JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — With A.J. Green and Jalen Ramsey ejected for fighting, Jaydon Mickens delivered the knockout blow by returning a punt 63 yards for a touchdown, helping the Jacksonville Jaguars beat the Cincinnati Bengals 23-7 Sunday.
The Jaguars (5-3) won consecutive games for the first time in 13 months and were victorious at EverBank Field for the first time since last December.
Blake Bortles threw for 259 yards and a touchdown in another efficient performance. Marqise Lee had his first TD reception of the season and responded by punting the ball into the stands. And Jacksonville’s defense handled Cincinnati’s woeful offense for most of the afternoon.
But most of the talk will center on Green and Ramsey.
The perennial Pro Bowl receiver retaliated against the trash-talking cornerback in a violent way late in the first half. After Ramsey knocked Green to the ground at the end of a running play, Green grabbed Ramsey around the neck and slammed him to the ground. Green then delivered numerous punches to Ramsey’s helmet — never the smartest idea — and put another MMA-style choke hold on Ramsey. It was the kind of aggressive attack that could lead to a suspension.
Players from both sidelines rushed the field, pushing, pulling, shoving, screaming and looking like they would brawl.
Coaches and officials stepped in and prevented a melee. Green and Ramsey were ejected, a decision that prompted loud objections from Jacksonville’s coaching booth next to the press box. Jaguars executive Tom Coughlin and general manager Dave Caldwell were in the box.
Players jawed even as they left the field for halftime, and there was plenty of chippy play in the second half.
Mickens silenced the Bengals (3-5) when he weaved across the field for a touchdown on the second play of the fourth quarter. It was the big play Jacksonville needed for its first winning streak of the season.
Cincinnati finished with 148 yards, 59 on a second-quarter pass from Andy Dalton to Tyler Kroft.
Jaguars rookie running back Leonard Fournette was inactive for violating a team rule. Jacksonville made the surprise announcement 90 minutes before kickoff. It’s unclear what Fournette did to draw coach Doug Marrone’s punishment.
“This has been addressed internally and further details will not be made public,” Marrone said.
Fournette leads the team with 596 yards rushing and seven touchdowns. He missed Jacksonville’s last game, two weeks ago at Indianapolis, because of a sprained right ankle, But he practiced all week and had been scheduled to return against the Bengals.
Bengals: Starting right tackle Jake Fisher was taken to a local hospital with an undisclosed illness. … Nose tackle Pat Sims left in the first quarter with a right calf injury and did not return. … Running back Jeremy Hill, who started the first seven games, was scratched because of an ankle injury. Hill was not on the injury report all week.
Jaguars: Left tackle Cam Robinson reinjured his left ankle, but returned to the game. … Defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. injured his right elbow but returned.
The Jaguars welcomed back nearly 60 former players for their annual homecoming game. In conjunction with the reunion, the Jaguars wore teal jerseys and black pants for the first time since December 2006.
Bengals: Wrap up a three-game stretch against the AFC South by playing Tennessee. It’s the second of three consecutive road games, a stretch that could determine whether Cincinnati is a playoff contender down the stretch.
Jaguars: Host the Los Angeles Chargers, who have won six in a row in the series. Jacksonville’s last victory against the Chargers came in 2007, the last time the Jags made the playoffs.