The Jacksonville Jaguars stumbled against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, failing to beat a team that was one of the few worse than them in 2014. 38-31 makes it seem like a high-scoring contest filled strong offense and perfect plays, but it was really more of a slog as the Bucs won behind the strength of the run game and the Jags missing tackles.
But not everything was terrible for the Jaguars. There were bright spots and many players really stepped up, trying to stop hemorrhaging points and keep pace with a surprisingly proficient Buccaneers offense.
These are the players who really gave it their all, even though the team fell flat. These players saw their stock rise, even in defeat.
Oct 11, 2015; Tampa, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles (5) looks to throw during the second quarter against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Logan Bowles-USA TODAY Sports
Blake Bortles, quarterback, Jacksonville Jaguars
Blake Bortles had one of his best days ever as a quarterback against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The young Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback actually put together a career day in the loss, throwing for 303 yards and four touchdowns.
Bortles did pretty much everything in his power to move the Jaguars defense down the field on each drive and get in a position to win. He missed on a few deep throws to Allen Robinson, but continues to be among the best at deep passing in the NFL.
He also tossed one interception that led to points for the Bucs, which is a rough continuation of the problems he had as a rookie. He’s obviously progressed beyond that rookie season, however, and looked sharp both before and after the pick. There were really only a few bad throws in the game for Bortles.
On the whole, it looked like the strongest outing of his career and he was throwing darts into some impressively small windows. The ball was getting to the receiver exactly where it needed to be and the receivers were able to make plays after getting the ball in their hands.
Next: The team's leading wide receiver