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Week 5 Game Recap: Jacksonville Jaguars 27, Carolina Panthers 34

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Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jacksonville Jaguars got into a shootout with the Carolina Panthers on Sunday before ultimately falling 34-27 to the Christian McCaffrey-led Panthers. Despite the loss, the Jaguars offense was still humming for most of the game aside from three costly fumbles, which ended up being the difference in the game. But even with the turnovers, the Jaguars offense is simply the only thing that kept Jacksonville in this one.

Carolina Panthers

Christian McCaffrey is playing every bit as well as the numbers suggest - and better. The third-year back made defenders miss in space for sport in this game, putting the offense on his back with hard-charging carries, nifty moves and swift reads of blocks behind and at the line of scrimmage. Kyle Allen, taking a back seat to McCaffrey's brilliance, was able to act as a game manager for the most part, taking the pitch-and-catch throws. The young quarterback showed excellent touch and poise on a few occasions, but was guilty of another fumble, a bugaboo plaguing his game. Among the receivers the load was shared, with Curtis Samuel being deployed as a gadget player in space while D.J. Moore was a consistent target for his quarterback in traffic. Greg Olsen was limited in the passing attack due to Carolina's offensive line reshuffle, which had rookie Dennis Daley starting at left tackle. The veteran tight end was asked to chip and stayed in to block often.

Jacksonville Jaguars

QB Gardner Minshew, 84 offensive snaps, Pass: 26 - 44 - 374 - 2 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 7 - 42 - 0
Rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew continued his hot streak against the Panthers, dissecting†one of the NFL's top pass defenses throughout the game and making†big play after big play for the Jacksonville offense. He finished the game 26/44 passing for 374 yards and two touchdowns and threw three passes for 20+ yards. As a passer, he showed great accuracy to the outside and on his deep ball and once again made defenders look silly when evading them in the pocket on a few occasions.†He and DJ Chark continue to show a great connection, with the two of them continuing to hook up deep when they get single man coverage on the outside.

On the other hand, Minshew was pressing a bit when it came to making those types of plays in the pocket and this led to one of his fumbles. Too often he was trying to do too much and was not focusing on ball security. As for his other fumbles, one came on a muffed handoff and another was due to left guard Andrew Norwell being pushed into his lap as he was attempting a pass. Minshew showed more good than bad on Sunday, but the ball security needs to improve.

RB Leonard Fournette, 77 offensive snaps, Rush: 23 - 108 - 1, Rec: 4 - 29 - 0 (7 targets)
Fournette was not bad by any means against the Panthers, but he was also not as good as his 23 carries for 108 yards and a touchdown statline indicates. 48 of those yards came on a single run and the touchdown was a one-yard layup score. But when he was creating positive plays, it was due to his improved ability to break tackles and move the pile, something he failed to do too often in 2018. His vision is still too hit or miss, but he is a better pure runner than he has been in years past.

As a pass catcher, Fournette saw a whopping seven targets but only four of those were converted to receptions. He finished the day with 29 yards receiving with his longest catch going for 14 yards. He is not going to make anyone miss in space after being thrown the ball like McCaffrey will, but he can get the easy yards quickly due to his burst, making him a dangerous target on check downs.

RB Ryquell Armstead, 6 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - -1 - 0, Rec: 1 - 7 - 0 (1 targets)
Despite playing a large role in Week 4’s game against Denver, Armstead only touched the ball twice against Carolina. One was a negative yards carry that was blown up by Carolina’s front seven, while the other was a checkdown pass on a short curl route. He is a talented player but his usage remains inconsistent from game to game.

WR D.J. Chark, 68 offensive snaps, Rec: 8 - 164 - 2 (11 targets)
Chark seems to be having a new breakout game each week but his latest performance was the best of his entire career. He tore apart the Panthers elite pass defense and finished his day with an 8/164/2 statline on 11 targets, and he was just as bit as dominant as the numbers suggest, missing out on a third touchdown by only a yard.

Chark looked like a younger A.J. Green on Sunday thanks to elite body control and concentration going along with his speed and 6í4î frame. He caught everything that came his way and this was ultra-apparent on his second touchdown catch, with him extending the full length of his body and making a strong hands catch against tight coverage. Chark has become the team's unquestioned No. 1 WR.

WR Dede Westbrook, 58 offensive snaps, Rec: 7 - 82 - 0 (11 targets)
Westbrook started the season off slow during its first three weeks but he has turned in two strong performances in a row, though he was a bit less consistent against the Panthers than he was against the Denver Broncos. He caught seven passes for 82 yards, with his longest catch going for 30 yards, as he was able to find the soft zones in the Carolina defense early and often. His quickness off of the line and after the catch makes him dangerous on short to intermediate throws and this was the case against the Panthers.

On the flip side, Westbrook also dropped one pass and made a terrible mistake on special teams. With less than a minute left in the first half, head coach Doug Marrone used the last of his timeouts to give his offense a chance to get into field goal range and get points before the half. But the entire strategy was wasted when Westbrook caught the ensuing punt and ran the entire lateral distance of the field trying to make a play, despite there being almost no time in the half. He wasted almost 20 seconds and ended up actually losing three yards.

WR Chris Conley, 65 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 26 - 0 (3 targets)
Conley was barely used as a pass catching target against the Panthers, with Westbrook and Chark commanding most of Minshew's attention. He did catch a third-down pass on the game's final drive and then picked up major yards after the catch to make it a 26-yard gain. Otherwise, he saw two targets on Hail Mary passes at the end of the game.

WR Marqise Lee, 19 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 5 - 0 (2 targets)
Lee saw one target on Sunday, a five-yard out route on the game's final drive. He remains a non-factor in the offense.

TE James OShaughnessy, 38 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 57 - 0 (4 targets)
O’Shaughnessy was on track to have another good game in his expanded role in the Jaguars offense with three catches for 57 yards, but he tore his ACL during the second half, ending his season and leaving a gaping hole in the Jaguars offense. Geoff Swaim will likely step into his role until rookie Josh Oliver returns from injury.

Carolina Panthers

QB Kyle Allen, 65 offensive snaps, Pass: 17 - 30 - 181 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 1 - 4 - 0
Kyle Allen played in a controlled, game manager style fashion against the Jaguars, allowing superstar running back Christian McCaffrey to carry the load. Allen fumbled early - a real issue of his in his starts so far - but managed to recover it. Excelling off play action, Allen zipped in some nice, accurate passes to D.J. Moore and Curtis Samuel, giving his receivers a chance for yards after the catch. Allen did not put the ball in harm's way, simply throwing the ball away or taking the check down when it was demanded. Allen's lone touchdown pass came on an option route to McCaffrey, who put a move on a defender in space. With instant separation, Allen fired it quickly to McCaffrey, who did the rest. Allen left one or two passes a little high - particularly a red zone target to Samuel that could have been a touchdown - but that was the exception rather than the rule.

RB Christian McCaffrey, 56 offensive snaps, Pass: 0 - 1 - 0 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 19 - 176 - 2, Rec: 6 - 61 - 1 (9 targets)
Christian McCaffrey bolstered his early-season MVP case with a spectacular performance against Jacksonville. At every turn, he had a starring role to play. Early in the game McCaffrey got into a good rhythm, picking his spots intelligently and finishing runs by lowering his pads into contact. In the passing game McCaffrey was an absolute terror for the Jaguars defenders in space, who were often embarrassed and grabbing at air after a juke move. McCaffrey's first rushing touchdown came on a carry out of a shotgun formation in the red zone. Lined up to Kyle Allen's left, McCaffrey scooted left to right across the formation and proved too fast for the defense. The back finished in style by leaping over the top of a would-be tackler. The next time the team was set up in the red zone, McCaffrey ran a beautiful option route out of the tight slot in an empty formation. The linebacker on the play, Myles Jack, was completely flat-footed after the move in space, giving McCaffrey an easy catch and walk in for the score. As the game wore on, McCaffrey continued to bust some nice gains, but his longest run - also a touchdown - came on an 84-yard scamper. Navigating his way nicely behind his offensive line and, seeing that Jacksonville's linebackers had pursued too hard to the edge, McCaffrey blazed up the middle of the field for the score. McCaffrey continued to make special plays look routine. He could have added an extra rushing score but got stoned by Jacksonville on a 4th and 1 play near the goal line.

RB Reggie Bonnafon, 11 offensive snaps, Rush: 5 - 80 - 1 (1 targets)
Panthers backup running back Reggie Bonnafon came into the game late in the fourth quarter after Christian McCaffrey limped off. Bonnafon seized his opportunity, scoring on a long touchdown run against a tired Jacksonville defense after seeing the running lane quickly and hitting it hard. Bonnafon finished the game strongly with some steady carries to help the offense run some clock down.

WR D.J. Moore, 63 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 91 - 0 (8 targets)
Without lighting the game on fire, D.J. Moore proved his typically dependable presence for young quarterback Kyle Allen. Moore shows excellent technique with his hands in traffic, snagging difficult passes and making the process look straightforward. An early target on a screen pass couldn't connect, as pressure forced a low ball from Allen. Moore came into his own after that, though one pass on a slant pattern clanged off one of his hands when it appeared as if he could have attacked the ball with both. Moore operated mostly in the short to intermediate range of the field, but his most impressive play was also his deepest target. Allen spotted Moore isolated on a defensive back deep down the left sideline and unleashed a rainbow pass. Moore, recognising the cornerback had gotten on top of him, beautifully dove into the air and snagged the football over the defender's head. It was a play of supreme athleticism and a crucial catch on third down.

WR Curtis Samuel, 59 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - 25 - 0, Rec: 3 - 19 - 0 (6 targets)
The Panthers featured Curtis Samuel as a runner on a couple of plays in this game, including the very first offensive play. With Jacksonville lined up to stop an inside run, presumably to snuff out the Christian McCaffrey threat, Samuel was handed the ball on an end around, scooting off the left side for a first down carry. Later, offensive coordinator Norv Turner went back to the same play, only this time on a sweep. Samuel's speed proved too much for the Jaguars to contend with. As a receiver, Samuel was targeted on a quick slant in the end zone, but Kyle Allen's pass was too high for the short pass catcher to haul in. Samuel almost got into the end zone on a well-executed end around late in the game but was tackled yards shy. With Carolina trying to seal the game on a late third down play, Allen tossed a looping deep ball up to Samuel deep down the right sideline. The defender had excellent position and appeared to intercept the effort, but it was ruled incomplete after review.

WR Jarius Wright, 50 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 6 - 0 (3 targets)
After producing some pivotal plays against the Texans last time out, Jarius Wright assumed a more limited role in this game. His only catch came on a jailbreak screen pass into the left flat where he was able to patiently pick his way through the traffic in front of him to pick up a first down.

TE Greg Olsen, 64 offensive snaps (2 targets)
Greg Olsen was the odd man out in the Carolina passing attack, but primarily by necessity. The Panthers had to shuffle their offensive line this week, with injuries to Greg Little and Trai Turner forcing rookie Dennis Daley into the starting left tackle position. Olsen was often lined up to Daley's side, helping in pass protection and running fewer pass patterns. Olsen was targeted a couple of times, but one fell harmlessly to the turf after a tip while the other was well covered by the Jacksonville defender.