JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The Jaguars (5-3) won a chippy battle against the Cincinnati Bengals (3-5) Sunday at EverBank Field.
The 23-7 win was the team's first at EverBank Field since December 2016.
The victory was accomplished despite the benching of running back Leonard Fournette prior to the game and the ejection of cornerback Jalen Ramsey in the second quarter.
Fournette was held from the game because he violated team rules.
Ramsey was ejected with only 18 seconds left in second quarter. The Jaguars cornerback and Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green were kicked out of the game after getting into a fight that led to an all-out brawl between both teams.
Without Fournette, the Jaguars running backs posted 128 rushing yards against the Bengals.
Running backs T.J. Yeldon, Chris Ivory and Corey Grant made up for Fournette's absence. Ivory led the group with 69 rushing yards. Yeldon and Grant chipped in 70 total yards.
The running game support helped Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles put together his second-straight impressive performance. The quarterback led four scoring drives while completing 24-of-38 passes for 259 yards and a touchdown. He also added 21 rushing yards.
Bortles' top target was wide receiver Marqise Lee, who caught eight passes for 75 yards and a touchdown. Tight end Marcedes Lewis added 49 receiving yards on three receptions.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Jaguars sacked Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton two times. Defensive ends Malik Jackson and Calais Campbell both produced solo sacks on the day.
The Jaguars' defense held the Bengals to 119 passing yards and 29 rushing yards.
Dalton completed just 10-of-18 passes for 136 yards. Running back Joe Mixon was held to 31 rushing yards and a touchdown.
The offense and defense were assisted by a 63-yard punt return touchdown by first-year wide receiver Jaydon Mickens. It was the team's first punt return touchdown since December 2015.
Kicker Josh Lambo was 3-of-3 on field goals, including a 56-yard attempt, which was the team's largest successful attempt of the season. The 56-yard field goal was also a career-high for Lambo.
The Bengals were called for eight penalties for 78 yards. The Jaguars were flagged five times for 50 yards.
Fournette's absence didn't stop the Jaguars from moving the ball against the Bengals.
On the opening drive, Bortles connected with three different receivers for 42 receiving yards to move the ball into Bengals territory. Unfortunately for Jacksonville, Yeldon was hit in the backfield by former Jaguars defensive end Chris Smith at the Cincinnati 25-yard line and fumbled the ball. The Bengals' defense was able to recover.
The Bengals failed to take advantage of the turnover, as the Jaguars' defense forced Cincinnati's offense off the field in just five plays.
The Jaguars' offense came roaring back with a 37-yard completion from Bortles to Lewis. Quickly set up in Bengals territory, Bortles went to the air again. Rookie wide receiver Keelan Cole made a one-handed catch across the middle, gaining 28 yards in the process.
The Jaguars would end up scoring on the drive. Lambo connected on a 32-yard field goal attempt. Jacksonville led 3-0 with 2:34 left in the first quarter.
The Jaguars defense continued its dominant play forcing the Bengals offense to punt after another handful of snaps. The Jaguars shut out the Bengals in the first quarter, which was the fifth-straight period without points for a Jacksonville opponent.
Following a Bengals punt, the Jaguars continued to move the ball on offense. Bortles hit Ivory for a 29-yard gain on a screen pass. The big play put the Jaguars at the 50-yard line. The Jaguars used short passes and running plays to move the ball deep into Bengals territory.
Bortles capped the drive with a three-yard passing touchdown to Lee. It was Lee's first score of the season. Following a successful extra point attempt by Lambo, the Jaguars led 10-0 with 6:57 left in the first half.
The Bengals showed some life on the next drive. Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton hit tight end Tyler Kroft for a 59-yard reception that put Cincinnati the Jaguars' 19-yard line. Kroft was able to get loose because a pair of Jaguars players collided trying to make a play on the ball.
Deep in Jacksonville territory, Bengals running back Joe Mixon ran 10 yards for a touchdown. Bengals kicker Marshall Koehn connected on the follow up extra point. The Jaguars led 10-7 with 4:13 left in the first half.
The Jaguars went back on the attack on the next drive. A big kickoff return by Grant was wiped by holding call on special teams, but the Jaguars made up for the mishap quickly with the running game.
Jacksonville eventually made up enough ground to set up a 56-yard field goal attempt for Lambo. The kicker connected on a wobbly ball for the long distance field goal. The Jaguars were up 13-7 with 22 seconds left in the first half.
On the next possession, a large brawl broke out between both teams because of a fight involving Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey and Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green.
Ramsey pushed Green after a running play and the wide receiver responded by throwing the cornerback to the ground and punching him in the helmet.
Several players got involved in the scrum. Both Ramsey and Green were ejected from the game.
Following halftime, the Bengals started with the ball. Cincinnati was able to move the ball after halftime, getting to midfield in a couple of plays. However, the Jaguars defense was able to stop the momentum before the ball passed Jacksonville territory.
The Jaguars added to their lead on the next possession. Bortles led a nine-play, 79-yard drive that culminated with a 25-yard field goal from Lambo. The Jaguars led 16-7 with 6:51 left in the third quarter.
The Jaguars defense continued to make the most of its snaps on the next drive. Jacksonville forced a punt that was returned 62 yards for a touchdown by Jaguars wide receiver Jaydon Mickens. Following an extra point, the Jaguars led 23-7 with 14:35 left in the fourth quarter.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Ivory posted 103 total yards on 23 total touches against the Bengals. Losing Fournette could have been a major blow but Jacksonville was relieved by the work of Ivory.
PLAY OF THE GAME
Mickens' 63-yard punt return touchdown essentially ended the game for the Bengals. He made several Bengals players miss and finished the play with a flip into the end zone.
STAT OF THE GAME
The Jaguars were 9-of-11 on third down in the first half. That's an impressive mark when you consider the Jaguars were missing their starting running back and right guard.
The Jaguars were without right guard A.J. Cann due to a triceps injury.
Defensive end Dante Fowler suffered an elbow injury in the second quarter. Offensive tackle Cam Robinson left the game with ankle injury in the third quarter. Both players eventually returned to the game.
Follow Mike Kaye on Twitter at @Mike_E_Kaye.
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