Jaguars come through on the road, top Bengals
Defense comes up big in 4th quarter in 27-17 win
The Jaguars used an absolutely dominant fourth quarter to pull out a win on the road over the winless Bengals 27-17 on Sunday.
They did it with defense.
Jacksonville had three interceptions in the fourth quarter, including two in a 14-second span, helping turn a one-point deficit into a runaway.
Even though it came against the hapless and winless Bengals (0-7), it was a much-needed showing from a unit that has been trying to regain the swagger that it had during its run to the AFC championship game in 2017. And they did it without their defensive cornerstone in Jalen Ramsey, the disgruntled cornerback who forced his way out of Jacksonville in a trade last week.
The Jaguars (3-4) host the New York Jets next Sunday at TIAA Bank Field and do so still very much in the AFC South picture.
If there was anything like a must-win game, this was it. And for three quarters, that was very much in doubt, lugging a 10-9 deficit into the final quarter.
After a month of the Ramsey trade saga and back-to-back losses to Carolina and New Orleans, the Jaguars needed something positive to pivot a season that had quickly veered sideways.
They got it over the final 15 minutes.
Three interceptions of Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton, including a pick-six by Yannick Ngakoue, helped the Jaguars smother Cincinnati.
That defensive effort that stirred up memories of 2017, and just how good this defense could be when it was clicking.
An interception by Myles Jack at the Jaguars 10 killed one of the Bengals' best drives of the game, and a pick-six by Ngakoue with 4 minutes and 24 seconds to play put Jacksonville up 24-10. Fourteen seconds later, safety Ronnie Harrison added another pick of Dalton. Josh Lambo turned that into points with his fourth field goal of the game, a 24-yarder, to make it 27-10.
Struggles continued on the offensive side of the ball, with quarterback Gardner Minshew again enduring an up-and-down game before dialing up a big play in the final quarter.
Jacksonville's first snap of the fourth was a strike from Minshew to Chris Conley, a 47-yard play and the biggest of the game. Three plays later, Minshew tossed a 2-yard touchdown to forgotten receiver Keelan Cole. It was just Cole's second catch of the season and couldn't have come at a better time.
It was the Jaguars' second trip inside the 2 of the game, and the only one that netted points. Minshew finished 15 of 32 for 255 yards and the touchdown to Conley.
Jacksonville got down to the Bengals 1 on its opening drive on a 12-yard strike from Minshew to DJ Chark. But Leonard Fournette was stopped when he tried to leap over the pile on a fourth-and-goal to deny the Jaguars a touchdown.
They settled for three field goals from Josh Lambo over the next three quarters and fell behind 10-9 on a 38-yard field goal by Randy Bullock with 35 seconds left in the third quarter.
Running back Leonard Fournette rushed for 131 yards on 29 carries and continued to grind out tough yardage.
If Minshew continues to struggle, there could be an offensive spark on the horizon. Coach Doug Marrone said late last week that the team could get franchise quarterback Nick Foles back practicing this week. Foles suffered a broken collarbone in the opening quarter of the season, but he could be eligible to return for a Nov. 17 game at Indianapolis.
Copyright 2019 by WJXT News4Jax - All rights reserved.