It’s the middle of the third quarter. The Jacksonville Jaguars have put together absolutely nothing offensively, yet because their defense is playing lights out (again) they’re down just 15-3.
This third quarter drive is when we realized the defense would have to win the game. Blake Bortles wasn’t particularly awful, but he did have his miscues.
It’s sad that the most important drive of the game was highlighted by Dede Westbrook’s drop rather than something more indicative of the rest of the game — like the run game’s inability to get something productive going or a mistake in decision-making by Bortles.
But that’s not how it works.
Play #1: 1st and 10 at JAX 25
Offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett is going to try and get this offense lit by taking the deep shot — and with so many injuries at wide receiver, Westbrook is the only option they have on the outside. The pocket is clean and it’s not necessarily a bad throw, it’s just a little off due to Westbrook being held up slightly on the route.
Play #2: 2nd and 10 at JAX 25
The Titans aren’t really stacking the box but they are playing like they know a run is coming. They’re right — but Hackett has Bortles run it himself for nine yards. Do this more, Blake!
Play #3: 3rd and 1 at JAX 34
It looks like the primary running lane that Leonard Fournette wanted to take was clogged, so he just got the first down.
Play #4: 1st and 10 at JAX 37
Typically, I like to have the All-22 for pass plays but this is a really great job by Blake sensing the pressure, stepping up in the pocket, and delivering a great ball to Allen Hurns while he’s on the move.
Play #5: 2nd and 2 at TEN 43
How that hole opened at the exact right moment for Leonard I’ll never know. Good job, Josh Wells!
Play #6: 1st and 10 at TEN 34
This is it. This is the backbreaker. It was a dime — an absolute dime — from Blake and Westbrook just dropped it and he knows it. This would have only made the game 15-10 and we don’t know if the defense scores their touchdown (they probably don’t) but I’d take the 15-10 scoreline and a confident quarterback and rookie wide receiver.
Play #7: 2nd and 10 at TEN 34
This is where we go off the rails, folks. At first I thought this was just an awful pass by Blake Bortles, but it looks like No. 94 Austin Johnson got his hand on it. And with No. 33 Tye Smith slipping just as Dede Westbrook would have caught this ball, it could have been a real shift in momentum. Le sigh.
Play #8: 3rd and 10 at TEN 34
And Blake Bortles sacks himself to end the drive. How fitting.