The Jacksonville Jaguars were without Leonard Fournette. Instead of going run heavy and letting T.J. Yeldon, Corey Grant, and newly promoted Brandon Wilder from the practice squad run down the New England Patriots defense, they went to Blake Bortles.
That’s right — they pulled up the anchor on the BOAT and called 51 plays that kept the ball in Blake’s hands, 45 of which were pass attempts.
Rarely do the Jaguars win if Blake is throwing that many passes. But they did on Sunday. They won by a lot. Not so much on the final score — although an 11-point beatdown against Tom Brady and Bill Belichick is a big deal — but in the way they dominated every facet of the Patriots game.
The Jaguars took what they wanted and Blake was in control — which is perfectly demonstrated on the drive right before halftime when the Jaguars had 75 yards to go for a touchdown and just under three minutes to get there.
That drive is what we’ll be diving into this week as we break down the drive of the game for Week 2.
Play #1: 1st and 10 at JAX 25
The Patriots are playing the softest of zones and offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett is going to take advantage, getting the offense going with an easy 11 yards and the clock stopped.
Play #2: 1st and 10 at JAX 36
The Patriots send five rushers and the Jaguars can’t pick it up with five blockers. This was most likely going to Austin Seferian-Jenkins who crosses over the middle about 10 yards downfield, but Blake has to tuck and run, getting three yards in the process.
Play #3: 2nd and 7 at JAX 39
I don’t know about this pass over the middle to Keelan Cole — defenders in front of and behind him. If this is picked, it’s a short field for Brady with just under two minutes to go in the half.
Play #4: 3rd and 7 at JAX 39
The Patriots brought the house on this play — seven rushers for just six blockers — and Seferian-Jenkins and Bortles make a hell of a play. Bortles throws into a mad pass rush and Seferian-Jenkins doing whatever he needs to to haul that pass in.
Play #5: 1st and 10 at JAX 47
A drop from Dede Westbrook but it’s a bad pass too. I think the stutter step getting around Patriots linebacker Dont’a Hightower (No. 54) causes a challenge for both Blake and Dede.
Play #6: 2nd and 10 at JAX 47
The Patriots are playing their safety like a center fielder and putting him 15 yards away from the line of scrimmage. He’s there to make sure nothing goes deep, but he’s too far away to be of any help in covering Cole who finds the soft spot and gets 17 yards on the catch.
Play #7: 1st and 10 at NE 36
The entire time I was watching this live I just wanted Blake to throw the ball away. Blake throwing off his back foot is bad news, y’all. Wisely, he threw it away.
Play #8: 2nd and 10 at NE 36
Cole was finding gaps in the Patriots secondary all damn day and this drive is a perfect example of it. In all he got two catches for 31 yards on three targets on this possession alone.
Play #9: 1st and 10 at NE 22
The Jaguars tried the wheel route at the end of the second half of the AFC Championship Game and were unsuccessful then too. Whereas then it looked like Leonard Fournette, who was the intended receiver, was the intended target in that game, Corey Grant looks like Blake’s second or third read.
Play #10: 2nd and 10 at NE 22
Westbrook gets his first catch of the drive on this one, getting separation and taking advantage of the fact that the defender who should have been covering him had his eyes on Blake.
Play #11: 1st and 10 at NE 11
This is the first run of the entire drive (not surprising) and it gets the Jaguars close enough for at least two tries into the end zone. Just watch the push the interior of this offensive line gets through the play — Andrew Norwell, Brandon Linder, and A.J. Cann are just straight bullying people.
Play #12: 2nd and 3 at NE 4
This looks like some miscommunication between rookie DJ Chark and Bortles. Chark wasn’t ready for the fade where Blake threw it.
Play #13: 3rd and 3 at NE 4
Watch the pick that Westbrook sets up so that Seferian-Jenkins can run free. It’s not pass interference, it’s a legal pick play that the New York Giants used quite a bit against us in Week 1 and that the Jaguars used quite a bit last season. Hopefully we see more of it.
In all, Blake was absolutely superb in Week 2 and it’s encouraging that Hackett and head coach Doug Marrone are ready to turn him loose if he shows promise in game. Unlike last year’s AFC Championship, when the team should have leaned more on Blake when he was doing well, the Jaguars let Blake continue to air it out even when up two or three scores.
Let’s hope that continues — both the staff giving the keys to this offense to Blake and Blake being deserving of it week in and week out.