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We’re counting down
to the 2020 NFL preseason opener what would have been the Jacksonville Jaguars preseason opener by ranking all 51 regular season wins over the past decade.
Today at No. 26? We really thought this fourth quarter game winning drive from Blake Bortles was everything, didn’t we?
Week 2 — September 20th, 2015
You can watch the highlights here because YouTube won’t let me embed it.
We brought a friend! @BoldCityBrigade pic.twitter.com/5H3lGsGHhT— Paul (@SecretaryState) September 20, 2015
It was a tale of two halves for the Jaguars, accumulating 20 points before halftime thanks to two touchdowns and 145 yards receiving for Allen Robinson. In the second half, the Jaguars had a string of three consecutive three-and-out drives, which could have been four if the Dolphins didn’t go on a streak of penalties.
Miami finished with 13 penalties for well over 100 yards, including a few that killed drives on offense, extended drives for the Jaguars and set up Jason Myers for field goals at the ends of both halves.
Jaguars scoreboard trolling Dolphins fans with 62-7 highlights— (@bcbjoey) September 20, 2015
It was the offense that gave the Jaguars the first half win and the defense that did just well enough to keep the game within reach in the second half until the offense finally came to life with less than two minutes remaining.
Player of the game: Allen Robinson
The Jaguars will go as far as Bortles takes them, but performances like Robinson’s can certainly help a young passer out. He made a couple strong plays when Bortles threw balls up for grabs and torched the Miami secondary for a long touchdown in the second quarter.
At halftime, Robinson had five receptions for 145 yards and two touchdowns. He slowed down in the second half, adding only 10 more yards to his total, but when all was said and done, it was the best receiving performance for any Jaguars player over the last decade with the exception of a certain 2012 first round pick who no longer exists.
Biggest concern: The pass rush
Yes, this is the same concern I wrote last week. Even though the Jaguars were a mess offensively in Week 1 and went ice cold in Week 2, the pass rush was the long-term concern against the Carolina Panthers and it was an even bigger factor against the Dolphins, as Ryan Tannehill racked up 359 yards in a mostly clean pocket all day.
The only player who managed to pressure Tannehill on an even semi-consistent basis was Jared Odrick, who very well could have been named the player of the game thanks to his late-game heroics. Ryan Davis managed to get a hit on Tannehill that forced an incompletion and one blitz got home, but the Jaguars really better hope that Sen’Derrick Marks is ready to make an impact when he returns to the field and maybe cross their fingers that Andre Branch can get to the passer too because right now, opposing quarterbacks are looking comfortable.
Unsung hero: Stefan Wisniewski
Ndamukong Suh is not an easy assignment and keeping Blake Bortles off the turf has been difficult for the Jaguars offensive line. Coming into Sunday, the Jaguars allowed Bortles to get sacked four or more times in eight consecutive games.
Yet with Suh expected to wreak havoc in the interior, the offensive line instead did a great job bulldozing ahead in the rushing game and keeping Bortles upright all game. The second-year quarterback was hardly touched, let alone sacked, and while Wisniewski got hit with a pair of holding calls, it was still a great effort against one of the best defensive tackles in the NFL.
Stat of the game: 102.2 passer rating
Entering Week 2, Bortles had a grand total of zero games with a passer rating in triple digits. His previous best was a 96.4 tallied against the Cincinnati Bengals in a 33-22 loss in 2014.
It was only the fourth game of Bortles’ career that didn’t include an interception — although he nearly threw one just before halftime — and in the other three interception-free games, he threw a combined two touchdowns.
While the offense had its struggles in the second half, Bortles still avoided the big mistake which has plagued him for most of his career and that certainly counts for something when he accrues nearly 300 yards passing and a couple touchdowns to go with it.
Why the ranking at No. 26?
A turnover-free game from Blake Bortles? The defense got a stop when they needed it? Jason Myers kicking field goals of 50 yards or more? Not very Jaguars... but the false hope it gave us that week traveling to play the New England Patriots sure was.
The first win of the decade — featuring Kassim Osgood, Tyson Alualu, and Tim Tebow!