The Jacksonville Jaguars won their second game in a row on Sunday, picking up their second win of the 2016 season with an ugly 17-16 win over the Chicago Bears. It was just the second time quarterback Blake Bortles has won on the road and just the second time in franchise history the Jaguars came from behind a 13+ point deficit to win. It was far from a pretty game and I’m not sure calling it ugly does it justice, but it went from a very promising opening drive to nearly spiraling out of control, but somehow the team gutted it out and kept fighting, winning the game.
I do have to give Gus Bradley some credit, because it’s not easy to come back and win games when you’re playing like that. It certainly hasn’t been normal for this Jaguars regime, as the 10-0 lead the Bears held felt more like 100-0 for most of the game. As mentioned, the Jaguars marched right down the field on their opening drive and appeared set to take a 7-0 lead on the Bears, the first time they’d have scored a touchdown on an opening drive in seemingly forever, but it had the most Jaguars result.
Between that drive and the final drive of the game for the Jaguars, where Blake Bortles hit Arrelious Benn for a 51-yard go-ahead touchdown, it was some of the worst football I’ve watch, just from an entertainment perspective. The Jaguars defense played well, keeping the Bears in check and doing a lot of bending but not breaking, but the offensive output from the Jaguars was just brutal. There was plenty of blame to push around, as well.
Bortles was spotty, missing on some easy throws (one to Julius Thomas on third down comes to mind), but there were also a lot of drops and a bunch of penalties. One of the key drops, that was nearly the difference in the game, was Allen Robinson letting the ball bounce off his gut into the air in the endzone to be picked off. From that moment, I thought for sure the Jaguars would fold up and fade to 1-4, and for about 50 minutes it appeared that was going to be the case.
But as I mentioned, credit to Gus Bradley and his staff because something clearly changed at halftime, at least defensively. Alshon Jeffrey went from abusing rookie cornerback Jalen Ramsey in the first half to not really being a factor. Eventually the offense found their rhythm and started to pick up yards and points and eventually thanks to a heads up play by Benn, ended up stealing a victory from the jaws of defeat. I kept thinking to myself all game “bad teams find ways to lose” and it seemed that’s where the Jaguars were headed, but they held on and the Bears ended up making that saying bear out. No pun intended.
It was an ugly win and there’s not a whole lot to feel good about from an analysis aspect, but man a win is a win and we have needed those. We’ll focus on the other stuff as we lead up to the game with the Oakland Raiders, but sometimes you’ve got to win the ugly games to turn that corner.