Gardner Minshew Shines as Jaguars Cruise Past Marcus Mariota, Titans on TNF

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistSeptember 20, 2019

JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA - SEPTEMBER 19: Gardner Minshew #15 of the Jacksonville Jaguars throws a pass during the second quarter against the Tennessee Titans at TIAA Bank Field on September 19, 2019 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images)
James Gilbert/Getty Images

The Jacksonville Jaguars snapped their recent losing streak against the Tennessee Titans with a 20-7 victory in Thursday’s AFC South showdown at TIAA Bank Field.

Jacksonville improved to 1-2 on the season and pulled even with the rest of the teams in the division in the win column. It also ended Tennessee’s four-game winning streak in the series that dated back to the 2016 campaign.

Gardner Minshew II spearheaded the effort at 20-of-30 for 204 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions, while DJ Chark Jr. added four catches for 76 yards and a score.

On the other side, Marcus Mariota struggled for much of the game and finished 22-of-39 for 282 yards, zero touchdowns and zero interceptions. Derrick Henry at least found the end zone but was limited to 44 yards on 17 carries.

             

Notable Fantasy Stats

  • Gardner Minshew II: 20-of-30 for 204 yards, 2 touchdowns and 0 interceptions
  • Leonard Fournette: 15 carries, 66 rushing yards, 6 catches, 26 receiving yards and 0 touchdowns
  • Dede Westbrook: 5 catches, 46 yards and 0 touchdowns (9 targets)
  • DJ Chark Jr.: 4 catches, 76 yards and 1 touchdown (5 targets)
  • Marcus Mariota: 22-of-39 for 282 yards, 0 touchdowns and 0 interceptions (34 rushing yards)
  • Derrick Henry: 17 carries, 44 yards, 1 catch, 2 receiving yards and 0 touchdowns
  • Delanie Walker: 7 catches, 64 yards and 0 touchdowns (9 targets)
  • Adam Humphries: 6 catches, 93 yards and 0 touchdowns (9 targets) 

            

Minshew's Legend Grows in Primetime

Welcome to the show, Minshew.

Minshew made his first national television appearance in the NFL in place of the injured Nick Foles, but he is already a viral sensation for his hair, style and mustache. The sixth-round pick out of Washington State only added to his legendary status by leading his team to its first victory.

He dropped dimes right out of the gate, finding James O'Shaughnessy and Chark for touchdowns in the first quarter. His throw to Chark was particularly impressive, as he placed the deep ball perfectly in stride over the defense. Minshew would have had another touchdown if Dede Westbrook didn't drop what may have been his most beautiful throw of the evening.

Minshew saved Jacksonville from a relatively quiet performance from Leonard Fournette, but the defense deserves plenty of credit, as well.

Calais Campbell overwhelmed Tennessee's offensive line and finished with three sacks, helping change some of the headlines on that side of the ball after cornerback Jalen Ramsey made news all week with trade discussions following Sunday's altercation with head coach Doug Marrone during a loss to the Houston Texans.

Ramsey was also a factor in the defense's showing by providing support in the run game, snuffing out screens and short passes and even drawing an offensive pass interference on a deep ball. It is a testament to his talent he was on the field and played as well as he did despite the speculation around his future.

          

Mariota Flops With Division Lead on the Line

Casual fans would be forgiven if they thought Mariota was the sixth-round draft pick at quarterback during Thursday's game instead of 2015's No. 2 overall pick.

The Oregon product was the second-best quarterback on the field, throwing for an ugly 62 yards in the first half and putting his team in comeback mode throughout the game. He struggled with his reads, couldn't handle Jacksonville's pressure and allowed the home team to move additional defenders into the box to account for Henry.

Henry didn't help matters by dropping a wide-open screen pass he could have parlayed into a touchdown with the amount of space in front of him, but Tennessee's issues started up front and under center.

Even when Mariota finally made a good throw to Tajae Sharpe on the first possession of the second half, he let it go to waste with two straight incompletions to Delanie Walker and a sack on 4th-and-goal.

It was clear who was going to win at that point, and Mariota never provided a reasonable path to victory for the Titans.

           

What's Next?

Both teams are on the road in Week 4 with the Jaguars facing the Denver Broncos and the Titans playing the Atlanta Falcons.

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