CINCINNATI, Ohio – They did what they had to do.
And even if it took a while to secure the victory, that was good enough for the Jaguars in a game they had to win.
Rookie Gardner Minshew II threw a fourth-quarter touchdown pass and defensive end Yannick Ngakoue scored on late interception return as the Jaguars (3-4) snapped a two-game losing streak with a 27-17 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals (0-7) in front of 42,784 at Paul Brown Stadium Sunday afternoon.
“It was huge,” Minshew said. “We were kind of backed up into a corner, on the road. I feel like it brought us together and really got us focused on what we needed to do.”
Kicker Josh Lambo converted field goals of 21, 29, 37 and 26 yards to salvage points for a Jaguars offense that struggled to finish long drives much of the game.
Minshew’s two-yard pass to wide receiver Keelan Cole early in the fourth quarter gave the Jaguars a 15-10 lead, and Minshew followed that with a crisp pass for a two-point conversion to wide receiver Chris Conley.
“We moved the ball all day,” Minshew said. “We had a bunch of yards. We ran the ball really well and controlled the clock. There were a lot of positives to take from it. If we clean some things up in the red zone, this isn’t a close game.”
Ngakoue returned an interception 23 yards for a touchdown with 4:18 remaining after defensive tackle Taven Bryan pressured Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton into a short, errant pass. That gave the Jaguars a 24-10 lead, essentially securing the victory.
“We were tired of losing,” Ngakoue said. “We’ve got to win. Every win is another step closer to the playoffs. It’s critical.”
Safety Ronnie Harrison intercepted Dalton with four minutes remaining to secure the victory, and the Jaguars at that point had interceptions on three consecutive possessions after having just one before that this season.
Linebacker Myles Jack’s interception at the Jaguars 10 stopped a Bengals drive with 8:40 remaining in the fourth quarter. The Jaguars led 17-10 at the time.
Minshew, making his sixth consecutive start in place of injured starter Nick Foles (broken clavicle), completed 15 of 32 passes for 255 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions. Wide receiver Dede Westbrook caught six passes for 103 yards for the Jaguars and Conley caught three passes for 83 yards.
Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette rushed for 131 yards on 29 carries.
“It was good to get a good to finally get a W under out belt,” Fournette said. “For the first time, all phases – offense, defense, special teams – played a good game today.”
The Jaguars’ defense dominated the Bengals’ offense much of the game, holding Cincinnati to 33 yards rushing and 291 total yards. The defense registered four takeaways – all in the second half – after entering the game with one.
Dalton completed 24 of 43 passes for 276 yards and a touchdown with three interceptions.
Jaguars rookie Josh Allen registered a third-quarter sack, giving him a team-high five for the season. Jaguars defensive tackle Abry Jones also had a sack.
“It’s only over if you quit,” defensive tackle Taven Bryan said. “We don’t have any quitters here.”