Jacksonville was not accommodating.
The Jaguars sacked Bridgewater on his first snap, held him to a total of 2 yards on his first three possessions and forced a fumble to compel coach Dan Campbell to keep him on the field deep into the second quarter.
“We just kept sputtering out,” Campbell said after Jacksonville beat Detroit 25-7 on Saturday in a preseason matchup with mostly backups on the field. “I wanted to see if we could get him in a rhythm.”
That never happened.
C.J. Beathard threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to Parker Washington late in the first half and the Jaguars went on win easily. He filled in for Trevor Lawrence as many of the starters for both teams watched the preseason game to avoid injuries.
Beathard, a backup in his sixth NFL season, was 12 of 20 for 138 yards and has done enough to hold off rookie Nathan Rourke to be the team’s No. 2 quarterback, according to coach Doug Pederson.
“I like the way C.J. operates, the way he thinks,” Pederson said. “He’s tough. You saw some of the athleticism.”
Beathard threw an interception along with the touchdown pass to Washington, a rookie receiver, that put Jacksonville ahead 12-0 at halftime.
Bridgewater, meanwhile, was shaky in his Lions debut while surrounded by backups after signing this month to be Jared Goff’s backup. He completed 5 of 11 passes for just 34 yards.
“He probably had three drops,” Campbell said. “I thought he was solid.”
Detroit’s Nate Sudfeld, who threw his third interception of the preseason in the second quarter, connected with Chase Cota on a 1-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter to avoid a shutout.
D’Ernest Johnson restored the Jaguars’ cushion with a 1-yard touchdown run late in the third and helped them pull away with a 15-yard run that put them ahead 25-7 early in the fourth.
MAKING A BID
Elijah Cooks, an undrafted rookie, improved his chances of earning a job as a Jaguars reserve receiver by closing the third quarter with a short slant he turned into a 47-yard gain and also making a 22-yard catch.
“Elijah had a really good day,” said Rourke, who was 10 of 12 for 121 yards.
Cota, another undrafted free agent, had a 28-yard punt return and caught two passes to improve his chances to make the team as a reserve receiver and special teams contributor.
TAKING A LOOK
The Jaguars started offensive tackle Cam Robinson and guard Walker Little, giving them a preview of the left side of their offensive line in Week 5 when Little is eligible to return from a suspension for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancers.
Lions rookie cornerback Steven Gilmore gave up a 48-yard reception to Tim Jones, who like Cooks is competing for a roster spot, in the first quarter. The undrafted free agent bounced back by breaking up a pass in the end zone on the same possession and intercepted a pass that was deflected later in the first quarter.
“Those are the type of things you’re looking for from these young players,” Campbell said. “Something bad is going to happen. It’s all about what happens next.
“You want to know if these players are resilient and with Gilmore, I would say that was encouraging.”
Jaguars: Rookie guard Cooper Hodges, a seventh-round pick, had to be helped off the field in the first quarter with a knee injury and guard Chandler Brewer had a shoulder injury in the second quarter.
Lions: Defensive backs Ifeatu Melifonwu and Saivion Smith had injuries during the game and Campbell said both would be a longshot to play in the preseason finale.
Jaguars: Host Miami on Saturday to close the preseason and start the regular season Sept. 10 at Indianapolis.
Lions: Play at Carolina on Friday night to end the preseason and face Kansas City on the road Sept. 7 in the NFL’s opening game.