There was more electricity than expected on Thursday surrounding a team improving to 1-2 with a win over the Tennessee Titans.
Jacksonville Jaguars fans can thank Gardner Minshew.
The sixth-round rookie quarterback who took over for an injured Nick Foles did his best Drew Brees impression with some pinpoint dimes in a thorough 20-7 victory over the Titans.
Minshew impresses with precision passes
By the end of the night, he had posted a tidy 20-for-30 stat line for 204 yards and two touchdowns that didn’t do justice to some of the precision downfield pass he completed in tight spaces to covered receivers.
He opened the scoring with a perfect floater to James O'Shaughnessy on a play-action pass that found the tight end wide open in the end zone.
But he really turned heads on Jacksonville’s second drive with a 28-yard dart to a streaking Dede Westbrook that just cleared the outstretched hands of Titans cornerback Malcolm Butler, who had Westbrook pinned against the right sideline.
It was a confident, perfectly executed pass to a player in tight coverage.
It set up another beauty from Minshew, who finished the drive with a 22-yard rainbow that fell perfectly into the hands of wide receiver DJ Chark, who corralled the ball in the end zone despite tight coverage — again from Butler — to secure a 14-0 lead for Jacksonville.
Minshew mania had officially arrived.
Minshew victimized Butler yet again in the third quarter for his longest completion of the night, a 37-yard back-shoulder strike to Chark, who was pinned against the right sideline. The throw set up a field goal that gave the Jaguars a 17-0 lead, more than enough against the hapless Titans offense.
Jags, NFL celebrate Minshew mania
The Jaguars didn’t need much more from Minshew from there. Jacksonville’s defense did the rest, continuing to pile up nine sacks throughout the late stages of the game that coronated Minshew as Jacksonville’s best hope for success this season.
The NFL Network postgame set celebrated Minshew and his mustache after the game.
And Jaguars twitter had fun with his big night, while taking a swipe at Titans coach Mike Vrabel.
New face of the franchise
The Jaguars paid Foles in the offseason, hoping he could lift the offense to be the competent counterpart to their high-end defense that Blake Bortles failed to accomplish.
But things change fast in the NFL. And the Jaguars are happy to make Minshew and his mustache the face of the franchise.
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