Mark Brunell: Victory over Bengals felt like a true team win
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – It wasn't pretty most of the day, but that's how it is in the NFL.
If you want to be a playoff team, you have got to win the games that you're supposed to. And Sunday's 27-17 victory over the winless Bengals qualifies as one of those games that you're supposed to win.
Looking at that game, there were concerns. You're down by a point in the fourth quarter to a team that hasn't won a game all season. The offense still had its woes. It had gone seven consecutive quarters before scoring a touchdown in the fourth quarter.
That's an area of concern. That's back-to-back games where the Jaguars have really struggled to score points.
But that fourth quarter was something special. The turnovers forced by the Jaguars defense were the story of the game. Three of those four came in the final 15 minutes and they were killers for the Bengals. That's what we've been missing and what we needed to see.
Turnovers typically come in bunches and that was the difference in the game. Defense won this game. And the defense has played very well the last two weeks.
There's no more Jalen Ramsey drama. The sight of a Jaguars defense with no Ramsey on the roster anymore intercepting three passes in the final quarter of what felt like a must-win game was a major positive.
Of course, that helped bail out the offense on another day when rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew didn't have his best stuff.
When your quarterback isn't playing his best football, you've got to do something differently. And running the ball with Leonard Fournette is what the Jaguars need to do until Minshew gets back in sync. He's had an uneven couple of games.
Fournette was solid again Sunday and he's been running strong this season. The receivers, Dede Westbrook, DJ Chark, Chris Conley, even Keelan Cole, all of those guys made plays.
The receivers as a whole did a good job for their quarterback. The Jaguars put Minshew in a position where all he needed to do was not turn it over and he didn't. Lean on the pieces around you when you aren't making plays. There's nothing wrong with that. I'd rather see the Jaguars run Fournette rather than force Minshew into something.
We expect a lot from our quarterback. I've said it before, but Minshew is a player with basically six and a half games of pro football experience. He's still learning.
This felt a complete team win than the others. Let's see if we can build off of that when the Jets come to town next week.
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