Jaguars finally win at home, beat Bengals
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Jaguars finally have a result they can be proud of in Jacksonville.
The team had dominated games in Houston, London (against Baltimore), Pittsburgh and Indianapolis, winning each of those games by at least 22 points.
But, success eluded the Jaguars at EverBank Field in losses to Tennessee and the Los Angeles Rams.
The Jaguars utilized a quality defensive effort, a huge special teams play and an efficient outing from quarterback Blake Bortles to defeat the Cincinnati Bengals 23-7 on Sunday.
The Jaguars remain tied for first place in the AFC South with Tennessee at 5-3.
Cornerback Jaydon Mickens returned a punt 63 yards for a touchdown with 14:35 left in the fourth quarter to give the Jaguars a 23-7 lead. Mickens, promoted to the 53-man roster on Oct. 21, made a decisive move upfield, splitting the Bengals' cover unit before outracing them down the left sideline.
All three phases contributed to the win.
The Jaguars' defense held the Bengals (3-5) to 148 yards.
Bortles completed 24 of 38 passes for 259 yards with a touchdown and no turnovers. He also ran for 21 yards.
Bortles guided the Jaguars to a remarkable effort on third down, converting 12-of-18 situations.
The moment that will have the league talking occurred late in the first half.
Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey and Cincinnati receiver A.J. Green were both ejected in the final seconds of the first half. The two could clearly be seen talking to each other throughout the game. Finally, tensions hit a boiling point. Ramsey shoved Green after the whistle blew on a 1-yard run by Cincinnati running back Joe Mixon.
Green lost it.
The seventh-year veteran grabbed Ramsey by the neck from behind and slammed him to the ground. Green then delivered several punches to the second-year defensive back until a group of players jumped into the fray.
Benches cleared, and it took minutes before order was restored.
The Bengals took a knee to end the first half, down 13-7.
Green finished with one catch for 6 yards on two targets. Ramsey was credited with one tackle.
The Jaguars took a 10-0 lead on a 3-yard pass from Bortles to receiver Marqise Lee in the second quarter.
The Bengals answered on a 7-yard run by Mixon, cutting the lead to 10-7 with 4:13 left in the second quarter.
Jaguars kicker Josh Lambo connected on a 56-yard field goal with 23 seconds remaining in the first half.
Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton finished 10 of 18 for 136 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions.
NOTES: Jaguars rookie RB Leonard Fournette was a surprising inactive. The Jaguars said Fournette violated a team rule. Fournette, the fourth overall pick in the draft, entered the game sixth in the NFL in rushing with 596 yards and was tied for first with six rushing touchdowns. Fournette was trying to become the first player in NFL history to score a touchdown in his first seven games. He sat on the bench with a cap on while the offense started the game. ... The Bengals chose to make RB Jeremy Hill inactive. Hill is the team's second-leading rusher. Rookie WR John Ross, the ninth pick in the draft, was also inactive. ... Jaguars DT Marcell Dareus made his debut with the franchise after being traded from Buffalo on Oct. 27. Dareus did not start, but entered late in the first quarter. ... Bengals RT Jake Fisher (illness) left the game and was taken to a local hospital. DT Pat Sims (calf) also was knocked out of the game. ... Jaguars DE Calais Campbell notched his 11th sack of the season. ... The Jaguars are 3-0 against the AFC North with a game at Cleveland remaining on Nov. 19.