Minshew Mania was locked up and thrown away. Three fumbles and a 59.1% completion percentage forced the Jaguars to fall to the Panthers, 34-27, on Sunday
Jacksonville’s quarterback Gardner Minshew did not handle the Carolina Panthers’ elite defense and failed to lead the offense, but Leonard Fournette did pop out of his shell for another 100-yard game.
On the other side of the ball, the Newton-less Panthers seemed to shine enough to beat the Jaguars. Quarterback Kyle Allen went 17-for-30 with 181 yards and one touchdown. The defense, however, tipped the balance of the game right off the whistle.
On the first drive of the game, Allen began to dink and dunk the ball for five yards, marching down the field. Running back Christian McCaffrey also put his two cents in by handling the ball a handful of times. He finished the drive with a five-yard run into the end zone.
Minshew started hot, going three-for-three for 72 yards and a touchdown to receiver D.J, Chark.
Late in the first quarter, Minshew went onto the field to start the Jaguars drive on their own 20-yard line. On the first play, Minshew was strip-sacked and Panthers Eric Reid dove for the ball. He recovered his first of three fumbles in the game and placed the Panthers on Jacksonville’s 18-yard line.
The dual-threat fire-powered McCaffrey started and finished the three-play drive with a five-yard run and 18-yard touchdown reception.
At the end of the first quarter, the Jaguars were driving down the field down with a 14-7 lead.
Coming into the second quarter, Fournette forced his way through the line for a three-yard run and a first down. Then, Minshew tried to take over and was hit yet again. Instead of the ball being landed on, Panther rookie Brian Burns picked it up and ran. Burns rumbled and tumbled for his first touchdown, a 56-yard fumble return.
Later in the second quarter, the Jaguars shook off the turnovers. Minshew placed deep balls for his receivers and posted another seven for the Jaguars. After a missed field goal from the Panthers, the Jaguars were ready to jump back in the match.
Fournette kicked off the drive with a minimal gain near midfield. On the next play, Minshew hit Dede Westbrook for an 11-yard gain. The Jaguars then had time to discuss as they hit the two-minute warning. After a 14-yard pass from Minshew to Fournette, the Jaguars took shots to the endzone. However, the squad did not land any miraculous catches and ended the half with a field goal to limit the score to 21-17.
The Jaguars began the third quarter with a three-and-out. The Panthers then hit the one-hit-wonder as McCaffrey broke an 84-yard touchdown run to open the lead again.
The Jaguars looked to bounce back even though Fournette struggled to pick up yards. Minshew completed an 18- and 31-yard pass to place the Jaguars at the Panthers’ 32-yard line. Next, Minshew took a deep shot that was originally incomplete. However, coach Ron Rivera challenged the pass interference. The call was reversed and the Jaguars found themselves at the one-yard line. Fournette finished the job with the touchdown.
Going into the fourth quarter, the Jaguars began on their own seven-yard line. Fournette took the left sideline and went for 48 yards before being tackled at the Panthers 45-yard line. Fournette did not stop there as he took the next three snaps for 11 yards.
Minshew tried to start the air game, but the lack of yards led to a Josh Lambo 38-yard field goal to make the score 28-27 in favor of the Panthers.
The Panthers’ run game continued to control the contest as running back Reggie Bonnafon picked up some snaps. Bonnfon ended the drive early with a 59-yard touchdown run.
The Jaguars had one last chance to make a run for the win. Minshew and his team began on the 25-yard line and moved slowly but surely. After six plays, the Jaguars landed on the Panthers’ 39-yard line.
Then, Minshew lined up in the shotgun. With the snap off, Burns rounded the outside and had a shot on Minshew. Burns strip-sacked Minshew and Marquis Haynes picked it up for the Panthers.
With 2:33 left, the Panthers ran out most of the clock until they punted with seconds left and won at home.