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Five key plays: Ravens 40, Jaguars 14

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Jacksonville Jaguars safety Josh Jones (29) intercepts the ball in front of Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Marquise Brown (15) during an NFL football game on Sunday, December 20, 2020 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Mikey Owens/NFL)

Senior writer John Oehser examines five key plays that shaped the Jaguars' 40-14 loss to the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank in Baltimore, Md., Sunday

1.An interception – then a safety. The Jaguars figured to need an early break or two to keep this one close Sunday against a Ravens team that must keep winning to make the postseason. They appeared to get just that – and to get some key early momentum – when Jaguars safety Josh Jones intercepted a deep pass from Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson to end the game's first possession. The play gave the Jaguars a first down at their 1, but the apparent break turned into Ravens points when strongside linebacker Matthew Judon got around tight end Tyler Eifert and sacked quarterback Gardner Minshew II in the end zone. Minshew pumped to pass but did not throw on 2nd-and-8 from the Jaguars 3, enabling Judon to get the sack and safety that gave the Ravens momentum and a 2-0 lead with 10:57 remaining in the first quarter.

2.Jackson-to-Boykin touchdown pass to consolidate the safety. Safeties hurt double because you give up points – and the opponent gets the ball immediately. The Ravens took over at their 32 after a free punt by Jaguars kicker Aldrick Rosas – punting for the first time in his career because the Jaguars' regular punter, Logan Cooke, was unavailable because of an illness. The Ravens used seven plays to drive 68 yards, capping the drive when Jackson looked off a receiver early on a 1st-and-goal from the 4 and found wide receiver Miles Boykin open in the corner of the end zone for a 9-0 lead with 6:35 remaining in the first quarter. The touchdown came one play after a 28-yard pass from Jackson to wide receiver Marquise Brown.

3.Queen sack and Dobbins' touchdown run. The Jaguars realistically felt out of this one after the early safety followed by the methodical touchdown drive for Boykin's touchdown. The Ravens then effectively put the game out of reach on their ensuing series, driving 49 yards on six plays and taking a 16-0 lead with running back J.K. Dobbins scored untouched on a two-yard run around the left side of the line. The drive came after linebacker Patrick Queen sacked Minshew on 4th-and-5 from the Ravens 47. Head Coach Doug Marrone said because of Cooke's absence his plan entering the game was to go for first downs on fourth downs if the Jaguars needed less than five yards from their own 45-yard line in. "Like anything, you make adjustments when things occur," Marrone said. "Did I feel forced to do that? No. I just thought that was the best chance for our team to win the game. Just because Logan wasn't able to play, that didn't cost us the game. I know we all understand that. But if you have those things occur, you have to adjust that. If tried to play the regular way, and things didn't work out then shame on me.'' Dobbins' touchdown was part of a long stretch of dominance for the Ravens' offense, which scored on six of seven possessions – including five touchdowns – after Jones' early interception.

4.Yannick Ngakoue second-quarter sack. The Ravens' dominance Sunday was such that there was really no "key play" after Dobbins' touchdown run gave them a two-touchdown lead in the second quarter. But the Ravens' solidified and built on that lead with a balanced performance that seemed defined by a resurgent pass rush. The Ravens sacked Minshew four times in the first half, which contributed to the defense preventing the Jaguars from ever moving inside the Ravens 43 in the half. Among the Ravens' sacks: one from former Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue, now with the Ravens after being traded in the offseason from the Jaguars to the Minnesota Vikings, who later traded him to the Ravens. Sunday's sack on Minshew was Ngakoue's second sack with the Ravens in eight games. Ngakoue finished with two sacks and a forced fumble Sunday, his most productive game since joining the Ravens.

5.Minshew to Robinson. Like anything else that happened after the first quarter and a half, this "key play" didn't really shape the game. But the Jaguars' first touchdown Sunday was impressive. On the first possession of the second half, the Jaguars drove 75 yards. On 3rd-and-4 from the Ravens 17, Minshew threw a touch pass to running back James Robinson. The pass was perfect, and Robinson made a nice over-the-shoulder catch and got inside the front pylon for a 17-yard touchdown. The play marked the 10th touchdown of Robinson's rookie season – making him the first undrafted rookie to score 10 touchdowns since Dominic Rhodes with Indianapolis in 2001. The touchdown made it 26-7, Ravens.

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