Minshew, Jaguars close out season with 38-20 win over Colts
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - This much is certain for the Jacksonville Jaguars: Minshew Mania will continue into 2020.
Coach Doug Marrone might even be around for it.
Gardner Minshew turned in his best performance in two months, throwing for 295 yards and three touchdowns in a 38-20 victory over Indianapolis on Sunday.
The rookie closed out Jacksonville's disappointing year by strengthening his case to be the team's starting quarterback over Nick Foles next season. Marrone seemingly helped his own cause, too.
Marrone's status has been unclear since team owner Shad Khan fired top executive Tom Coughlin last week. Khan will meet with Marrone, general manager Dave Caldwell and others in the coming days before deciding anyone's fate. Marrone and Caldwell have two years remaining on their contracts.
“Am I disappointed? Obviously. Am I concerned? Yes. You're always concerned when you have a disappointing season," Marrone said. "But for this moment, when I leave here, I might have a little bit more than one beer."
Minshew and the Jaguars (6-10) certainly made Marrone look good in the regular-season finale for both teams. Minshew connected with Keelan Cole, Ryquell Armstead and Dede Westbrook for touchdowns.
The sixth-round draft pick was at his best on consecutive passes to Cole, a 45-yard precision floater down the sideline and then a 14-yard strike while on the run for a score.
He looked like a rookie at times as well, with a fumble, an interception and two point-blank misfires in the red zone. Still, he helped Jacksonville win at home for the first time in two months.
“At least from now until whenever we start the offseason ... the guys in that locker room can feel good about something,” Marrone said.
The Colts (7-9) had a chance to finish .500 or better for the seventh time in the past eight years. But they did little on offense in the second half and finished below .500 for the second time in three seasons.
“Obviously not the way we envisioned ending with this game,” Colts coach Frank Reich said. “But I’ve been in this league a long time and I know we’re very close, we’re very close. We just need to coach a little bit better, play a little bit better, and for a handful of plays, it could be a different story. But today was disappointing.”
Jacoby Brissett fumbled on consecutive drives in the fourth, ending any chance Indianapolis had to end the year with consecutive victories. Yannick Ngakoue caused the first one that Calais Campbell returned for a touchdown and a 31-20 lead.
“It changed the game,” Brissett said. “I can’t be making those types of mistakes.”
Campbell chucked the ball into the stands, and Ngakoue yelled “pay me my money, man.” Ngakoue is a pending free agent and likely to get a franchise tag in the offseason.
“I've seen a lot and learned a lot being here in this organization," he said. "I'm forever thankful for them giving me an opportunity. At the end of the day, I don't know what the future holds. Business is business.”
Brissett turned it over again on the next drive. The late turnovers allowed Jacksonville to top 30 points for the first time in 15 months, since Week 2 in 2018.
Campbell stumped for Marrone after the win.
“We've got a lot of respect for him,” Campbell said. “We didn’t play as good as we wanted to, but I think we can win a Super Bowl with him as the coach.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.