Despite their best efforts to tank the season, the Jaguars managed to pull victory from the jaws of defeat, and see the guy they benched at quarterback spur them on to do it in a 17-7 win against their in-state AFC rival Miami Dolphins.
After both teams exchanged opening touchdowns, including Leonard Fournette pounding it for much of the Jags’ first possession, the game was a stalemate as the offensive ineptitude of both sides was on full display including a sequence to end the half that led to a Kai Forbath field goal attempt go squarely into the ass of a Jags lineman and a possession started inside the red zone for the Jags, ending up with them punting at midfield. Jaguars quarterback Cody Kessler was replaced twice, once due to injury then due to inefficiency, as the team finally appeared to say, “to hell with it”, and turn to former starter Blake Bortles to try and spark anything to break the stalemate. Unlike much of the season, this time Bortles and the team responded.
The offense used Bortles’ legs and a combination of Fournette, Dede Westbrook, and Carlos Hyde to maneuver into field goal range, and allow the Jags a 10-7 lead midway through the fourth quarter. On the following possession, Telvin Smith Sr., thought to have been missing at sea since September, came up with a rare pick six for the Jags defense to cap the game and a strong performance by the Jaguars defense. The Dolphins were held to 201 total yards on the day.
The story of the game will be Bortles’ return. No, this doesn’t change anything about his future, but it sure seems likely that the 2018 season finale’ against the Houston Texans will be led by the guy who began it.
The win moved the Jaguars to 5-10 on the season, and out of the top five of the 2019 NFL Draft, as of this writing.