The Jacksonville Jaguars were able to battle back from a 17-3 deficit to beat the Denver Broncos on the road on Sunday, one of the biggest come from behind wins in the franchise’s history. A large part of it was because of some more magic from rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew II, but really a lot of the load was carried by running back Leonard Fournette.
To put it bluntly, he flat out wore their asses out.
Fournette ended the day with 27 carries for 225 yards, a career high and near Jaguars franchise record, and a lot of that came from just running over Broncos defenders before hitting the open field. As someone who has been a harsh Fournette critic, it was fantastic to finally see him look like what the Jaguars thought he would be when he was drafted.
I’ll be honest and say I was getting ready to write something ripping the team for acting like Fournette was the only back on the roster, and even though the interior of the offensive line was playing poorly and a factor in the issues, why not at least try someone else for at least a series.
Well, they kept running into the brick wall and it finally fell down.
On Sunday the Jaguars looked like the team who trains in altitude and the Broncos were the defense with their hands on their hips, sucking oxygen and falling out every other play, in large part thanks to the bruising running from Fournette. Fournette was finally taking those little steps to get angles on tacklers, finally running through arm tackles and taking on defensive backs head on instead of trying to act like he was Darren Sproles. He was a man on a mission Sunday and you could see Broncos defenders late in the game start to make business decisions.
As mentioned, a big reason for the success was the interior offensive line had finally started to get in a bit of a groove, even with the rotation of Will Richardson and A.J. Cann at right guard. Fournette mentioned last week some of the frustration in the run game is simply the offensive line didn’t play enough snaps, so with that combined with some of the in and out due to injury, they’ve taken a bit longer to gel.
Coming off of Sunday’s performance, the Jaguars head on the road to take on the Carolina Panthers, another team who struggles to stop the run, so perhaps they can keep the ground game going and finally have it to lean on.