68ºF

4 takeways from Jaguars win in Denver

Jacksonville now tied for the division lead

Gardner Minshew #15 of the Jacksonville Jaguars passes against the Denver Broncos in the second quarter of a game at Empower Field at Mile High on September 29, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
Gardner Minshew #15 of the Jacksonville Jaguars passes against the Denver Broncos in the second quarter of a game at Empower Field at Mile High on September 29, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)

The Jaguars overcame deficits twice, including with a final drive field goal to beat the Broncos 26-24 in Denver. The Jaguars are now tied atop the AFC South with all three other division teams with a record of 2-2. Here are my four takeaways from the game:

Garner Minshew is for real. If there was any doubt before the game, there shouldn't be now. Minshew was, once again, unflappable. On the road at one of the toughest stadiums for visiting teams, and trailing by two touchdowns in the first half, Minshew made all of the plays you could ask for. He finished 19/33 for 213 yards and two touchdowns. In short, he made Uncle Rico proud. If he keeps playing like this, what will the Jaguars do once Nick Foles is healthy? What a problem to have. The Jaguars went from no good quarterback options to two of them in just a few months.

Fournette's impact. There is no doubting the impact that Leonard Fournette can make. When he is hitting the holes (and when the offensive line is creating holes for him), the Jaguars' offense is a totally different creature. Fournette ran 29 times for 225 yards in the win. His 81-yard run in the third quarter flipped field position for the Jaguars, from their own 7-yard-line to the Broncos' 12-yard-line. Instead of working to find some room, maybe get a first down or two and then punt and try to overcome a deficit, the run by Fournette set up the go-ahead touchdown, giving the Jaguars a 20-17 edge. It was a far cry from the first half when Fournette ran for just 35 yards. If Second half Leonard is the guy we'll see from now on, the Jaguars can be playoff contenders.

The Jaguars tackles must play better and smarter. Cam Robinson and Jawaan Taylor did not play well on Sunday. Robinson was whistled for illegal hands to the face that negated a touchdown and Taylor was twice called for holding and flagged another two times for a false start. Both also gave up the first sacks of the season to the Broncos defensive line. When Fournette ran wide, he had little success. Robinson and Taylor are young, but they must play better. Facing the likes of Von Miller and Bradley Chubb is a great litmus test for any tackle. Now we know they have to be better.

Now what? The Jaguars are tied atop the division. If you are a "glass half empty" type, you might also say they are tied for last place in the AFC South. Here's what's coming up for the Jaguars: a trip to Carolina, where Cam Newton hasn't played in two games, a home matchup with New Orleans where Drew Brees won't play. Then it's games at Cincinnati and home against the Jets before heading to London. All are winnable games. With, or without Jalen Ramsey. October is going to define the Jaguars road for this season. Will they be in playoff contention or disarray when they board the plane to London? We'll be watching. 
 


About the Author: