It should’ve been the moment that potentially revitalized the fan base, the city, and the franchise— instead Doug Marrone’s decision to go for the two-point conversion following rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew II’s potential game-tying touchdown with seconds to go in the fourth quarter came up short, and left all Jaguars fans asking themselves, “Why?!”, as the team fell to 0-2 on the season in a 13-12 loss to the Houston Texans.
After three quarters of both defenses holding the other side to field goal exchanges, it appeared the Texans were heading for a runaway victory down the stretch following a sack and fumble recovery on the rookie quarterback by Whitney Mercilus and JJ Watt, that set up field position that allowed Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson to trot into the end zone and put Houston up 13-3 with little time left in the game.
However, Minshew and the offense responded, showing the gumption and poise for a rookie making his first NFL start that the franchise hasn’t seen in literally any quarterback in at least the past decade. The Jags offense went on one 86 yard drive to get Josh Lambo into position to make it a one-score game with roughly four minutes left. Then followed it up with a drive from Minshew that saw him use his legs and arms to dice up the Texans defense, and captalize with a five yard touchdown throw to D.J. Chark to make it 13-12, with thirty seconds left in the game.
It was exciting, fun, invigorating, and then Doug Marrone made the worst decision in his three seasons as Jaguars head coach. Rather than kick the field goal to tie and turn the game over to a defense that had come back to it’s old ways for most of the game, or in fact go for the win by riding the hot quarterback’s combo of arm and legs, Marrone and John DeFilippo called for the worst possible play one could make in the situation— a draw to Leonard Fournette, out of shotgun, from the two yard line in a game where both the running game and offensive line struggled most times to get back to the line of scrimmage on run calls. Fournette was stopped a yard short, rolled over a defender, and failed to get his arms extended past the chest of the Texans safety guarding the goal line with his life. Game over.
Just like that, a short week leading up to a Thursday night prime time match up with the arch rivals from Tennessee that could’ve been full of “Minshew Mania” both locally and nationally with the team at 1-1 and well in the thick of the AFC South, is now left with too many “What ifs?”, and an empty feeling of what could have been while seeing the team remain winless and at least two games back in the division already.
This should’ve been Gardner Minshew’s moment. This should’ve been a fun and exciting few days with a pumped up city and a potential young, rising quarterback for the city to embrace. Instead, it’s the same ol’ Jacksonville Jaguars, and the franchise has no one to blame but the guy making the final calls on the field.