The Jacksonville Jaguars lost a gut punch to the Houston Texans on the road Sunday 13-12, but it was almost a monumental comeback engineering by rookie sixth-round pick and back up quarterback Gardner Minshew II. The offense sputtered early on in the game, but in the final two minutes Minshew started to work a little bit of the Mustache Magic and made multiple plays to get the team down the field late in the game.
Minshew hit some sideline passes, made some impressive plays with his legs and made something out of nothing for the late touchdown to put the score 13-12.
Then came the decision, and boy was it a decision.
“It was a decision that I made prior to us getting the last possession,” Jaguars head coach said about the decision to go for two points at the and the win. “I said that if we returned the punt for touchdown with DeDe (Westbrook) then I was probably going for go for the extra point. They said if we start driving this football and we score with a certain amount of time left, I said I’m going to go for two.”
To be clear; I think the Jaguars choosing to go for two and win the game was a perfectly reasonable decision. I also think kicking the extra point and playing for overtime, especially with how the defense had been suffocating the Texans offense, was a perfectly reasonable decision.
The unreasonable decision came with the play the Jaguars decided to run.
The Jaguars decided to line up in shotgun, trips to the left (three receiver), and hand the ball off up the middle to Leonard Fournette. The interior line of Brandon Linder and especially A.J. Cann got blown up into the backfield, Fournette right into their back and even with an extra effort, came up a frog’s hair short of breaking the plane.
Surprise, the Jaguars got stuffed on short yardage, again.
The thing that makes that call bad isn’t hindsight, I think most people felt the momentum and understood going for two at the end, trying to steal a road divisional game when they had the chance, but the Jaguars deflated their own balloon and as soon as the ball was handed off to Fournette everyone knew it.
This isn’t a dig at Fournette, but he is someone we need to talk about separately in regards to the Jaguars offense as a hole going forward, but more so we knew from this game it wasn’t going to work.
Fournette’s previous runs in the second half went as follows:
Ten yards on seven carries in the second half, and the decision was to hand him the ball on short yards, which was not working the entire day. In fact, the Jaguars got lucky that the drive even continued because Fournette was stuffed on both third and fourth and short, but the call on fourth down was a first down and you couldn’t get a clear view on the challenge replay, but it sure felt like he was short.
Minshew marched you down the field with a combination for passing and making plays scrambling when they were there. Your short yardage attempts were stuffed all day long and your decision to win the game is to go back to what had not been working and taking it out of the guy with the hot hand.
I just don’t get it.