In the 2010s, the woeful Jacksonville Jaguars were second to last with only 51 victories, the only team to have less wins is unsurprisingly, the Cleveland Browns. Outside of the 2017-18 season the Jaguars won an impressive 10 games and ran the table all the way to the AFC Championship, the team hasn’t topped 8 wins since 2007, the Jaguars regular season of 11-5. The organization struggled for many seasons with the seesaw of head coaches, Jack Del Rio (2003-2011), Mike Mularkey (2012), Gus Bradley (2013-2016), Doug Marrone (2016 - present) and one interim coach in between. Talent wise the Jaguars were solid, drafting players such as QB, Blaine Gabbert, WR, Justin Blackmon, LT, Luke Joeckel and free agent signing QB, Chad Henne although they did not pan out unlike QB, Blake Bortles, CB, Jalen Ramsey, RB, Leonard Fournette along with free agents TE, Marcedes Lewis and DE, Calais Campbell who were the key to the team’s 2017 winning season. I’ve comprised a list of top 10 best Jaguars’ games (split in 2 parts) but before I start with the countdown, here are some that didn’t make the cut but deserve an honorable mention, Jaguars vs Ravens Week 10 2015, Jason Myers drills 53-yard field goal as time expires, Jaguars vs Bears Week 6 2016 Blake Bortles connects to a slipping Arrelious Benn for a 51-yard touchdown with just under 3 minutes left, Jaguars vs Steelers Week 5 2017, Jaguars pick off Ben Roethlisberger 5 times, Chargers vs Jaguars Week 10 2017, Josh Lambo kicks game winning field goal against his former team and who could forget Gardner Minshew’s comeback in Week 4 2019 against the Broncos.
This was a highly anticipated Thursday Night Football Game…for Titans and Jaguars fans only, as most NFL fans were wondering why the 2-7 Titans matched up against the 4-5 Jaguars in primetime. It actually was a back and forth second half with the NFL’s future quarterbacks, rookie, Marcus Mariota and second year stud, Blake Bortles going head to head for the first time. The game started slow as both teams made two field goals heading into halftime with a 6-6 tie but the Jaguars woke up and went on a marathon of a drive to start the third, 13 plays, 78-yards and 6:50 off the clock as Jason Myers made his third kick of the game from 20-yards out. The Titans wouldn’t trail for long as the stout Jaguars defense gave up two pass interference penalties, the drive ended with Mariota running 23-yards squeaking by the field pylon for the touchdown, 13-9 Titans. Bortles and rookie RB, T.J. Yeldon continued to struggle as LB, Zach Brown picked off Bortles early in the 4th quarter, which led to nothing as the game became a punt fest once more. With the Titans still up by 4 with under 4 minutes to go, Brett Kern’s punt was retrieved by Rashad Greene who ran 63-yards on the return, the following play Bortles threw his first and only touchdown of the game as he hit TE, Julius Thomas from 5-yards out to give Jacksonville the lead. Moments later, CB, Davon House stripped TE, Phillip Supernaw and recovered his own fumble, setting up Myers for a 36-yard kick. The Titans moved the ball down the field but there simply wasn’t enough time, Mariota was sacked on the last play of the game by Andre Branch giving the Jaguars the 19-13 victory.
The Raiders last game in Oakland fighting for their playoff lives against “Minshew Mania” and the Jaguars, why wasn’t this a primetime game? The Raiders wasted no time as Derek Carr threw a 40-yard bomb to Tyrell WIllams for an early touchdown. After both teams traded field goals, the next 5 drives ended in punts but Daniel Carlson nailed two field goals giving the Raiders a more than comfortable 16-3 lead at halftime. The Jaguars marched to the red zone but Gardner Minshew II held on to the ball and was sacked by Dion Jordan backing them up 12-yards. Josh Lambo continued his “LaMoney” season, nailing a 43-yard field goal, 16-6. After the Raiders punt, the Jaguars went on a 11 play, 79-yard drive as Minshew II found Chris Conley for a 6-yard score. The Raiders chewed the clock down and set up Carlson for a 50-yard field goal, he missed but Parry Nickerson was called for running into the kicker, you would think Carlson would drill the 45-yarder, right? Wrong! He missed it to the left. Minshew II played like he did against the Broncos back in Week 4 the same year and worked the 2-minute drill as he completed passes to C.J. Board, Leonard Fournette and a 17-yard catch and run by Conley. After roughing the passer on Jordan, the Jaguars had the ball on the 8-yard line, fast forward to 3rd & goal, Minshew II found Conley in the endzone with :31 seconds left for the win, 20-16. Minshew II said after the game, “It was an awesome experience to be here, I probably saw more middle fingers today than I have in my whole life. It was fun to ruin that for them.” Typical Minshew II, gets the job done on the field and has fun off of the field.
The 8-4 Seahawks walked into Everbank Field, Jacksonville to face the red hot 8-4 Jaguars in a game that featured the two division leaders to duke it out. Both defense played spectacular through the first half as the Jaguars led 3-0 at halftime, not many can slow down Russell Wilson but “Sacksonville” could. On the second play of the 3rd quarter, Wilson was picked off by A.J. Bouye as he tried to connect with TE, Jimmy Graham. We saw our first touchdown as Bortles delivered a well placed ball to rookie wideout, Dede Westbrook from 18-yards out for the touchdown. With the Jaguars now up 10-3, RB, Corey Grant fumbled the ball on a kickoff and the Seahawks cashed in with Wilson finding Doug Baldwin for a 26-yard score. Not to worry, on the next offensive snap, Bortles found his other rookie receiver, Keelan Cole who scampered past Bobby Wagner for a 75-yard touchdown. Wagner gets a pass as he is a linebacker not a cornerback. The Jaguars just kept going as Jaydon Mickens 72-yard punt return led to a 1-yard score for the 2017 3rd overall pick, Leonard Fournette. If things couldn’t get worse for Seattle, Boyue picked off WIlson once more leading to a Lambo field goal. Wilson would rank up fantasy points by throwing 2 touchdown bombs, 61-yards to Paul Richardson and 64-yards to Tyler Lockett but it was simply too much as the Jaguars won 30-24. Say what you want about Blake Bortles but remember this, Drew Brees and Patrick Mahomes have never beaten Russell Wilson and the Seahawks - to this day.
I know what you're thinking, how could an NFL game between Brandon Weeden and Chad Henne come down to the final minute? Well the folks who tuned in and the ones who showed up to FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland got a sweet surprise. The Browns wasted no time as Weeden hit Josh Gordon for 42-yards leading to a 1-yard touchdown by Willis McGahee but the Jaguars fought back as Henne found Clay Harbor for an 18-yard touchdown, 7 all. Weeden continued to target Gordon who reeled in a 21-yard touchdown early in the secord giving the Browns the lead for what seemed to be an eternity. Pro Bowl CB, Joe Haden picked off Henne, quickly afterwards the game became a snooze fest, well at least until the final 3 minutes of the first half. Weeden’s pass intended for TE, Jordan Cameron was intercepted by rookie SS, Johnathan Cyprien, this was the first of his career. The Jaguars went down to the 11-yard line when Henne pitched the ball to Maurice Jones-Drew like your average running play, Jones-Drew then saw his TE, Marcedes Lewis at the corner of the end zone and threw his first career touchdown. Weeden’s “turnover bug” wouldn’t stop there as his next pass got intercepted by Dwayne Gratz leading to a 44-yard field goal by Josh Scobee. The madness wouldn’t end there as Weeden was sacked by Jason Babin which led to a fumble recovered by Sen’Derrick Marks who returned it 15-yards. Scobee nailed a 36-yard field goal to give the Jaguars a 20-14 halftime lead. Gordon continued to rip apart the Jaguars with a 24-yard run and the drive ended with a 4-yard touchdown from Weeden to Greg Little. On the next Browns’ drive, Billy Cundiff missed a 53-yard kick but Henne and Jones-Drew were stuck in quicksand even after C, Alex Mack snapped the ball over Weeden’s head for a safety giving the Jaguars the lead. Scobee cashed in on a 25-yard chip shot giving the Jaguars a slight advantage of 25-21, Weeden decided now it was the best time to make his best career throw to, you guessed it, Josh Gordon who caught and ran it in for 95-yards giving the Browns the 28-25 lead. Ace Sanders snagged a 25-yard catch to put the Jaguars into field goal range but it was Cecil Shorts who came in the clutch with a 20-yard diving touchdown grab on the final drive to kick the Browns out of playoff contention, Jaguars winning 32-28!
The Texans drafted Deshaun Watson 12th overall in the 2017 draft, Coach Bill O’Brien thought it was a good idea to start journeyman QB, Tom Savage, the Jaguars defense can thank the coach for that decision. Despite Allen Robinson breaking his leg on the opening drive, Blake Bortles continued to use his other reliable wideout, Allen Hurns for a 20-yard pickup, the drive ended with Jason Myers completing a 42-yard field goal. Calais Campbell in his Jaguars debut wasted no time picking up a half-sack with Abry Jones, Savage looked lost against this “savage” defense. Myers kicked another field goal from 25-yards to make it 6-0 Jaguars. Later in the second quarter, Campbell picked up his first full sack as a Jaguar and celebrated by swinging an invisible baseball. After some scoreless drives on both sides, Yannick Ngakoue stripped-sacked Savage and retrieved his own fumble. The Jaguars scored as Leonard Fournette got his first career touchdown as he plowed through the Texas defense at the goal line. If you thought the Texans offense could look more abysmal, Savage was stripped by Ngakoue for Dante Fowler Jr. to run it back 53-yards for the score, 19-0 Jaguars. Bill O'Brien finally benched Savage for the rookie right out of Clemson but the damage was done. Watson found Deandre Hopkins from 4-yards out but Bortles responded with a touchdown of his own as he found FB, Tommy Bohanon off the play-action pass from 1-yard out. On the ensuing Texans drive, Fowler Jr. stripped Waston and Ngakoue recovered the fumble, welcome to league Watson. With under four minutes to go, Watson threw a pick to FS, Teshaun Gibson this led to Myers drilling his third kick of the day from 38-yards away. Watson was sacked two more times on the Texans last drive giving the Jaguars 10 on the afternoon earning the nickname, “Sacksonville.” The Houston crowd couldn’t bear to watch the 29-7 rout by the Jaguars.
If you enjoyed what you’ve read so far, come back to TechmoHole next week to find out my final 5 picks for the best Jaguars’ games from the 2010’s era.