The Jacksonville Jaguars lost 19-7 to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, thanks in part to an anemic offense and a rookie quarterback making understandable, yet frustrating, mistakes.
One such mistake occurred at the beginning of the fourth quarter. With the Jaguars trailing 10-9, the Steelers were driving. Already in field goal range, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger rolled to his left and was hit from behind by Abry Jones, who forced a fumble. Andre Branch quickly jumped on it.
Jaguars now have the ball and they're only down by a point.
But just two plays later, Bortles throws a pick six interception to Brice McCain on a pass intended to Allen Hurns on the right sideline.
In addition to blaming Bortles for making a poor decision and throw, many immediately blamed offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch's playcalling and his unwillingness to attack the middle of the field.
After the game, however, Bortles said that the original play was a run and that he checked out of it in favor of a pass.
"I checked to it. It wasn’t a good check anyway," Bortles said immediately following the game. "I should have stayed with the play that was called, but it just a bad read by me. Allen [Hurns] was right. Worst case scenario, I should have just thrown it over his head and given us a shot on third down."
So what was the play originally?
"It was a run. I just saw guys walk up. It wasn’t a good decision. We could have kept the run on and it wouldn’t have been a bad play. It would have given us a shot and it’s something that I can’t make that mistake again and definitely can’t check out of play into a pick six."
Bortles and his second-guessing can be a double-edged sword. It's good to learn from his mistakes and either make better reads or go with what you have and live to fight another day. But he was drafted with the No. 3 overall pick to one day check out of a play based on what the defense is showing and switch to a different play that will yield a better result.