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Jaguars win thriller in “Charm City”, stop road loss skid at 13

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The Jacksonville Jaguars looked to break their streak of thirteen straight road losses in a trip to a fellow 2-6 team in Baltimore. And they pulled it off.

There was reason to hope they would do just that going into the game. The Ravens were without Steve Smith, and the Ravens pass defense had been one of the worst in the league going into Sunday.

Of course, the Jaguars’ defense had been exploitable also. The Ravens, in going for it on 4th and 4 inside the Jaguars’ 40 in the first quarter, attempted to get over on them, but the defense sussed out a dumpoff to Crockett Gilmore, the Ravens’ TE, getting the ball back for Blake Bortles with decent field position.

And then Bortles put in work. Found Bryan Walters across midfield, setting up a couple of big gains for T.J. Yeldon that moved the ball into field goal range, and a 14 yard quarterback draw from Bortles that, with a defensive holding penalty, moved the Jags into the red zone, where he found Allen Hurns for a touchdown pass.

A lead was established. But the arm of Bortles, which gave it, also took it away, as Bortles threw a pop fly pick right into the waiting arms of Lardarius Webb, giving Baltimore the ball inside the 30, setting up a two play drive that tied it up.

The Jags answered, sort of. Bortles with a 5 for 5 drive for 45 yards, setting up first and goal inside the five, before two incomplete fade route calls and a thwarted shotgun draw by Yeldon caused the drive to sputter out.

The Jags, up by a field goal, couldn’t hold the lead, with Joe Flacco finding Maxx Williams for his second passing touchdown of the day, setting up the Ravens’ 4 point halftime lead.

The glaring stats: Flacco with 204 first half yards passing. Jags’ running back T.J. Yeldon: 34 yards rushing.

On the first play of the second half, however, a glimpse of an alternate reality: Flacco’s pass to Kamar Aiken broken up with a head shot by Jags’ linebacker Paul Posluszny, and picked off, giving them ball with good field position.

Bortles, in the midst of a streak of seven missed passes, could do nothing with it. A field goal, however, closed the gap to one point. Then the second Davon House pick of Flacco on the day gave the Jaguars the ball back.

Would they, finally, be able to impose their will on the Ravens?

Short answer: no.

A drive sputtered out, impotent, deep in Jaguars’ territory. Then a punt. Then a return that, even with a penalty against the Ravens for a foul on the return, set the Ravens up nicely… until a sack, a Flacco fumble, and a recovery by Tyson Alualu gave the Jags the ball yet again.

Would they, finally, be able to impose their will on the Ravens?

Short answer: not particularly.

Bortles found Hurns for 18 on 3rd and 16, making a tough catch, then setting up a 16 yard dart off tackle by Yeldon. and then another catch in traffic by Hurns that put Jacksonville in a first and goal posture.

From there, another miss on a fade route, then a run for a couple of yards by Yeldon, then another fruitless fade and a shanked field goal that completely wasted the turnover.

As the fourth quarter began, the Jaguars had the ball yet again, though. Again, nothing could be done with it. A three and out, punctuated by an ignominious sack… then a fumbled punt return (the fourth Baltimore giveaway on the day) gave the Jags the ball, yet again, in Ravens’ territory.

Could they, this time, impose their will?

A flag for a Baltimore headshot on a Jags’ WR on a third down duck gave Jacksonville a first down on the Baltimore 15. And then, at long last, a 15 yard strike to #15, Allen Robinson, and the Jags went up by five.

But Joe Flacco and the Ravens were not done. A balanced drive, with Flacco throwing to a bunch of no-names, ended with Flacco finding Chris Givens for six, giving Baltimore another lead.

One point down. The Jags, if they wanted a shot of moving to 3-6 and making their Thursday night tilt with Tennessee relevant, needed to get it done here with half the fourth quarter to go.

And they did. Sort of. Allen Robinson, on a 16 yard play that looked busted before the throw, turned nothing into something near midfield. But then the drive stalled out.

The Jags punted the ball back with just four minutes to go.

They got the ball back with just over a minute. And 80 yards to go. And no timeouts.

The Ravens were giving away the middle of the field, and Bortles traded yardage for time, eventually getting, after a facemask on the last play of the game, when Bortles was being sacked, to a final field goal attempt from 53 by the unpredictable Jason Myers, who has not exactly been money this year.

And from 53 yards.


Was good.

The 3-6 Jaguars, full of renewed hope, have a chance to win their second game in five days against Tennessee, at home, on a rainy Thursday.

In the AFC South this year, 4-6 means you are very much in it.

For Jason Myers, this is redemption. For Gus Bradley, it’s the boost he needs. And for longsuffering Jacksonville fans, it’s one step closer to relevance.

They went into a tough stadium and beat a team they should have beaten.

And they have the chance to do it again Thursday in front of a national audience.

A.G. Gancarski has written a weekly column for Jacksonville’s Folio Weekly since 2003. His writings on politics, culture, and sport have appeared in the Washington Times, the Daily Caller, and the American Conservative. His radio and TV appearances include frequent contributions to WJCT-FM (Jacksonville’s Public Radio station); additionally, he has been a guest on Huff Post Live and the Savage Nation radio show. Gancarski can be reached at

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