Jacksonville and Miami show English the worst of American football

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The Jaguars celebrate a win — mercifully — to mark the end of their 20-game losing streak.

The Jaguars celebrate a win — mercifully — to mark the end of their 20-game losing streak.
Photo: Getty Images

Once again, the NFL attempted to make Europe even less interested in American football with a poorly-played product on the pitch featuring the Jacksonville Jaguars. However, those who attended the game will share quite a laugh at a pub near Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

The game began the way Jaguars begin every home game, with their mascot bungee jumping from the top of the stadium and swinging from goal line to goal line. After all, what better way to get a different country pumped for America’s most prized sport than with a person in a jaguar costume imitating Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania XII.

Apparently, bungee-jumping jaguars provide an adrenaline boost for the Miami Dolphins, because they went 85 yards for a touchdown on the opening drive. The Jaguars and Dolphins traded field goals on the next two possessions, but most of the next three hours was not a brilliant display of American athleticism.

There were five punts in the second quarter, and a sequence near the end of the third quarter should be in a football follies VHS. Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence turned the ball over on a strip sack, only for Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa to throw an interception on the very next play.

In the fourth quarter, Dolphins coach Brian Flores decided that timeouts were unnecessary in a game where his team was clinging to a three-point lead with nearly seven minutes remaining, when he challenged a play for the first time in 2021. None of the replay angles could definitively show Dolphins wide receiver Myles Gaskin completing the catch, so the ruling on the field stood.

The Dolphins were then unsuccessful in their attempt to draw the Jaguars offsides on 4th and 1, so they punted, and the Jaguars’ return man foolishly tried to scoop up a ball he wasn’t in position to field. The ball nearly grazed his thumb, but it didn’t change direction at all in the air and rolled into the end zone, where the Dolphins jumped on it.

The referee calls a touchback and Flores throws another challenge flag. He again comes up unsuccessful. The Jaguars then drive down the field and attempt a 54-yard field goal to tie the game. Kicker Matthew Wright, promoted from the practice squad, waived twice by the Steelers and once in the XFL, saw his attempt — which was careening wide right — pause at the goalpost and curve in for a make.

On the ensuing drive, the Dolphins turned the ball over downs, giving the Jaguars a shot to win the game. The Jaguars opened this drive that could end a 20-game losing streak with a false-start penalty, a run stopped for a loss, and a sack.

With five seconds remaining, the Jaguars were looking at a 60-plus yard field goal, but fortunately for them they had timeouts. Lawrence completed a pass and a timeout was called to give Wright the opportunity to put a halt to the losing streak. And he did — with a 53-yard field goal.

So fortunately for the English, they got to see a wacky game with a wacky finish and can say they had a fun day with American football. Fortunately for Americans, that rubbish didn’t go into overtime and intrude into our Redzone experience.

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