Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence will not play against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday because of his sprained right AC joint, a shoulder injury he suffered in last week’s loss at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
It’s the first game Lawrence has missed since he was drafted first overall in 2021, snapping a streak of 49 consecutive starts that was tied with Patrick Mahomes for the second-longest active streak among quarterbacks.
C.J. Beathard will make his first start since the final game of the 2020 regular season with the San Francisco 49ers.
Lawrence didn’t practice at all this week because of the injury to his throwing shoulder, though he was out at Wednesday’s practice in shorts and a hoodie.
Sunday is a critical game for the Jaguars (8-7), who have lost four in a row and are tied atop the AFC South with the Texans and Colts. They could clinch the division title and accompanying playoff spot if they beat the Panthers (2-13) and the Texans and Colts both lose Sunday. A loss to the Panthers doesn’t eliminate them from the playoffs, however.
According to ESPN analytics, the Jaguars have an 80.3% chance of making the playoffs and a 68.8% chance of winning the division entering Sunday’s game.
Lawrence was hurt late in the third quarter of the loss to the Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium when he dove for a first down on a fourth-and-1 play. He finished out that series, which ended with an 18-yard touchdown pass to Calvin Ridley, but went to the bench after that.
Beathard replaced Lawrence and completed 11 of 15 passes for 94 yards and a touchdown. That was the second time Beathard had replaced an injured Lawrence in a game this season. He also came in after Lawrence suffered a right high ankle sprain against the Cincinnati Bengals on Dec. 4 and completed 9 of 10 passes for 63 yards.
Beathard has played in 12 games in his three seasons with the Jaguars as Lawrence’s backup, completing 76.2% of his passes for 239 yards and one touchdown with one interception.
He was 2-10 as a starter in three seasons with San Francisco. In his last start in 2020 against the Seattle Seahawks, he threw for 273 yards and a touchdown in the 49ers’ 26-23 loss. He also started the week before and threw for 182 yards and three touchdowns in a 20-12 victory at the Arizona Cardinals.
The sprained right AC joint is the fourth injury that Lawrence has suffered this season. He sprained his left knee late in a win over the Colts in Week 6 but led the Jaguars to a victory over the New Orleans Saints four days later on a Thursday night. He also suffered the high ankle sprain against Cincinnati, a concussion against Baltimore on Dec. 17 and the shoulder injury Sunday.