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Jaguars vs Raiders: Play of the game

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By: guslogue

Jeremy Reper-USA TODAY Sports

The Jacksonville Jaguars finally did it! Doug Pederson’s team miraculously held on to a late lead on Sunday to beat the visiting Las Vegas Raiders 27-20.

According to rbsdm.com, the biggest play of the game in terms of Expected Points Added (EPA) was Maxx Crosby’s first quarter fumble recovery.

However, I want to highlight a play that advanced metrics like EPA don’t pick up. The following throw by Trevor Lawrence resulted in a 15-yard completion and just 0.48 EPA. For context, it was the second-lowest EPA generated on a Lawrence completion all day — but it was easily the play of the game.

On a 2nd-and-long inside his own 10-yard-line, Lawrence evaded a free rusher and flicked a heat-seeker to Marvin Jones for a first down conversion. This play is a great example of (arguably) Lawrence’s two best qualities as a quarterback.

Everyone knows the first: generational arm talent. Lawrence is one of few people on this planet that can defy laws of physics and break rules of football, all because of how fast he can get the ball to his receivers. It’s easier to notice when he rifles a deep ball in a small window between defenders, but arm strength is just as valuable to connect on shorter throws with tight coverage.

Lawrence also delivered this bullet to Jones despite being unable to step up and follow through. That’s a lot harder than it looks.

While the throw is incredible, the ability to set it up is what makes this play as great as it is. It’s one thing to make a defender miss, but to do so in the pocket and immediately rip this kind of throw — that’s truly generational.

Steven Ruiz of The Ringer put it well:

Like an elite 3-point shooter in the NBA, Lawrence always manages to get himself into the proper position to let it fly. His arm is plenty strong, but it’s his impressive footwork that allows him to get the most out of it, whether he’s on the move or throwing from a collapsing pocket.

And this time, the stats support the film: Lawrence is sixth in career sack rate among qualifying quarterbacks since 2010. By this point in the NFL’s analytics era, we know that sacks are a quarterback stat, and Lawrence is already elite at avoiding these negative plays.

Jacksonville’s franchise player completed an additional 24 passes on 31 total attempts against Las Vegas. He finished with an 81% completion percentage, 109 passer rating, and 7.6 yards per attempt (with awing advanced stats to boot) while averaging just 5.8 air yards per attempt.

Get on the Lawrence bandwagon now if you somehow aren’t already, because once he has the weapons to consistently throw more than six yards downfield… league’s in trouble.

Originally posted on Big Cat Country – All Posts