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Rookie QB and devastating defence lead Jaguars past Titans

Gardner Minshew passed for 204 yards and two touchdowns to secure Jacksonville’s first win of the season.

Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew greet each other after last night's game.
Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew greet each other after last night's game.
Image: Stephen B. Morton

JACKSONVILLE’S ROOKIE QUARTERBACK Gardner Minshew passed for 204 yards and two touchdowns Thursday to lead the Jaguars to their first win of the NFL season, a 20-7 triumph over the Tennessee Titans.

Jacksonville’s defence played a key role, sacking Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota nine times — three of those coming from Calais Campbell.

But the spotlight was on Minshew, the sixth-round draft pick making his second start after being catapulted into the job by a week one injury to Nick Foles.

The mustachioed Minshew completed 20 of 30 passes, including a seven-yard touchdown toss to James O’Shaughnessy for an early lead after a botched punt by Tennessee.

He then guided a six-play, 62-yard march capped by a 22-yard TD pass to DJ Clark that put the Jags up 14-0.

“This was huge,” Minshew said of ending a four-game losing streak to the Jaguars’ AFC South division rivals.

“Division opponent, at home — you always want to take care of the home. The defence played their tails off, made it easy for us, so it’s a big team win.”

It was a frustrating night for Jacksonville star running back Leonard Fournette, who had been held to minus-8 yards rushing until he broke away for a late 69-yard run.

But Josh Lambo added two field goals to help Jacksonville avoid an 0-3 start to the season.

The Titans didn’t score until the fourth quarter, when Derrick Henry plunged over for a one yard touchdown.

Mariotta was harried all night while Henry and Dion Lewis combined for just 57 rushing yards on 20 carries.

Tennessee’s longest possession of the first half took them just 28 yards.

A 55-yard drive early in the third quarter ended in a turnover on downs as Mariota was sacked by Campbell on a fourth down and six play.

“We’ve been trying to get better every week,” Minshew said. “I think the biggest thing is you get more confident the more reps you get.”

Minshew acknowledged that there were plenty who doubted he’d be up to the starting job — but he was never one of them.

“It’s a credit to this organization for giving me a chance,” he said. “I’m just trying to prove them right every day.”

Source: NFL/YouTube

A rash of penalties sparked criticism — not just from the teams but from New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who was watching at home.

“Too many penalties. Just let us play!!!!” Brady tweeted as officials handed out 15 penalties in a first half played in driving rain, including eight holding penalties.

“I’m turning off this game I can’t watch these ridiculous penalties anymore,” Brady finally tweeted, fueling debate over the NFL’s increased emphasis on offensive holding calls this season.

In the first two weeks of the season there were 178 offensive holding calls — up 66 percent on the same period last season — and an increase in overall penalties compared to last season of more than 16 percent.

© – AFP, 2019   

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