Blake Bortles threw for 87 yards last week against the Buffalo Bills and won.
He threw for 95 yards early in the season against the Pittsburgh Steelers and won too.
In fact, Bortles doesn’t care how many times he throws or for how many yards — he just wants to win.
Sunday will be the second time the Jaguars have traveled to Pittsburgh to play the Steelers. In that first meeting, the Jaguars’ run game was hitting on all cylinders and then some, rushing for 231 yards and two touchdowns. Leonard Fournette averaged 6.5 yards per carry on 28 rushes.
In comparison, Bortles completed just eight passes for 95 yards. To put that into perspective, Chris Ivory had 41 yards on eight carries.
When asked this week about if he wants to be able to throw more this week in Pittsburgh, Bortles gave an answer you don’t expect out of an NFL quarterback:
“Hopefully we can throw less. That would be awesome.”
It’s not the kind of response you’d expect out of someone who has played football their entire life but Bortles is absolutely right — if he’s not throwing it means they’re again running well and right now that’s this team’s greatest chance for success.
“Leonard [Fournette] goes off again and those guys up front play as well as they did last time and we can run the ball up there and not have to throw at all,” Bortles continued in his post-practice press conference on Wednesday afternoon. “It was something that happened last time, but you never know. We’re going into it with our plan and what we want to do and get a feel for the game and find out what we’re thinking, what’s working, what’s going on. But like I said, it could be even another one of those games or it could be you go up there and throw it 50 times. Kind of however the game is rolling and whatever we think gives us the best chance to win and score points.”
But the Jaguars can’t just run the ball. They’ve got to limit turnovers. That was Ben Roethlisberger’s undoing in Week 5 against this Jaguars secondary, throwing five interceptions and stumbling towards a humiliating 30-9 loss.
So, limit the throws and don’t turn the ball over and you win, Bortles?
“It’s been that way all year long. Really, it always has been. Anytime in the NFL if you don’t turn the ball over you’re going to have a chance to win the game. Especially going into the playoffs – it only becomes more important. Playing a team like Pittsburgh it’s that much more important. You don’t want to give those guys any extra opportunities or put our defense in any bad situations on our side of the field. I think as long as we’re ending every drive in a kick we’ll definitely have a chance to win the game.”
If Bortles ends the game on Sunday with less than eight completions or 95 yards it means the Jaguars’ run game got back on track and this team likely won.
Here’s to single-digit passing yards, Blake.