Detroit jumped out to a 14-3 lead Sunday and kept its foot on the gas in a 34-16 win over the Jaguars to improve to 2-3 on the season, while Jacksonville fell to 1-5 last Sunday at TIAA Bank Field.
The Lions held double-digit leads in all three losses this season and six consecutive games, but could not hold on for a victory. That was not the case against the Jaguars.
“We’ve just got to start making some plays and run the football better. I mean, I think there’s a lot of things that we can do for a lot of players that we’ve got to continue to take a look at. So, I think it’s all a team effort,” said Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone. “Like I told the team. We all have to do a better job. So, you know, we dug ourselves in this hole, we’re not playing very well, we’re not making plays at critical times in the game, [we’re] falling behind, trying to play catch-up too early, not making plays early enough to keep the game within one score.”
Jacksonville quarterback Gardner Minshew completed 25 of his 44 passes for 243 yards with a touchdown, a fumble and interception by safety Duron Harmon.
“They’re a particularly good defense and very well coached,” Minshew said. “That is one thing that stands out. They did a good job mixing their blitzes and mixing their coverage. We never really got settled in and we just need to do a better job starting faster and getting in that rhythm a little sooner.”
Jaguars undrafted rookie running back James Robinson totaled 53 scrimmage yards, 29 rushing, 24 receiving and one score against the Lions. In 2020, Robinson has 362 rushing yards and three TDs on 85 carries and 207 receiving yards and one touchdown on 23 catches.
Another rookie running back, Detroit’s D’Andre Swift, had his best game of the year, rushing 14 times for 116 yards and two touchdowns. For the game, Detroit rushed for 180 yards.
Lions QB Matthew Stafford completed 19-of-31 passes for 223 yards with one touchdown and one interception. The Lions added two Matt Prater field goals.
The Jaguars used a 35-yard pass from Minshew to Keelan Cole Sr. to get into range for kicker Jon Brown, who connected from 31 yards out and the Jaguars first points on the TIAA Bank Field scoreboard. Cole caught six passes and turned in a game-high 143 receiving yards.
Brown, making his NFL debut, is the fifth kicker used by the Jaguars this season. The field-goal attempt was the first of the former NCAA soccer player’s career after going undrafted in 2016.
Detroit’s defense played inspired, holding Jacksonville to just 275 total yards and 44 yards on the ground.
Stafford threw his fourth interception of the season. He was intercepted early in the third quarter by linebacker Joe Schobert at the Lions’ 20-yard line. But Detroit’s defense held and made the hosts turn the ball over on downs with a failed 4th and 4 attempts from the 14-yard line.
The Jaguars travel Sunday to play the Los Angeles Chargers at 4:25 p.m. The game will be on CBS.
GAME NOTES: The Jaguars have given up at least 30 points in five straight games. … Swift is the first Lions rookie to run for 100-plus yards and score two touchdowns in a game since Barry Sanders in 1989. Swift came into the contest rushing just 12 times for 42 yards with one score in four games. … The Lions dominated the time of possession battle 35:27-24:30.