Wednesday Warm-up: Jacksonville Jaguars need Blake Bortles to step up


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The Jacksonville Jaguars need to turn the page on their week 3 blowout loss to the New England Patriots and look forward to a big matchup against the Indianapolis Colts. With the entire division knotted up at 1-2, the Jaguars have a chance to take a lead in a division that seems eminently winnable after the first 3 weeks of football.

No player needs to “turn the page” more than second year quarterback Blake Bortles. Over the course of the second half in a win against the Miami Dolphins and the first half of the loss to the Patriots, Bortles played very poorly and wasn’t able to sustain drives the way he has in spurts this season. Bortles played a big part in putting the Patriots game out of reach with a downright horrific interception before halftime, letting Tom Brady and the Pats pull ahead 20-3 by the end of the second quarter.

As poorly as Bortles played last week, his counterpart in Indianapolis has arguably been worse. Over the first 3 weeks, Andrew Luck has compiled a terrible stat line: 5 touchdowns and 7 interceptions with a 56% completion percentage. Before his fourth quarter comeback to take down the Titans last week, Luck was in the midst of his worst stretch of football since being drafted first overall.

The Jaguars need to take advantage of Luck’s struggles and put some points on the board. That responsibility falls entirely on the shoulder of Bortles.

The Jaguars 2014 game in Indianapolis was an exercise in frustration. The Colts went into the half with a 6-3 lead with mighty struggles on offense thanks to a relentless Jacksonville pass rush. Chris Clemons had 3 sacks, including a forced fumble, and the defense gave the offense every opportunity to pull ahead early. Instead, Bortles and the offense sputtered to a paltry 3 points before getting completely shut down in the second half. Luck got the offense going in the second half and never looked back.

This week, Bortles needs to perform like he did in the first half against Miami. If the Jaguars fail to score touchdowns early on, they’ll likely fall into a familiar spot – last place in the AFC South.

Next: Jags stay low in power rankings

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