It’s been a wild roller coaster rookie year for Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew, but on Sunday he was part of history in Oakland. Positive history for the Jaguars and negative history for all-time for the Raiders.
That’s because, in the waning moments of the final Raiders game at the Oakland Coliseum, Minshew led the game-winning touchdown drive to defeat the Raiders and put he and Jacksonville in the history book.
Minshew’s four yard touchdown pass to Chris Conley with :31 remaining, capping a 65-yard, 7 play drive, as Jacksonville went on to a 20 – 16 victory snapping their five-game losing streak.
But, this comeback was much more then just winning a game.
This was the final game the Raiders will play in Oakland. And, in front of newly re-hired coach Jon Gruden and the tens of thousands in “The Black Hole,” they all were left stunned. The final memory after 60 years of Madden, Stabler and Al Davis’ “Sliver and Black” running rough-shod over opponents, is the Jaguars celebrating on their field.
A team that hadn’t won a West Coast game in 14 years.
Yes, the Raiders are headed to Las Vegas next season and everyone understood when the schedule came out in April, Jacksonville would be their final home opponent at the end of the regular season.
But, now they all have to live with the Jaguars putting on a 17-point rally in the second half to overcome a 16-3 deficit.
No, Sunday wasn’t supposed to end with Oakland’s $100 million quarterback Derek Carr being booed and screamed at, as he tried to say “thank you” to the fans, while leaving the field.
Then again, final games at historic stadiums don’t always go as planned for the home team.
The record shows that in 2007 the Virginia Cavaliers annihilated the Miami Hurricanes 48 – 0 at the famed Orange Bowl in the final Canes home game played there.
And, of course even more famously is the indelible image in January of 2003 of Buccaneers defensive back Ronde Barber racing 90+ yards with an interception return to seal the Bucs first ever NFC Championship Game win. That gave the Bucs a trip to Super Bowl 37, and permanently closed down Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia.
Then, there was Sunday. So much nostalgia flowing through the old Oakland Coliseum.
And yet, a rookie 6th round pick out of Washington State stole the show and the Raiders planned “curtain call” in the twilight Sunday night.
Minshew has now won five games as a starter his rookie season, and he may go on to even more successes later in his career. And, dare we even suggest a playoff win in his future?
Still, as all-time career moments go, there’s only one QB who can claim beating the Oakland Raiders on a last-second drive in the final game ever in their stadium.
Something that will be talked about for decades.
And, Gardner Minshew and the Jags made it happen Sunday.