The Jaguars outlasted the Bengals on Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati. It wasn't pretty for much of the game, especially when it came to putting points on the board. Heck, the Jaguars weren't able to score a touchdown until the 4th quarter. That, despite moving the ball with regularity throughout the game.
There are a number of fun (and not so fun) storylines from this one.
Let's get started.
Leonard Fournette had another monster performance.
The Jaguars' third-year running back has been taking on all challengers this year. After an offseason filled with skepticism about Leonard Fournette's ability to carry the load on the ground, the mauling runner is silencing the skeptics. Against the Bengals, Fournette carried the ball 29 times, picking up 131 rushing yards. Fournette also added two catches for 14 yards. His ability to consistently get positive yards for the Jaguars is perhaps the most significant catalyst for the team being able to move the ball this season. His day would have been a bit more impressive had he been able to punch it into the end zone on fourth and goal on the Jaguars' first drive of the game. Leonard Fournette now leads the AFC in rushing.
Turnovers came in bunches.
The Jaguars' defense has struggled to create turnovers in 2019. But on Sunday, in the second half, the flood gates opened. The first came on the Bengals' opening drive of the second half. After Andy Dalton completed a pass to Tyler Boyd, DJ Hayden was able to punch the ball out as Boyd was being tackled. Ronnie Harrison corralled the loose ball. The turnover led to a go-ahead field goal for the Jaguars. Then, as the Bengals were driving down the field in the fourth quarter, trying desperately to tie up the score, Myles Jack made a phenomenal play on the ball, intercepting an Andy Dalton pass intended for Tyler Boyd. The Jags' next forced turnover would end up being the knock-out punch. Yannick Ngakoue perfectly diagnosed a screen pass, picked it off, and took it to the house. But there was more: Ronnie Harrison picked off a short pass from Dalton to Boyd and returned it 35 yards. Harrison was injured on the play, but after the game said he was fine. Outside of a couple of missed assignments and blown coverages, Jacksonville's defense played a sound game.
Gardner Minshew was up and down.
The young signal-caller has had a tough couple of weeks. He had a downright stinker in week six and followed it up with an inconsistent performance against the Bengals. Minshew moved the ball well throughout the game. He accounted for over 300 yards of offense, thanks to several big runs and some long passes down the field. But something was missing. He appeared to be a bit jittery in the pocket and left some plays on the field — there were several occasions where Minshew missed his man or simply didn't see the open receiver down the field. There are always growing pains with young QBs. But Minshew once again showed the ability to hang in there and keep fighting. The Jaguars' QB controversy is a-brewin'. Nick Foles is expected to return to practice this week.
Cam Robinson suffered an injury.
Cam Robinson left the game early with a toe injury. It was a tough blow for a young left tackle trying to get his feet back under him as he recovers from a torn ACL in 2018. Robinson has had his fair share of ups and downs in 2019, but the Jaguars are a much better team when they have him available. There's no word yet on the severity of Robinson's injury.
The Jaguars' pass rush is alive and well.
The Jags only got two sacks on the day, but they were consistently pressuring the QB. Josh Allen picked up his fifth sack of the year, and Abry Jones added another. The defense also added seven tackles behind the line of scrimmage. When the Jaguars are at their best on defense, they're attacking and not reacting.
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