Yesterday marked the second time Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew II has rallied his team to a come-from-behind victory in the fourth quarter this season.
Trailing by double digits (16-3) against the Oakland Raiders (6-8) at halftime, the Jaguars were able to come out victorious thanks to the team’s resilient defense, but more importantly the offensive production during the fourth quarter of yesterday’s matchup.
Minshew II led the Jaguars back from the brink of death with a pivotal fourth quarter comeback. The former sixth round pick completed 10 of 13 (77%) of his passes for 88 yards and two touchdowns to veteran wide receiver Chris Conley, securing a 20-16 victory. A much-needed win for a team reeling from five straight losses.
The quarterback’s propensity to ignite the offense in close games has been remarkable this season, especially for a rookie. During the team’s week four matchup against the Denver Broncos the Jaguars faced similar circumstances trailing by double digits heading into halftime only to come back and win on the back of a Josh Lambo 33-yard game-winning field goal.
Minshew orchestrated an eight-play 65-yard drive which included a fantastic 32-yard throw to receiver Dede Westbrook, and thus Minshew Magic began.
On Monday, Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone praised the rookie quarterback for his “unbelievable” fourth quarter.
“I think with him, I would say it’s probably just his make-up,” Marrone said via conference call on Minshew’s innate ability to lead the team in fourth quarter comebacks. “Just his mentality that the belief he has in himself that anytime that we have an opportunity on offense to get the ball back, that we have the ability to drive down the field and score.”
Minshew’s mentality is one of the reasons why he is able to stay calm under the pressure, and find a way to win close games. Marrone spoke about the young quarterback’s ability to score on the team’s final three possessions which amounted to 17 unanswered points by the Jaguars offense.
These drives accounted for over 15 minutes during the third and fourth quarter, taking valuable time away from the Raiders, especially in the third quarter when the Jaguars possessed the ball for over nine minutes.
“I think what shows the most is really not getting off to a good start for a lot of different reasons, where we took some shots, or it might have been some pressure, or we weren’t able to get open at times,” Marrone said of Minshew’s ability to rebound. “There was never a, ‘Here we go again,’ or, ‘I’m not going to be able to work my way out of it.’ He’s got a ton of heart and fight. I think the team knows that, and they’re able to rally around it.”
Throughout the season Minshew’s teammates have rallied around the quarterback, showing support when things are going poorly or when he’s able to do some magic and elevate the team to victory.
Jaguars rookie defensive end Josh Allen secured his 10th sack of the season yesterday, but instead of basking in the glory of being apart of an exclusive list of players, Allen decided to praise his quarterback and the team’s offense as a whole.
“I mean it definitely feels really good (to get 10 sacks), but we got that win,” Allen said after the game on Sunday. “Great team win. Gardner [Minshew] is a dog, man. Offense stayed battling, defense stayed battling, we got a win. We needed that one.”
Next on the Jaguars’ list of priorities in the development of their young rookie quarterback will be to get more consistency out of him. Marrone praised the rookie’s ball security over the past two weeks — 0 turnovers in two games.
“Just trying to find the right combination,” said Marrone. “Because when he starts to go, just like in the fourth quarter, he was 10 of 13 [for] 88 yards and two touchdowns, and he ran the ball for two first downs. Those are the types of things he can do, and we have to figure out a way to get him [to be] more consistent and that starts with us as coaches.”