocked miss, I wanted to come back and come through for the team,” said Myers, after the game. “They’ve stuck with me, nothing but support from everybody, so once I got the opportunity, I knew I wanted to come through for the team.”
Harbaugh spoke about the Dumervil play after the game. “I don’t know what else you can say about that, you don’t wanna get a hand on a face mask there,” he said. “The guy’s playing out of his mind, he’s just playing with tremendous effort and it’s a disappointing play obviously. He’s gonna feel it more than anybody, but I got all the belief in the world in Elvis Dumervil.”
The Jaguars will not have much time to celebrate this victory. The team returns home Thursday night to take on the Tennessee Titans in a primetime divisional showdown on NFL Network.