If you haven't willingly watched a Jacksonville Jaguars game all season — and why would you? — you could learn all you need to know about how 2021 has gone on the field by watching the final 41 seconds of their 26-21 loss to the New York Jets.
Jacksonville struggled throughout the game. No. 1 overall pick Trevor Lawrence fumbled twice, losing one, and the Jags surrendered maybe the ugliest touchdown of the entire season to Jets QB Zach Wilson.
And yet, even amid all that gunk, Jaguars still had shards of a chance. Down five points inside of a minute, in Jets territory, Lawrence showed why he remains the Jaguars' greatest hope. He peeled out of pressure and scrambled to the left, running 26 yards to duck out of bounds at the Jets' 5-yard line.
First down. Five yards to victory. Just over 30 seconds remaining. What could go wrong?
Well, considering this is Jacksonville ... literally everything.
If you're an offensive coordinator, you may wish to hide your eyes; it's about to get ugly.
On first down, with no timeouts remaining, Lawrence threw to Dare Ogunbuwale, the one receiver who wasn't in the end zone. Two defenders were closing on Ogunbuwale; he would have been dragged down at the 3 even had he caught the pass ... which was out of his reach upfield.
On second down, Lawrence fired a short pass that C.J. Mosley nearly caught for a touchdown, which would have been wonderful for Jacksonville except for the fact that Mosley plays for the Jets and likely would have returned the ball for a 99-yard pick-six had he held on. In a little twist of the karmic knife, rather than the ball hitting the turf and stopping the clock, it skipped through Mosley's arms and ended up in the hands of Marvin Jones Jr. on the 1-yard line ... and so the clock continued to run.
On third down, with 16 seconds remaining, with the clock running and the ball on the 1, Lawrence took the snap and ... spiked the ball. Yes, with the defense in disarray, Lawrence vaporized one of his two shots at a victory with plenty of time for both.
On fourth down, with 12 seconds remaining, the Jaguars raced up and down the line like puppies at playtime while Lawrence tried to bark them into position. After the snap, Lawrence threw again at Jones, but cornerback Javelin Guidry slapped it down with little trouble.
But wait! There was a flag! Would Jacksonville enjoy a gift from the refs?
Come on, what do you think?
The Jaguars' pre-snap toddling ended up drawing the flag since they hadn't gotten set before the snap, so even if they'd scored, the touchdown wouldn't have counted.
So, let's tally this up. With first-and-goal on the 5, the game and their reputations on the line, the Jaguars had four downs to get into the end zone, and on those four downs they:
- Threw an ill-conceived incomplete pass short of the end zone
- Threw a near-pick six that ended up a useless completion, again short of the end zone
- Spiked the ball
- Threw away any chance at a touchdown by getting an illegal-shift penalty.
Woof. That's ugly, right there. Worst part? They can't blame Urban Meyer for this one.
Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Follow him on Twitter at @jaybusbee or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.