Blake Bortles might have had his best game in London against the Baltimore Ravens. He racked up four touchdowns, completed two-thirds of his passes, and looked in control the entire game.
But head coach Doug Marrone wants everyone to see what Bortles did outside of his box score as a reason to be encouraged going forward this season. Speaking on Monday afternoon, Marrone pointed to several things that many of us may miss when we’re watching a game live:
“If someone goes, ‘Well, he was 20-for-31, he missed 11 throws.’ Well, five of those throwaways were good decisions. I think that being able to get us in the right protections, him and Brandon Linder, against a team that was very complicated defensively in what they do. I give a lot of credit to Brandon Linder and Blake. We really didn’t have any protection-type issues where somebody was running free or things of that nature. If you go back and look at Baltimore, they were a team that was thriving on the turnovers and thriving on sacks and really causing and creating a lot of problems. I really thought that we really did well or executing our protection plan against them.”
And Marrone also praised Bortles’ ability to be patient, take what the Ravens defense gave him, and capitalize when he could:
“I really think what I saw that I know I liked was we talked to him — he didn’t really force anything. He had about five throwaways where he threw the ball away five times. I think those were all really good decisions for us. Rather than try to force the ball in, which you might make one, you may not. I think there was a lot of smart play on his part. I thought he did a really good job of making the plays when we needed him to make it.”
The key going forward will be Bortles’ ability to be as efficient and mistake-free as possible. If he can do that, and this defense continues to play at a near-elite level, this is a playoff-caliber team.
(I can’t believe I just typed that.)