The biggest drawback for the Jacksonville Jaguars during the 2017 season has been their offense. They’ve struggled to score points without the help of the defense forcing a turnover and giving them a short field, but the past two weeks the Jaguars offense has pulled their weight and put points on the scoreboard, in particular the passing game.
Last week Blake Bortles lit up the Indianapolis Colts, as he typically does, so it was easy for some people to kind of wave it off as picking apart a really bad team and a team he typically does well against. Not many thought he’d light up the Seattle Seahawks, including myself.
I thought the Jaguars matched up well with the Seahawks, but I was scared this would be a game that bad Blake would show up and turn the ball over multiple times, as I expected the same kind of stuff from the Seahawks we save against the Los Angeles Rams, San Diego Chargers and the Arizona Cardinals. That’s a big reason that I picked the Seahawks in our picks, is I figured the game would come down to quarterback play and Bortles was the more likely one to turn the ball over.
I’ve never been happier about being wrong, as Wilson turned the ball over three times on Sunday and Bortles had maybe a single bad throw all game. The Jaguars offense has been clicking the past two weeks and it seemed to get into gear against the Seahawks, running the football well with their running backs too and not leaning on quarterback runs or special teams to pad the numbers.
Not only is Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles peaking at the right time, but his teammates are buying in.
“You all see that. I don’t have to answer that,” Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette said about Bortles changing the national perception over the past few weeks. “He’s doing a great job. His numbers speak for themselves. I believe him taking the time out after practice to throw balls and studying (has helped). He’s doing a great job.”
Even the most critical teammate of Bortles, albeit somewhat subtly, is behind his quarterback.
“Oh yeah, Blake balling you know,” cornerback Jalen Ramsey said when asked about Bortles earning his teammates respect. “Sometimes when y’all put my interviews out there, people will comment and say ‘Yeah, you have to remember Blake is your quarterback.’ Yeah we know. We know who our quarterback is and we know what he’s been doing week in and week out helping us get victories.”
I’m not going to delve into talk about Bortles’ future and what the Jaguars do at the position going forwards, because I don’t think that’s written yet one way or another and it’s not really relevant right now, that’s a discussion for another day in February. The relevant part is that the Jaguars offense is starting to peak at the perfect time as the season wears down. A lot of the time the best teams in the playoffs are the teams carrying that momentum with them.
If the Jaguars can get this play out of Bortles the next few weeks and into the playoffs, they’re going to play spoiler and could make a deep run. They certainly have a Super Bowl caliber defense, but now instead of being the anchor the offense is the trolling motor and Bortles is steering them clear of the sandbars.