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Fournette, Minshew lead second-half stampede past Broncos

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Jacksonville Jaguars v Denver Broncos Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

The Jaguars traveled to Denver on Sunday looking to break a spell of west coast misery on the road and for thirty minutes, it appeared that the seemingly unshakable curse on the franchise on trips left of the Mississippi would continue another season— then the 2017 Leonard Fournette walked out of the tunnel at the half.

Trailing 17-6 at half time, the Jaguars opened the second half with a 16 play, 77 yard drive that was a record time wise, consuming more clock than the team had on a drive since playing the Bills in 1998. The drive consumated with a Minshew toss to rookie Ry’quell Armstead, to cut the lead to 17-13. On the following drive, Leonard Fournette broke off his longest run since the 2017 regular season game in Pittsburgh, going 82 yards and putting the Jags into position for Minshew to once again put the ball in the end zone, this time finding tight end James O’Shaughnessy for the go-ahead score, making it 20-17.

A Josh Lambo field goal seemed to give the Jags some breathing room late in the fourth quarter at 23-17, but Joe Flacco easily led the Broncos offense downfield and capitialized on soft-zone coverage by Todd Wash’s defense, with Flacco hitting Emmanuel Sanders in the end zone and allowing the Broncos to take the lead 24-23 with a little over a minute and a half left in the game.

That gave Minshew and the Jags time, however, and the rookie who had played absolutely phenomenal ball in the second-half, and most of the first four weeks of the season, did it one more time. Following a bad shot to the knee that appeared to leave the quarterback in serious pain and an ensuing roughing the passer penalty to give the Jags fifteen yards and a first down, Minshew connected with Dede Westbrook for a 24 yard gain to get into Broncos territory. Minshew would connect again with Westbrook for another first down, and with the Broncos out of time outs, allowed the Jags to rush with Fournette deep enough for Josh Lambo to put the Jags into the win column for a second-straight week, kicking the game winning 33-yard field goal as time expired for the 26-24 win.

While Minishew was phenomenal again, and kept the legend of Minshew Magic going another week, it was Leonard Fournette and his personal-record 218 yards rushing that sparked the offense and seemingly wore down what had been a very active Broncos defense in the first half. A welcome sight from the much maligned running back.

With the win, the Jaguars are now involved in a four-team gridlock in the AFC South, with losses by Indianapolis and Houston, coupled with a Tennessee win, leaving all four teams at 2-2. The Jaguars now travel to Carolina next Sunday to take on a likely Cam Newton-less Panthers team.