The Jacksonville Jaguars played host to a pathetic Cincinnati Bengals team whose only score came at the hands of a blown call on a replay review and finished the day with more late hits than touchdowns.
Even without the help of Leonard Fournette for the entire game and then Jalen Ramsey being ejected and Cam Robinson going down with an ankle injury, this Jaguars team dominated the Bengals in every aspect — the defense played like they smelled blood in the water, Blake Bortles was good (but not great) and the offensive line paved the way for zero sacks and over 100 rushing yards.
Which Jaguars players specifically stood out? There were a lot. Here are my choices:
1. Jalen Ramsey
His ejection was egregious but the defense played inspired football after A.J. Green’s disgusting choke slam from behind. Ramsey was in Green’s head all first half and although it took the ultimate sacrifice of an ejection, Ramsey got Green out of the game and somehow imbued the entire defense with his spirit after he went to the locker room.
2. Blake Bortles
With Leonard Fournette out again, it was Bortles who was tasked with leading this offense and he absolutely delivered. Zero sacks surrendered, zero turnovers, and 63.1 percent completion. He had some awful throws, but for the most part extended drives with his arm. His most impressive game to date this season.
3. The offensive line
148 yards on the ground. Zero sacks. Dealing with some changes and Cam Robinson out for a significant part of the game.
4. Telvin Smith
When Jalen was ejected, Telvin stepped up as the leader of this defense. His play in the second half was some of the best I’ve seen from a Jaguars linebacker in a long, long time.
5. Jaydon Mickens
His punt return for a touchdown late in the game was the final nail in the coffin for this Bungles team. And that front flip was wild, y’all.
6. Marcell Dareus
There are two reasons the Bengals couldn’t rush today: Joe Mixon sucks and Dareus was the run-stuffer this team has needed all year. This defense just got better (somehow) and it’s because of what Dareus showed today. It’ll be interesting to see how he improves as he gets more playing time. Abry Jones started at nose tackle today.
7. Doug Marrone
I still think benching Leonard Fournette instead of fining him and keeping the issue in-house was a boneheaded move, but he kept this team focused in spite of that. The Jalen ejection could have caused an implosion similar to what we saw out of the Bengals, but it actually helped them play with more intensity. The Bengals taking cheap shots could have veered them off course, but again — nope. And the offensive line was in need of some serious decisions coming in and Marrone knew exactly where to put guys so that they played as well as they have all year. 148 yards on the ground without Fournette. WHEW.