To most, the result of the contest between the Jaguars and Ravens came as a surprise. I can't say I predicted such a lopsided result, but I did write this just yesterday:
I'll take the Jaguars in a low scoring affair, but I wouldn't be at all surprised to see a final score like we did in Houston week one.
But I'm not here to say I told you so. What I am here to discuss is the shocking manor in which the Jaguars earned their second victory of 2017. I, along with the rest of the world, believed that if the Jaguars were going to win in week three it would stem from a healthy dose of Leonard Fournette up the gut. But to my surprise (and yours) the Jaguars were able to dominate the Ravens via the arm and decision making ability of Blake Bortles.
The Jaguars offense had been a shell of it's former self in the first two weeks (and for most of last season). It was obvious to anyone watching that the team wanted to do everything possible to avoid relying on Blake Bortles and his right arm. That strategy came back to bite them in week two, and to Doug Marrone and Nathaniel Hackett's credit they adapted to the situation. The Jaguars came out firing early and often against the Ravens and Blake Bortles established a rhythm early on in the game, carrying the Jaguars offense throughout the morning.
To be fair, the running game was impressive in it's own right. The team as a whole ran the ball 35 times for 166 yards, all while averaging 4.7 yards per rush. Corey Grant picked up big time yardage on a fake punt late in the game (You're a bad man, Doug Marrone), similar to the one the Jags put on tape this preseason. Fournette added 59 yards and a TD of his own.
Let's get back to the point: The Jaguars passing offense dominated one of the most feared secondaries in football. The offensive line held up all day in pass protection, which allowed Blake Bortles to stay comfortable throughout the contest. For the second time in three weeks the Jaguars offensive line hasn't allowed a sack. That group deserves major props after an offseason of shade being thrown their way. But the biggest surprise was how well Bortles performed against a secondary that averaged 4 INTs per game coming into this contest. Bortles finished the day 20-31, for 244 yards and 4 TDs, including 3 TDs to veteran TE Marcedes Lewis. Bortles statistical performance would look even better had he and the rest of the starters not been yanked with a big chunk of time still on the clock.
If anyone tells you they predicted the type of aerial barrage that we saw earlier on Sunday from Blake Bortles and the Jaguars they're either crazy or a liar. For Bortles, hopefully posting the second best QB Rating of his career will serve as a huge confidence boost. He's now put together two solid games in three weeks and wasn't helped by the guys around him in his lone poor performance of 2017.
Will Bortles' success in 2017 continue? Let us know what you think in the comments below.
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