Tue, 07 Dec 2021

Game That Was: "How cool is that"

Jaguars
18 Oct 2021, 17:06 GMT+10

Jaguars News | Jacksonville Jaguars - jaguars.com Brian Sexton

Be honest. Could you have named the Jaguars' kicker before Sunday morning?

Matthew Wright joined the Jaguars three games ago. So, before a 23-20 victory over the Miami Dolphins at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence took the time to get to know something about the man who will forever be known for ending the Jaguars' 20-game losing streak.

"I think he was telling me he was like a software engineer like a month and a half ago, and now he snapped our 20-game losing streak and made the game winner from 52, 53, I don't know," Lawrence said of Wright, whose 53-yard field goal came on the game's final play Sunday.

"But just crazy. You can't even make it up. Proud of him. Just proud of this team."

The Jaguars were the only NFL team without a field goal entering Sunday. Josh Lambo missed all three attempts before being benched after a Week 3 loss to Arizona in which he missed two of three extra points. Wright has kicked in the Jaguars' last three games, but missed his only field-goal attempt this season off the crossbar from 53 yards last week against Tennessee.

On Sunday, he connected from 40 yards in the first half. After he made a couple of routine extra points, it appeared the Jaguars might feel good about Wright's chances if the game came down to a kick. Still, his second field goal Sunday - a 54-yarder with 3:40 remaining - looked anything but good initially.

"The first one I actually thought I missed it," he said of the kick, which started right before curling just enough left to fall over the goalpost and between the uprights to tie the game at 20. "I was about to walk off the field and then I saw the offensive linemen turn around and they were all happy. So, that's when I realized it went in."

Wright added, "The second one felt a lot better. I made a lot better contact. I'm just happy they both went in."

Three minutes and 35 seconds later, Wright was in almost the exact same spot on the field - though in a much more pressurized situation, the first game-winning opportunity of his NFL career.

"Last year with Pittsburgh I was in a couple of playoff-type games," said Wright, whose three games late last season with the Steelers marks his lone time on an NFL game-day roster before the last three games with Jacksonville. "Obviously a game winner is a different level, so I just had to fall back on what I knew and do my job."

Defensive end Josh Allen couldn't wait to watch and see if Wright was up to the challenge of a 53-yard game winning field goal - and ending the losing streak.

"Oh, I'm in there; I'm in there," Allen said. "Really can't be superstitious because he's either going to miss it or he's going to make it. If I turn my back, he makes it, he makes it; if I'm looking at him, he makes it, he makes it. If I turn around, he misses it -- you know, so I'm in there. I'm ready to storm this field. I had all my faith that he was going to make this kick. He made the one previously, and I was like, 'Okay, I like his chance.'

"As soon as that kick was good, man, it was just line drive. I just knew it was going to go in. I'm on the field, storming and screaming my butt off, talking a little crap, just having a great time. It felt good to get that win, especially in that situation, man. It was just unbelievable."

In the locker room following the Jaguars' first win under first-year head coach Urban Meyer and the franchise's first win in 399 days, his team found out a little more about him.

"I feel great for him," Meyer said of Wright. "I don't think anyone on our team had ever heard him speak until about 10 minutes ago. I had to tell him to raise his voice in the locker room when they gave him the game ball. How cool is that for him?"

QUOTABLE

Wide receiver Marvin Jones after a seven-catch, 100-yard game that included a 28-yard touchdown late in the first half: "That feels great. It always feels great to get a win going into the bye week - to have that momentum and just to keep working, to work on our craft. It's always good to go into the bye week with that kind of momentum. You just have that extra juice for the weekend. A lot of wine for me."

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