This column was neglected last week for a lot of reasons. I was tired, the Jacksonville Jaguars didn’t do much on offense in terms of sustained drives, and more.
But not this week. This week we had Blake Bortles and THE DRIVE to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers.
It was the middle of the fourth quarter, the Steelers had just scored, and the Jaguars led 35-28. In a shootout, Bortles & Co. needed points. They needed to answer. And boy did they.
Play #1: 1st and 10 at JAX 25
Leonard Fournette isn’t getting much. The Steelers are playing the run and they’re making zero excuses about it.
Play #2: 2nd and 8 at JAX 27
Again, this team is playing run because they know the run is coming. It will come back to haunt them.
Play #3: 3rd and 5 at JAX 30
A third down conversion by Blake Bortles? Get used to it on #THEDRIVE.
Blake doesn’t have his first read open.
Or his second.
Or his third.
And he finds T.J. Yeldon on his fourth and final read out of the flat.
Let me say that again — Bortles went through four reads to find his man on third down for one of the biggest plays of the game.
I mean, just look at Blake’s progressions here. It’s just... *chef kisses finger*
Steelers cornerback Artie Burns (No. 25) is caught cheating inside and he definitely should have been covering the flat. But Blake knows. He’ll always know.
Play #4: 1st and 10 at PIT 30
And after all that, Yeldon gets the rock again and gets the longest run of the drive — five yards.
Play #5: 2nd and 5 at PIT 25
Pound the rock, Jaguars. Lull the Steelers in. Let them put seven in the box on a manageable second down.
Play #6: 3rd and 4 at PIT 24
The Jaguars open it up for the first time this drive and Bortles again is making his reads. Dede Westbrook is crossing the middle of the field from the far right of the formation. It’s an eight-yard catch that gets the Jaguars into the red zone.
And just look at Bortles’ placement on this pass. He makes Westbrook come back for the ball because if he leads him it could be a hospital ball with linebacker Vince Williams (No. 98) just the side of Westbrook.
Play #7: 1st and 10 at PIT 16
Knowing the play that’s coming next makes this one so delicious. Leonard gets hit right away with eight Steelers defenders near the line of scrimmage shortly after the handoff.
Play #8: 2nd and 8 at PIT 14
“The Jaguars called a fake lead draw fullback vert to win the game.”
Beaux knows. And it was a beautiful play design at the exact right time in the game at the exact right point in the field. Inside linebacker Vince Williams (No. 98) is absolutely bamboozled. He thinks fullback Tommy Bohanon is going to block again because let’s face it, the dude has been a pulling guard for about 98 percent of this season.
It’s a play you don’t see often because it’s not the trend. It’s not how teams are built for the most part. Typically, you’d see teams spread it out. Typically on second down in the red zone at this point in the game this ball is going to a receiver or out in the flat or kept as a quarterback draw.
But the Jaguars called a fake lead draw fullback vert to beat the Steelers.
Your favorite team could never.