JACKSONVILLE – The Mania subsided – for a week, anyway.
With rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew II – aka, Minshew Mania – struggling for the first time in six NFL appearances, a strong defensive performance wasn’t enough Sunday and the Jaguars lost to the New Orleans Saints, 13-6, in front of 64,341 at TIAA Bank Field in downtown Jacksonville.
“It was a tough day; they are a good team,” Minshew said late Sunday afternoon.
Saints quarterback Teddy Bridgewater’s four-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jared Cook with 11:53 remaining was the game’s first and only touchdown and snapped a 6-6 tie.
“I thought it was a hard-fought defensive battle,” Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone said. “I think everyone that was out there saw that. … Offensively, we weren’t in sync. We’ve got to do a better job there.”
The Jaguars (2-4) lost a second straight game after two consecutive victories. The Saints (5-1) won their fourth consecutive game.
Minshew, who had played remarkably well in his first four NFL starts in place of injured starter Nick Foles (clavicle), completed 14 of 29 passes for 163 yards and no touchdowns Sunday. He threw his first interception since Week 1, a third-quarter interception that led to a New Orleans field goal.
“Each week has its own challenges,” Minshew said. “There was no point in time where we didn’t feel like we could go win the game. We moved the ball when we did what we’re supposed to do. When we didn’t, we didn’t move the ball.
“Anytime we start getting momentum, I feel like we can do it every time. We’re going to look back and kick ourselves because we know we can do it every time. We just got to get it fixed and be ready next week.”
The Jaguars’ defense, a week after allowing 285 yards rushing in a loss at Carolina, played well through much of the game Sunday and held New Orleans to 326 total yards – 104 rushing.
Bridgewater, starting a fourth consecutive game in place of injured starter Drew Brees, completed 24 of 36 passes for 240 yards and a touchdowns with no interceptions.
The Jaguars turned in three sacks Sunday, with defensive end Josh Allen getting one, defensive end Lerentee McCray registering one and defensive end Dawuane Smoot adding one. Allen now has four sacks this season and Smoot has three; Allen has four sacks in the last four games.
The Jaguars did not get a takeaway Sunday. The defense now has forced one turnover in the first six games.
“We didn’t play well enough to win the game,” defensive end Calais Campbell said. “It’s tough taking a loss like that. We had our opportunities to make them lose yards and good plays that we could have made, but we just have to learn from this game.”