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Blake Bortles is the one player the Jaguars cannot afford to lose

We are living in the Upside Down.

Seattle Seahawks v Jacksonville Jaguars Photo by Logan Bowles/Getty Images

The Jacksonville Jaguars have been carried by their defense all season. The run game has helped, led by a rookie running back in Leonard Fournette who has 1,136 yards from scrimmage and an offensive line that is producing at franchise-highs in terms of sacks allowed or run yards per game.

But it’s Blake Bortles they can’t afford to lose if they hope to capitalize on a season that hasn’t made a lot of sense, but nonetheless has been very exciting.

We’ve seen what happens when the defense puts together an incredible performance but the quarterback falls short — the Tennessee Titans, New York Jets, Los Angeles Rams, and Arizona Cardinals all took advantage of a subpar day under center.

And we’ve seen what happens when the defense gives up big plays but the quarterback is able to keep up with efficient passing and big plays when we need it.

We win.

Just look at all the big plays this defense gave up last week when Russell Wilson was able to maneuver outside of the pocket and the coverages broke down. But Blake stepped up, put the offense on his shoulders, and did what good quarterbacks do — he elevated the rest of the offense around him and won us the game.

The passing game is being led by Marqise Lee, Dede Westbrook, and Keelan Cole — Blake only found five different receivers last week and one of them was Larry Pinkard. But he made it work, securing 12 of our 20 first downs through the air on Sunday.

Blake has flipped a switch as of late and his last two games have been two of the best of his career — and last week’s against the Seahawks I’d call his best ever. With him playing good (not average, legitimately good) football, this team is a Super Bowl contender.

Without him, they’re one-and-done in the playoffs.