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Week 4 Game Recap: Jacksonville Jaguars 26, Denver Broncos 24


What you need to know

Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jaguar offense was mostly discombobulated in the first half, with the Denver defensive front clearly winning the pass rush battle against Jacksonville's offensive line. In the second half, however, Leonard Fournette and the offensive line took over the game. They held the ball for 13 minutes of game time in the third quarter, and racked up 269 on the ground. Gardner Minshew did not have a big day on the stat sheet and took a lot of damage from the pass rush. However, he made some incredibly gutsy and savvy plays in the second half while under fire.

Denver Broncos

The Broncos lost their eighth game straight since last season, falling to a last second field goal after leading for most of the game. Denver held a 17-6 lead at halftime, but the Jaguars offense came alive in the 2nd half, led by an outstanding performance by RB Leonard Fournette and an eventual game-winning field goal. Denver's ground game was abysmal, with the majority of Denver's rushing yards coming on one 28 yard tote by Phillip Lindsay. Joe Flacco and the passing game looked a little better, finding the end zone three times, but in the end it wasn't enough to hold off the Jags. Receivers Sanders and Sutton both had productive days, with Sutton finding the end zone twice and Sanders passing the 100 yard mark for the first time this season. Rookie first round tight end Noah Fant scored his first NFL touchdown in the 1st quarter.

Jacksonville Jaguars

QB Gardner Minshew, 85 offensive snaps, Pass: 19 - 33 - 213 - 2 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 1 - 2 - 0
He took the Jaguars down the field on his second drive, picking up 50 yards through the air (one of them downfield to DJ Chark that would have been a huge play if not for pass interference). The drive stalled out inside the five however, and the Jaguars settled for a field goal. For the remainder of the first half, Minshew was under siege. The Jaguars could not block the Broncos' defensive front, allowing Denver to get their first three sacks of the season. He also almost threw an interception with 2:30 left in the first half on a target intended for Jeff Swaim. After Ronnie Harrison intercepted a Joe Flacco pass on the next drive, Minshew led a field goal drive that started with 43 seconds remaining in the first half. He started with some short passes to Dede Westbrook and Geoff Swaim. On the third play, he threw a perfect ball to DJ Chark on a vertical route for a touchdown. However, it was erased because of an Illegal Hands to the Face penalty on left tackle Cam Robinson. The penalty stalled the drive out, and the Jags were forced to settle for a field goal. While he did not put up huge passing numbers in the second half, he was a Houdini in the pocket routinely breaking the grasp of sacks to move around and find open receivers. The first came on a huge 3rd and 14 conversion, where he slipped a sack, rolled to his right, and threw back over the middle of the field to find Keelan Cole for the first down. On the touchdown pass that capped the drive off, he escaped two potential sacks while inside the pocket. He made subtle movements to evade and reset in very compressed space, never dropped his eyes, and found Ryquell Armstead wide open in the endzone after he converted his route upfield while Minshew was avoiding the rush. After struggling for most of the day on third down, he made two 3rd and medium conversions on a drive in the fourth quarter, a Shallow Cross to Marqise Lee and a quick Slant to DJ Chark. On the first play of the game-winning drive, he got hit in the legs, barely getting the ball off and getting up in obvious pain. On the next play, he got stripsacked from behind. He had the cognizance to pick the ball back up and get a pass off, getting crushed on the attempt, but making a short completion to DJ Chark (also drawing a Roughing the Passer in the process). He then hit Dede Westbrook for a Deep Out followed by a Comeback route to Chris Conley to get the ball into Josh Lambo's range for the game-winning field goal.

RB Leonard Fournette, 71 offensive snaps, Rush: 29 - 225 - 0, Rec: 2 - 20 - 0 (3 targets)
Fournette's huge day did not just come from an explosive first half. He was getting consistent yardage on the ground early in the game as well, gaining positive yardage on a mix of Gap and Zone runs. He continues to get volume in the pass game. Even if he is not a game-breaking receiving threat, he is dependable. His first reception was his biggest gain and came on a checkdown from Minshew, where he had a ton of space and went for 15 yards. The Jaguar offense mostly stalled out in the first half due to sacks and penalties. In the second half, Fournette and the Jaguar offensive line took over the game. They set the tone on the very first play of the second half, with Fournette breaking a carry at the line of scrimmage, picking up 12 yards after and finishing the run with physicality. He largely authored a drive that took over 10 minutes of game time. After Minshew's touchdown pass to Ryquell Armstead capped the drive, the Broncos went 3-and-out on their ensuing possession. With the Bronco defense completely gassed at this point, Fournette took over the game. His first carry of the possession went for over 80 yards. The nickelback was unblocked off the edge on a blitz and could have made a stop in the backfield. But he made a business decision, taking a bad angle at the line of scrimmage. Fournette ran through an arm tackle at the line of scrimmage, broke another tackle in the secondary, and was off. He was finally brought down inside the 15. He broke a 27 yarder a couple drives later on a Counter play, again breaking multiple tackles and finishing the run with authority.

RB Ryquell Armstead, 14 offensive snaps, Rush: 8 - 42 - 0, Rec: 1 - 7 - 1 (1 targets)
After three games and one carry, the Jaguars started easing Armstead into the offense against Denver and he performed very well for them. He first checked into the game on the second drive in the first quarter. He scored his first touchdown of the season on a redzone catch, where he converted a flat pass upfield while Garnder Minshew evaded the rush. He showed good power and acceleration on his carries when subbing for Fournette in the second half as well. They compliment each other well, as Armstead is basically a slightly lighter, more agile version of Fournette.

WR Dede Westbrook, 53 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 66 - 0 (6 targets)
Westbrook had a very quiet day, but made the biggest reception on the game-winning drive. He caught a Deep Out from the slot, picking up enough yards after the catch to get the ball into comfortable range for a Josh Lambo field goal.

WR D.J. Chark, 62 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 44 - 0 (8 targets)
On the second drive, he made a beautiful diving catch after drawing pass interference while breaking free on a double move. The play had potential to be huge down the field, but the interference slowed him enough in the route to where he had to dive to catch up to the ball. During the Jags' final drive of the first half, he beat Chris Harris easily on a vertical route to catch a touchdown on a perfectly thrown ball from Minshew. However, it was negated due to a penalty on the offensive line. The two continue to show a penchant for connecting on vertical routes. He was just out of bounds after pirouetting along the left sideline on another potentially big catch downfield on the first drive of the second quarter.

WR Chris Conley, 66 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 17 - 0 (4 targets)
Conley did not have a reception until the final drive of the game. After Dede Wesbtrook's Deep Out got the ball into field goal range for Lambo, Conley added another 10 yards or so of comfort by making a 10 yard grab on a Comeback route.

WR Keelan Cole, 10 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 19 - 0 (1 targets)
Cole's first reception of the season was a huge one - getting open for Minshew on a scramble drill on the first drive of the second quarter. They connected for a 3rd and 14 conversion to keep the drive alive.

WR Marqise Lee, 25 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 5 - 0 (1 targets)
Marqise Lee just had one catch (also his first of the season), but it was an important one that kept a drive alive late in the fourth quarter. It was a simple Shallow Cross where he converted a 3rd and 5.

TE James OShaughnessy, 50 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 18 - 1 (4 targets)
He almost had a tough touchdown reception on the Jaguars' second drive. He got up the seam in the redzone, and Minshew threw a relatively well-placed ball, but O'Shaughnessy was double-covered. He was also injured on the play, but entered back into the game shortly thereafter. His touchdown reception came on fantastic play-design towards the end of the third quarter. The Jaguars motioned a receiver into the backfield, faked a flat pass to the runningback, then faked a screen to the wide receiver. The horizontal fakes opened a huge void in the middle of the field for O'Shaughnessy to get wide open down the seam for the touchdown.


Denver Broncos

QB Joe Flacco, 55 offensive snaps, Pass: 22 - 38 - 303 - 3 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 1 - -1 - 0
Flacco looked better than he has in past weeks, spreading the ball around and finding the end zone three times. Though he didn't take any official sacks, Flacco still doesn't look very good in the face of pressure, as he can rarely do anything to extend a play before having to throw it away. He capped the Broncos second drive of the day with a touchdown to Noah Fant on a well executed tight end screen. Fant did all the work as he caught the ball behind the line of scrimmage, broke a couple of tackles and showed some impressive speed on his way to a 25 yard score. Flacco's second touchdown was a well-placed ball on a slant route to Courtland Sutton in the end zone. Flacco killed a drive at the end of the first half with a terrible pass that floated well over Emmanuel Sanders on a short crossing route, landing right in a defender's hands with under two minutes left in the half. Flacco led a scoring drive at the end of the 4th quarter, connecting with Sanders and Sutton for big gains before finding Sutton in the end zone with a well placed throw on a skinny post.

RB Phillip Lindsay, 25 offensive snaps, Rush: 9 - 53 - 0, Rec: 1 - 7 - 0 (1 targets)
Lindsay had the better day of the two backs in the ground game, but was particularly slow in the passing game where he was out-targeted six to one by Royce Feeman. Lindsay burst through the line untouched off right tackle and wove his way through the secondary for a 28 yard gain in the 1st quarter, which was the longest run by either back for the day. His only target was a nice catch and run on a halfback screen in the 2nd quarter. Neither of the two backs are being assigned a role as an early down or passing back, rather the Broncos appear to feature them from drive to drive in whatever role the situation dictates. Freeman moved around the formation as a receiver this week while Lindsay got a couple of short yardage attempts on 3rd and 4th downs.

RB Royce Freeman, 34 offensive snaps, Rush: 6 - 16 - 0, Rec: 4 - 34 - 0 (6 targets)
Freeman didn't do anything with his meager six touches on the ground, but he was the busier of the two backs in the passing game, moving around the formation to collect 6 targets to Lindsay's 1. Freeman ran a great route on a slant that picked up 15 yards and converted 3rd and long late in the 1st quarter. He lined up wide left as a receiver and caught a curl route to convert 3rd down during the two minute drill at the end of the first half. He finished the day with 50 yards total on 10 touches.

WR Courtland Sutton, 52 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 62 - 2 (9 targets)
Sutton tied with Sanders for a team-high 9 targets, finding the end zone twice. He picked up a couple of quick gains on the game's opening drive, including a 10 yard catch and run to convert 3rd and 10. Sutton lined up wide right and beat his man easily on a slant route in the end zone for his first score in the 2nd quarter. Sutton got loose on a deep post route for a nice gain late in the 4th quarter as the Broncos attempted a comeback drive. Sutton capped a late 4th quarter drive with a touchdown, running a skinny post right into the teeth of the defense. Flacco threw a beautiful pass that Sutton hauled in between three defenders.

WR Emmanuel Sanders, 44 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 104 - 0 (9 targets)
Sanders passed the 100 yard mark for the first time this season as he and Sutton both drew a team-high nine targets. Sutton found the end zone twice, but Sanders had the edge in yards. Sanders had a diving catch on an out route from Flacco on the first play of the game. Sanders nearly found the end zone when he broke loose on a long catch and run on a deep out route early in the 2nd quarter, but he was brought down inside the 10 yard line after a 39 yard gain. Flacco tried Sanders deep a couple more times in the first half, but couldn't connect on the long balls. Sanders picked up a big gain on a deep crossing route late in the 4th quarter. He grabbed his leg after going down on the play, but hopped up and broke another big gain on a deep post route two plays later in the drive. Though he didn't leave the game, he might be popping up on the injury report this week.

WR DaeSean Hamilton, 34 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 57 - 0 (5 targets)
Hamilton worked well out of the slot, showing off a diverse skill set on several impressive plays. He made a nice double move on an out and up route in the 2nd quarter and an impressive catch as he leaped over his defender, bringing the ball in for a 28 yard gain. He had another catch on a slant route in the 3rd. Hamilton snagged a short dumpoff pass from Flacco and turned it into a big gain up the left sideline with some nifty running in the 4th quarter.

WR Diontae Spencer, 2 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 8 - 0 (1 targets)
Spencer returned punts and mixed into the wide receiver rotation sparingly, motioning across the formation to catch a short swing route in the 1st quarter.

TE Noah Fant, 40 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 31 - 1 (4 targets)
Fant had a beautiful catch and run in the 1st quarter for his first career touchdown. Flacco threw him a delayed screen pass behind the line of scrimmage and Fant followed his blockers beautifully, breaking a couple of tackles on his way to a an impressive 25 yard score. Fant nearly had another big gain down the right sideline in the 2nd quarter, but Flacco underthrew the ball. He was quiet after that, securing just one catch for a short gain up the seam late in the 3rd quarter.