It wasn’t pretty, in fact, for most of the game it was down right ugly and boring, but the Jacksonville Jaguars left MetLife Stadium with a season opening win, 20-15 over the New York Giants and many questions about the health of their star offensive player.
Blake Bortles was very much the Blake Bortles we saw in the preseason, looking efficient at times and less than great at others, including an early interception on a bad throw intended for receiver Donte Moncrief that was picked by Giants corner Janoris Jenkins. While Bortles had his bad plays, he also had his good ones including a touchdown pass to TJ Yeldon and a 41 yard run on a QB mesh play in the third quarter. Bortles finished the game 18/33 for 176 yards a 55% completion percentage and 1 touchdown to go with his 1 interception.
The biggest concern moving forward for the offense, is the status of running back Leonard Fournette. After averaging over 5 yards per carry early, Fournette left the game just before halftime and was not seen again with what the team is calling a hamstring injury. This is very concerning as hamstring injuries tend to linger through the season until a player can get weeks off to fully heal. More so, the Jaguars offense was as close to inept as you can be without Fournette in the game. I would guess with Fournette not returning for a full half, there’s a significant chance we don’t see him against the Patriots.
On the flip side, the Jaguars defense was exceptional and much like 2017, carried the team on it’s back to a win. While rookie running back Saquon Barkley did amass over 100 yards on the ground, including a 67 yard touchdown, and Odell Beckham Jr. got his yardage in the much anticipated match with Jalen Ramsey, finishing with 111 yards on 11 catches, the defense stifled the Giants offense the majority of the game and came up with the deciding score late in the 4th quarter when Myles Jack intercepted a deflected pass off Abry Jones’ hand and returned it for a touchdown.
The win brings the Jaguars to 1-0 on the season, and currently in alone in first place in the AFC South, as the Colts and Texans both lost today, with Tennessee still playing Miami at the time of this article, but trailing.
They now enter a much anticipated match up in the home opener versus the New England Patriots who also are now 1-0 following a 27-20 win against Houston. However, the team comes home to much more questions than they came into the game with, despite the 1-0 start.