JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Doug Marrone has seen teams implode from within during challenging times. It can happen.
Just not this one.
Marrone hasn’t seen that yet from the Jaguars and doesn’t expect to see it now after the team scratched out a much-needed win on Sunday. Jacksonville (5-9) used a fourth quarter rally to edge the Raiders 20-16 to end a history-making five-game slide.
Marrone said that all the talk in the midst of the losing streak was tough because he saw how hard the team was preparing week after week.
The results didn’t show that.
The Jaguars had been outscored a staggering 174-57 in that skid, losing each of those games by 17 points or more. No NFL team had been that bad since the Buccaneers lost five straight by 17 points or more between Nov. 9 to Dec. 7, 1986. Tampa Bay lost those games by a combined 185-54.
Marrone said the questions about players or coaches quitting on the team during that stretch were fair, but not accurate.
“I think when you start losing games, you’re going to get a lot these questions of, ‘players have given up. Or coaches have given up. Or the team [has quit].’ You’re going to get that. It’s natural. Its natural,” Marrone said.
“At times, it’s true. There are times where it’s true, but it hasn’t been true with this team. I think that I always appreciate, you know, even though we were losing those games, the way they went out there and practiced. Because I’ve been on some teams where we’ve hit these types of losing streaks where one or two guys are shutting it down, then all the sudden, next thing it’s three or four. Then it starts going through the team and before you know it, you’re having terrible practices and you’re going out there and having terrible performances.”
The Jaguars were having a rough time offensively against the Raiders until the second half on Sunday.
Down 16-6 in the fourth quarter and struggling on offense, the Jaguars finally got things going late.
Gardner Minshew threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to Chris Conley and then marched the Jaguars 65 yards down the field in 1 minute, 13 seconds following a missed field goal. Minshew tossed a 4-yard scoring pass to Conley with 31 seconds to play for the winner.
“He really played an unbelievable fourth quarter,” Marrone said of Minshew.
While the offense remained hot and cold, the defense played exceptional against the Raiders.
Marrone said that defensive end Yannick Ngakoue “is probably coming off the best game he’s had,” following a pair of sacks and constant pressure of quarterback Derek Carr. Rookie Josh Allen notched his 10th sack of the season.
Can the Jaguars keep that streak going and finish strong? They visit Atlanta on Sunday and wrap up their season at home on Dec. 29 against the Colts.
Jacksonville got positive news on the injury front Monday. Marrone said that injured receiver D.J. Chark was preparing to return to practice and would test his sprained ankle in hopes that he could play Sunday against the Falcons.