What we learned from Jaguars' win over Titans

*Minshew Mania went prime time on Thursday night, as the rookie quarterback led the Jacksonville Jaguars (1-2) to a 20-7 win over the division-rival Tennessee Titans (1-2). Here's what we learned from the soggy affair: *

  1. Welcomed back to Duval by a swath of mustachioed maniacs chanting his name, Gardner Minshew played to type. The accurate Air Raid heir threw two touchdowns within the first nine minutes of game action on Thursday night, including a stadium-shaking 22-yard dime to D.J. Chark. On the night, Minshew completed two-thirds of his throws (bringing his 77.6 completion percentage down a smidge) for 204 yards, showing veteran mobility and pocket presence over the course of Thursday's sloppy tussle. Whereas his counterpart was sacked nine times, Minshew was not taken down even once. In just three appearances, the 23-year-old Wazzu rookie already has the respect of his teammates and the admiration of online absurdists. With Nick Foles on injured reserve until Week 11, Minshew has half a season to win over more support in the locker room and in the court of public opinion. While it's too early to affirm Minshew deserves to keep Jacksonville's starting job over a Super Bowl MVP like Foles upon the latter's return, the Mississippi Mustache has established himself as a cultural, if not football, force to be reckoned with.
  1. Sacksonville is back-sonville. After logging just four sacks in their first two games, the Jaguars ripped apart Tennessee's offensive line and took advantage of a consistently hesitant Marcus Mariota to the tune of nine sacks. Nine! Three of those QB takedowns came at the hands of Calais Campbell, who recorded his first three-sack game since his first outing as a Jaguar in Week 1 of 2017. The Jags front seven had a field day against a Tennessee offensive line that was missing its starting left tackle and was suspect on the interior, with six Jaguars recording at least a half-sack. The most positive development was Jacksonville's seventh overall pick, Josh Allen, logging his first two career sacks and forcing his first fumble. If Jacksonville can pair that ferocious and familiar pass rush with a stable secondary for weeks to come, the Jags won't even need Minshew Mania to contend in the AFC South.
  1. On the other end of Jacksonville's nine sacks was Mariota, who was lifeless with the game on the line for the second week in the row. Mariota's 304 passing yards, his most since Sept. 2018, suggest that the Titans QB figured it out and was lighting it up in Duval, but his garbage-time accumulation hides the fact that Mariota once again took terrible sacks (nine, in total), completed barely 50 percent of his passes and led just one scoring drive in 11 tries. The Titans signal-caller's performance was so off that Ryan Tannehill's name was floated postgame as an option under center going forward. Titans coach Mike Vrabel said after the game that Tannehill was "not very" close to entering the defeat. A couple more nights like this one, with Mariota tripping over his offensive linemen's heels and his passes fluttering into the sod, might have Vrabel thinking otherwise.
  1. Jalen Ramsey Watch 2019: With trade rumors swirling that the cornerback could be dealt as early as Friday, Ramsey was active and available for Thursday night's game. Jacksonville didn't withhold him either, fearing potential injury or some other devaluation. Ramsey played on all 75 of Jacksonville's defensive snaps, made nine combined tackles and forced a fumble. In what could possibly be Ramsey's last game in black and teal, the corner let his play speak louder than his words. Ramsey refused to talk after the game about the possibility of being traded within the next 24 hours. He's said enough.
  1. Are we sure Leonard Fournette isn't the top-five pick Jacksonville should be offloading? The 2017 No. 4 overall selection was enjoying the worst stat line of his young career Thursday night before breaking off a 69-yard run deep in the fourth quarter. On his 14 other scampers, Fournette gained a grand total of negative-3 yards. Fournette experienced more "success" catching dump-downs from Minshew, but just one of his six receptions for 26 yards picked up a first down. Running north-south in space, Fournette is as good as any Pro Bowl back. But he has to get there. Fournette has spent more time in the backfield than the open field this season, a sign he's not making progress in-game or game-to-game.
  1. If you like penalties -- first off, what's wrong with you? -- this was the game for you. Fifteen penalties were called in the first half, more than the 14 points that were scored at the time. The constant tossing of yellow flags slowed Thursday night's prime time game to a halt at certain points and earned the ire of many around the league. Even quarterbacks, including Tom Brady and Kurt Warner, were frustrated at the over-policing of roughing the passer calls. When you've lost the QBs...
  1. As if it wasn't already apparent, the AFC South is wide open, with a capital "W" and a capital "IDE OPEN." Through two-plus weeks, no team is undefeated and no team is winless. Two clubs -- Jacksonville and Indianapolis -- don't have their starting quarterbacks from August, but seem unfazed by it. Houston has the division's most dynamic offense but needed a stop at the one-inch line to beat the Jags. Tennessee is perpetually .500. The AFC South might not be entertaining in the classical sense, but it's always competitive -- and this year is no different.
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