The Jacksonville Jaguars defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers 23-21 in their first preseason game of the 2015 season, but the final score couldn’t be more irrelevant.
The big takeaway from Friday night’s exhibition contest was how sharp Blake Bortles looked and just how competent the offense looked overall.
The night started out a little rough with Ben Roethlisberger marching the Steelers offense down the field with ease in their first drive, capping it off with a 44 yard touchdown pass to Martavis Bryant as he torched Davon House.
After that, the Jaguars had a solid night overall. Blake Bortles in particular looked poised, accurate, and comfortable in Greg Olson’s offense. He finished off a long drive with a rushing touchdown, which the coaching staff probably didn’t love.
Even though Bortles had to score with his legs, his arm was the star of the night. He really only had one bad throw, and the rest of his incompletions were mostly the fault of his receivers.
Bortles spread the ball around well, completing passes to 8 different players in his one-and-a-half quarters of play. His stat line should have looked even better, as one of the drops was to a wide open Clay Harbor who would have had a huge gain and maybe a touchdown.
Defensively, the Jaguars were without basically all of their starters along the defensive line. Consequently, Roethlisberger had tons of time to throw in his lone drive. After Big Ben left the game, the first team defense stiffened up and didn’t let the Steelers get much going with Landry Jones at the helm.
The only negative from the night was an injury to tight end Julius Thomas. He reportedly has a fractured finger, but it shouldn’t keep him out of action for long.
This isn’t the worst news in the world, as this probably just means Thomas is done for the preseason. That’s fine with me.
Overall, it was a successful night for the Jaguars – a victory both on and off the scoreboard.
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