Through the first three weeks of the 2019 campaign, the third-year running back rushed for a combined 179 yards. Head coach Doug Marrone attributed his lackluster start to the O-line "not giving him a chance" given their poor blocking and inability to create gaps for the powerful back to rip through.
On Thursday, Fournette said the run game had been "very frustrating" but he remained hopeful things would improve. On the road against a formidable Broncos front-line who, despite their poor start, boasts game-changers in Von Miller and Bradley Chubb, Fournette broke through and accumulated a career-high 225 yards. Needless to say, his optimism finally paid off.
"I'm happy," Fournette told reporters. "It's just one start. We've got plenty more games to go. During practice, we took our time out to try to fix the running game and we came out and we were successful."
Fournette added that his mentality coming into Week 4 was all about "making one guy miss, not letting one guy tackle you," something he did in spades on the left side of the line of scrimmage. According to Next Gen Stats, 15 of his 29 carries were wide left of the LOS for 179 yards. His biggest play of the day was an 81-yard rush, the second-longest of his career, that came on, you guessed it, that side of the field.
"All the guys put a body on a body. They also kind of stopped Von and Chubb; those are two good athletes and they did a great job handling those two guys," Fournette said of his O-line.
After dealing with a nagging hamstring injury over the past year, Fournette was due for a big day, and Week 4 was that moment. So, what exactly led to his huge game? Fournette has an idea.
"The O-linemen had a dinner Thursday and [center Brandon Linder] and everybody else was like 'We're going to get you there this week' and I believed in them," Fournette said. "I think little things like that, just bonding outside of football, going to lunches with each other. That's part of timing, too. We're getting the trust back."
Who knew food would be the thing that re-connected the two sides? Whatever the case, it looks like it would be of everyone's best interests to make sure Fournette shares a meal or two with the big guys leading into games, especially if it produces these types of results.