National

Jaguars match turnover total from miserable 2021 season with pick 6 of Jalen Hurts

The Urban Meyer era of the Jacksonville Jaguars was a disaster on multiple fronts.

Count defense among them.

The Jaguars finished 2021 with nine forced turnovers as the only team in the NFL to fail to reach double digits in takeaways. On Sunday, they matched that total against the Philadelphia Eagles — in Week 4.

With 11:28 left in the opening quarter, Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts threw a downfield pass on second down intended for receiver Zach Pascal, who was covered by a pair of Jaguars defenders. The ball bounced off of Pascal's hands as safety Rayshawn Jenkins made contact and into the hands of safety Andre Cisco.

Cisco then ran untouched for 59 yards and a touchdown to open scoring and secure a 7-0 lead for Jacksonville.

The interception was the seventh of the season for an opportunistic Jaguars defense and the ninth total forced turnover alongside a pair of fumble recoveries. They recorded the same combined interception and fumble recovery total through 17 games last season en route to the league's worst record and a second-straight season securing the No. 1 pick in the draft.

They entered Sunday tied with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Baltimore Ravens with the most takeaways in 2022. After a 2-1 start they look very much like a new team under first-year coach Doug Pederson. With a ball-hawking defense, the development of second-year quarterback Trevor Lawrence and the stench of the Meyer era fading, the Jaguars are one of the league's biggest surprises in 2022 and look like a legitimate playoff threat.

However their season ends, it's pretty much guaranteed at this point to be a dramatic improvement over last.