A bit of Minshew magic snaps Jaguars’ losing skid
Jags spoil final Raiders game in Oakland
The Jaguars’ losing streak is over. Jacksonville won in the Pacific Time Zone for the first time in their last 11 trips to the coast as Gardner Minshew led a pair of touchdown drives in the fourth quarter in a 20-16 win, spoiling the Raiders final game in Oakland before moving to Las Vegas next year. Here are my four biggest takeaways from the game:
The rookie hadn’t done much to grab the quarterback competition by the horns until the fourth quarter. That’s when Minshew began to click. He led an 11-play, 79-yard drive in the fourth quarter that was capped by a 6-yard touchdown pass to Chris Conley to pull the Jaguars to within a field goal at 16-13. Then, after a missed field goal by the Raiders, Minshew was 5 for 7 passing on a drive that included a 4-yard touchdown pass to Chris Conley to give the Jaguars the lead.
Pass rush showed up
The Jaguars primary pass rushers, Josh Allen, Calais Campbell, and Yannick Ngakoue all pressured Derek Carr, with Allen and Ngakoue (two) both recording sacks, as did linebacker Austin Calitro. For Allen, it was his 10th of the season. The rookie became just the seventh player to record double-digit sacks in a season. The others are Campbell, Ngakoue, Tony Brackens, Kevin Hardy, Bobby McCray, and Gary Walker.
Pass protection struggles
It’s becoming more and more clear that the Jaguars are going to need to address left tackle in the offseason. Cam Robinson has continued to struggle. The former second-round pick from Alabama has one more year left on his rookie contract and the Jaguars should look to upgrade the position.
Perhaps Robinson can make the transition to guard or play as the backup tackle. With two first-round picks, the Jaguars should be able to find a player to help the pass protection. While Gardner Minshew was only sacked twice, he was under duress most of the afternoon. When it mattered the most, the Jaguars gave Minshew time in the fourth quarter on two touchdown drives. That doesn’t mean the Jaguars don’t need better play from the line.
There are only two more games remaining in the season. Sunday in Atlanta against the Falcons and Dec. 29 at home against the Indianapolis Colts. Will the Jaguars finish the season on a high note or was Sunday’s game the final high note of the year?
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