Trevor Lawrence striving for NFL lift-off in London as winless Jaguars revisit home from home

The No 1 pick this year’s draft, who has struggled through five games this season, will hope to snap the team’s 20-game losing streak against the Miami Dolphins

Jack Rathborn
Sunday 17 October 2021 09:16
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<p>Trevor Lawrence will hope to earn his first win for the Jacksonville Jaguars against the Miami Dolphins</p>

Trevor Lawrence will hope to earn his first win for the Jacksonville Jaguars against the Miami Dolphins

Trevor Lawrence rolls into London with a swagger that belies the fragility of his Jacksonville Jaguars side still searching for a spark to surge away from their impotence.

The Jags (0-5), one of just two winless teams this season alongside the Detroit Lions, are desperate to snap a 20-game losing streak. But beyond this terrible run, head coach Urban Meyer, who was publicly shamed after a video of himself at a late-night bar surfaced on the internet, is still striving to prove he is the man to inspire the No 1 pick from this year’s draft.

Lawrence will hope to become the first rookie quarterback to win in the capital, after No 2 pick Zach Wilson stretched that unwanted streak to 0-5 with the New York Jets' defeat to the Atlanta Falcons last Sunday.

A glimmer of the outrageous potential flickered across games against the Bengals and Titans, but Lawrence is well short of the expected level, even though it is premature to panic. The numbers, with a 59.4 completion percentage (30th in NFL), 6-8 TD-INT (30th) and a 71.3 passer rating (30th), are difficult to ignore.

But Sunday brings an opportunity to seize hope against a Miami Dolphins (1-5) side enduring a dismal start to the season. Head coach Brian Flores, a highly-rated disciple from the Bill Belichick coaching tree, has been buoyed by his own first-round quarterback Tua Tagovailoa returning from injury this week.

But he must revive a bruised Dolphins defense, a unit stripped of its star cornerback Xavien Howard due to injury. Fans at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium will instead fixate on 2019 first-round pick Christian Wilkins, who may bring enough violence to stir the Dolphins’ defense and prop up a rusty Tagovailoa.

Head coach Urban Meyer has attracted criticism this season

It is easy to sympathise with the former Alabama star, who must rise up amid crippling pressure following a rocky start to a professional career littered with injuries. Not only must he meet expectations that he can revel as the Dolphins' long-term answer at QB, he must justify the franchise’s faith to select him over the sensational Justin Herbert, who has courted envy from Dolphins fans with every mesmerising throw that seemingly propels the Los Angeles Chargers towards the play-offs, not to mention discussion surrounding the MVP award.

But in the early kick-off in London, look for some extra spice as Tagovailoa pursues revenge after a stinging 44-16 loss to Lawrence and Clemson in the 2018 College Football Playoff National Championship.

But while there is an element of luck surrounding the quality of the teams arriving in London, given the NFL must plan these matches well in advance, the NFL is pushing the limits of their foreign fans’ patience. This is another match between teams merely scratching their way towards competency. Still, just as tight end Kyle Pitts did last week with his maiden touchdown, there is hope that those in attendance are primed to witness the beginning of a beautiful story. So all eyes will be on Lawrence and Tagovailoa in what is the latest chapter of what may yet blossom into a great head-to-head rivalry.

Watch Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Miami Dolphins at the NFL London Games live from Tottenham Hotspur Stadium this Sunday, 17th October on BBC Two, BBC iPlayer and NFL Game Pass from 2PM, listen on Talksport and catch highlights on Sky Sports NFL.

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