The Jacksonville Jaguars weren't expected by many to win on Sunday against the Houston Texans. Heck, Vegas had them pegged as a 10.5-point underdog, which turned out to be far too much of an underestimation. But it was a game where they were on the road and, except for the fact they were playing against quarterback Case Keenum, there wasn't much hope.
And yet the Jaguars led for a good portion of the game and were within five yards of the game-winning touchdown with less than a minute remaining.
What happened on that drive, how'd they go the length of the field, and why didn't they get the touchdown?
1st-and-10: Cecil over the middle
It's a simple crossing pattern with Cecil Shorts III going underneath Allen Hurns, who draws the coverage away. The Texans are going to let most underneath stuff go at the beginning of this drive anyway. Good play call, good blocking up front, and a good 15-yard penalty by the Texans to tack onto the end of the play.
1st-and-10: Todman drops it?
The play call is whatever, but what confuses me the most is that this looks like a catch. Jordan Todman hauls it in, takes five steps, and then the ball comes out when he hits the ground out of bounds. I know it's a difference of two or three yards, but it's still peculiar that the referees called this an incompletion.
2nd-and-10: Lee misses
Watching it live, I didn't realize just how good of a throw this was from Blake Bortles. You've got a defender under and over and he puts it where only Marqise Lee can get it. Unfortunately, Lee can't make the catch.
3rd-and-10: A near interception
There's that damn across the body to the left sideline throw again. Again, this is a throw Bortles needs to work on in the offseason. Opposing cornerbacks are having far too much success baiting him into interceptions and near-picks.
4th-and-10: Pants. Off.
This is one of the best throws of the year for Bortles, and certainly his best of the game. He steps up into the pocket and rifles a pass to Shorts. My God. Oh, and speaking of that pocket, look at the protection they give him on this fourth down blitz by the Texans.
1st-and-10: Bortles' 34-yard scramble
Bortles follows up his best throw of the game with his best scramble of the year -- a 34-yard gain to the 10-yard line, setting up first-and-goal. Watch J.J. Watt against Luke Joeckel at the beginning of the play. He over-pursues, Bortles steps up into the pocket, and takes off.
1st-and-goal: Cecil and Marqise collide
I'm very interested to see the All-22 on this later in the week, because I want to know why Marqise and Cecil end up colliding. It looks like Cecil breaks off his route to try and get open for Bortles, and unfortunately he's in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Also, watch Marqise as the far right wideout cross over the middle of the field. He's wide open, if only Bortles looks away from Cecil in the final seconds.
2nd-and-goal: Hurns gets closer
I actually don't hate the play call by Jedd Fisch here. Your top two wideouts just collided in the end zone, you've got three more downs to get 10 yards, why not drag Cecil into the end zone to give Allen Hurns a cushion to pick up half the yards you need?
3rd-and-goal: Bortles overthrew... Marcedes?
Marcedes Lewis is the tallest dude on the field and Bortles still overthrows him. Clean pocket, favorable matchup against an opposing cornerback in Darryl Morris who is eight inches shorter (and falling down), and Bortles still can't get it there.
4th-and-goal: Fade to Cecil
Yes, it's a blitz and Bortles needs to get rid of it a half-second sooner than he'd like to. But you knew the Texans were going to blitz. And you dial up a fade to the opposite corner of the end zone? Bortles has had problems standing in the pocket and delivering passes to the left sideline all season, and this is your call on fourth-and season?
Also, watch Marqise again wide open on the slant pattern. If Bortles isn't locked into Cecil, that's a touchdown.
The whole fourth down play was a mess from the start. I liked what @RealMBB had to say last night, when he pointed out that Fisch put Bortles in a bad situation by trying to call a play on the spot instead of either letting his rookie quarterback dial up a play, or having something on deck at all times for fourth-and-emergency calls.
Fisch is very clearly calling the play instead of letting Bortles, who knows what he can do, take the reins. If Fisch is retained for 2015, he's got to learn to call games that accentuate Bortles' strengths and trust his guy to be the guy.