The Jacksonville Jaguars beat the Miami Dolphins 17-7 on Sunday, eliminating the Dolphins from the 2018 playoff picture and hurting their own draft stock in the process. Kidding aside, winning is always a good thing and the win on Sunday probably told you more about the Dolphins than it did the Jaguars.
One person who really enjoyed the win was quarterback Blake Bortles, he came in off the bench.
“I mean obviously it felt good. You never want to see anybody get hurt,” Bortles said after the game. “I never want to see Cody get hurt; but to get the opportunity to go play again with those guys and be out there and share a win with them is pretty awesome.”
Bortles came in for a play or two when starting quarterback Cody Kessler took a big hit and landed on his throwing shoulder, but later on came back in once head coach Doug Marrone decided the offensive line couldn’t keep Kessler upright and wanted to incorporate Bortles mobility.
“Yeah. Obviously going in and running some zone-read, which was some stuff that we didn’t really do a whole lot in the game. I don’t know if they were prepared for it or not but we were able to get some plays out of that and kind of made some plays when we needed to and scored. I think the defense played incredible. It was cool to see,” Bortles said when asked if it was satisfying to hit a few throws and get some big runs. “The amount of injuries we’ve had upfront and to watch those guys kind of get plugged in different places and the way they fight and battle, it’s impressive and I’m proud to be a part of it.”
The Bortles led offense still only mustered three points and the offensive line continued to struggle as it has since the injuries have taken their toll and started adding up, with another Josh Wells leaving the game with a concussion. The game was sealed with the Telvin Smith pick six, but the first downs and clock burning the offense was able to do with Bortles’ running the ball also contributed to holding off the Dolphins.
Doug Marrone declined to announce who would start the season finale against the Houston Texans and seemed to indicate Kessler was pulled because they simply couldn’t protect him, but I wouldn’t be shocked if Bortles closed out the season in large part because of his mobility. The Texans defensive line is much better than the Dolphins and if they couldn’t protect Kessler then, they certainly won’t on Sunday.
Long term, it is a huge risk starting Bortles, though. It seems clear the team is ready to move on and will likely try to trade or outright release Bortles, so you don’t really want to risk him getting a serious injury in the final game. Bortles has been durable through his career, but it’s still a $21 million risk for a meaningless game in a lost season.