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Jaguars WR Christian Kirk speeds past Saints for 44-yard game-winner: 'I don't think I ran that fast since college'

All was well enough for the Jacksonville Jaguars offense at intermission.

A pair of first-half touchdowns and a field goal had the Jags enjoying an 11-point halftime lead.

Then the second half commenced, and they went nowhere, sputtering and slogging along until Derek Carr and the New Orleans Saints had found life and a tie ballgame.

With the Jaguars having become a toothless prowl, quarterback Trevor Lawrence was just looking for a spark. He found Christian Kirk -- and 44 yards later Jacksonville had the touchdown that would hold for the game-winner in a 31-24 victory over the Saints on Thursday night.

"Just wanted to find a completion and get us going," Lawrence said after the game. "Worst case, let's get some points, let's get a field goal. The game was tied at that point. And then when I threw it, I thought it was gonna be maybe a 10-yard gain. I knew he had 20 (Pete Werner) on the angle, but then he took it to the house. That was a great play by him to finish it and see that opportunity and go get it."

Kirk's small pickup on a crosser over the middle turned into a game-changing and game-winning blur. Kirk, who had a team highs of six receptions and 90 yards, dusted Tyrann Mathieu, then turned the corner on Werner, sprinted past another Saint and stiff-armed Jordan Howden as his fleet feet and some stellar downfield blocking ushered him into the end zone.

"I don't think I ran that fast since like college," said Kirk, a 2018 NFL Draft second-round selection of the Arizona Cardinals out of Texans A&M. "That was some vintage stuff, I guess. I'm glad I was able to do it in that moment."

That moment occurred with 3:08 remaining in the game, which was tied at 24 after the Saints had rallied back from trailing 17-6 at the half and 24-9 in the third quarter following a Foye Oluokun interception return for a touchdown.

Kirk, like the rest of the Jaguars offense, had gone cold in the second half. He had five catches for 46 yards through the first 30 minutes and went without a catch in the third quarter and for the first 11 minutes and change of the fourth.

Oluokun had been the Jaguars' second-half offense. Other than his pick-six, Jacksonville produced three punts, a turnover on downs and a meager 76 yards before Lawrence found Kirk and Kirk found first gear.

"We definitely got to be better in the second half," Kirk said. "Coming out and not going three-and-out and we hit that lull that we've been seeing that past couple of weeks, so I know that's going to be a point of emphasis for us just finding ways to not find ourselves in these situations, especially when you had a lead like we did. When you get into a lull like that you give good teams an opportunity to comeback. That stuff will get us beat ultimately, so I'm glad we were able to make a play when it mattered, but we definitely have some room for improvement."

Nonetheless, the Jaguars weren't beaten on Thursday. They won their fourth in a row to start the season at 5-2 -- a feat the club hasn't accomplished since 2007. Those four wins have come in a span of 19 days, with the first two in back-to-back London games. Without a bye week after their overseas trip, Jacksonville responded with a win over the Indianapolis Colts and four days later fended off the Saints.

Perhaps it made sense that the offense scuttled in the second half.

Nevertheless, Lawrence shrugged off an ailing knee and Kirk provided the game's biggest highlight when the Jaguars needed it most.

Per Next Gen Stats, Kirk's 44-yard grab saw him gain 27 yards over expected and hit a top speed of 19.76 MPH.

"Trevor did a great job of stepping up in the pocket, giving me an opportunity to catch and run," Kirk said.

Lawrence saw it a bit different in the credit department. Said the QB: "He kind of did all the work there."

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