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How does Gardner Minshew usually play after an awful game?

Miami Dolphins v Jacksonville Jaguars Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

October 13, 2019.

That was the first game of Gardner Minshew’s career where you could say he was truly bad. The New Orleans Saints came to town and they had done their homework — Minshew was limited when he was kept inside the pocket and forced to make intermediate throws over the middle. They employed a classic pincer move with their edge rushers and didn’t worry too much about hitting him (they finished the game with just two sacks and three hits on 31 passing plays) but rather funneling him into an enclosed pocket and daring him to beat them with his arm.

It worked. Minshew completed fewer than 50% of his passes for the first time in his career, and threw zero touchdowns for the first time in his career. He had career lows for a game he’s started in adjusted yards per attempt (4.07), total yards (164), and rushing yards (1). He looked confused, disarmed, and like a sixth round rookie.

But how does Minshew bounce back? Does he usually take a week or two to get back into his rhythm or is he a quicker recovery?

Let’s take a look at Minshew and if the weeks that followed “bad” games truly were a bounce back effort.


Weeks 6 and 7

After the game above, it was on to the Cincinnati Bengals where they faced a winless team led by an aging Andy Dalton and a rookie head coach in Zac Taylor. Minshew again finished with less than 50% completion percentage and the game was tight until the fourth quarter, but the box score doesn’t really tell the whole picture from that game. Through the first 10 drives on offense, five of them made it to the red zone. The play calling was just atrocious when the team got near the end zone — resulting in just 16 points on five red zone trips. That’s not good enough. Add in three drops on 32 passes and while Minshew didn’t play lights out, he played better than we might remember.

Verdict: Improved

Weeks 9 and 10

Man, y’all remember the London game against the Houston Texans? Yikes. Four turnovers by Minshew. The defense gave up a 13-play drive that lasted 6:40 followed up by a 14-play drive that lasted 8:14 in the first half.

It was a bad day at the office and the worst time for Minshew to have one because the bye week was next week and it was decision time for Tom Coughlin, who wanted Nick Foles back as the starter which led to a three-week reign of terror that still scars me to this day. Minshew didn’t get a chance to redeem himself, so we’ll never know if he would have bounced back.

Verdict: Benched

Weeks 14 and 15

The curse of Philip Rivers seems to be broken after a comeback victory in Week 1 of this season, but it was alive and well here as he came to town and that Los Angeles Chargers offense owned us in Week 14 of the 2019 season. Minshew couldn’t find anything deep, settling for dink-and-dunk passing on his way to 4.4 yards per attempt and just 10 points on offense.

But the next week they traveled to hand the Oakland Raiders a loss in their final home game. Minshew didn’t play great until he threw two fourth quarter touchdowns, including the game-winning pass with 34 seconds remaining. It wasn’t pretty and it looked a lot like the bounce back game from Weeks 6 and 7.

Verdict: Improved

Weeks 16 and 17

Riding high after a fourth quarter comeback, Minshew laid an egg against the Atlanta Falcons. He finished with a season high bad throws (12) and season low completion percentage (41.9%). It was one of his few games that year where he had zero drops too — he and the rest of the offense just weren’t that good.

But he came back against the Indianapolis Colts in Week 17 and lit up TIAA Bank Field with nearly 70% passing, 7.56 yards per attempt, and three touchdowns. I truly think this game is what gave the front office and coaching staff the confidence to go all in with Minshew for the 2020 season.

Verdict: Improved


Weeks 3 and 4

After two career days against the Indianapolis Colts and Tennessee Titans in which he totaled more than 75% passing, 7.87 yards per attempt, and six touchdowns, Minshew just wasn’t good enough against the Miami Dolphins. He was seeing ghosts on Thursday night and while his defense didn’t help him out much — the offense was playing down 14-0 before the start of the second offensive drive — six of their first seven drives ended in punts, turnovers, or failed fourth down conversions.

This week? He’s on the road against the Cincinnati Bengals... again.

Verdict: ???


Through Minshew’s short career, he’s had four truly abysmal games. But except for the time he was benched, he’s bounced back in three of them. In fact, in each of those three games the Jaguars have won.

Does that mean he’ll play well against Cincinnati this week? I don’t know. The defense is bad, worse than it’s been in a long time. They have two sacks in three games. They haven’t pressured the quarterback in any meaningful way the last two weeks. They haven’t forced a turnover in either of those games either.

But the odds are in Minshew’s favor.