With all the pressure on them to string together a second straight win, the Jacksonville Jaguars overcame adversity in a road game against the Chicago Bears.
It wasn’t pretty, but the Jaguars walk out of Chicago with a much needed win after outlasting the Bears 17-16. Blake Bortles had a less than productive day through three quarters, but he made plays when he needed to in the 4th quarter.
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This game was huge for head coach Gus Bradley – most expected the Jaguars to win this week against an undermanned Bears squad that should be picking near the top of the draft next May. Brian Hoyer continues to look more than competent against Jacksonville defenses, but he also continues to show why he’s no more than a stopgap veteran. The Bears had chances to put the game away but they let the Jaguars come back.
Here are some quick notes from Sunday’s ugly win:
- As Jaguars fans, we don’t get to celebrate a lot of wins so I won’t harp on the negatives too much. Still, they need to be discussed so I’ll do that briefly here. The Chicago Bears are a bad team – they are trotting out a journeyman quarterback with a below average offensive line, a rookie running back, and no skill position weapons outside of Alshon Jeffery. The defense is a sieve, particularly in the secondary. With an extra week to prepare, there were times that the Jaguars looked outcoached and outclassed. A better team beats the Jaguars handily today, so head coach Gus Bradley is fortunate. If the Jaguars didn’t come back and win, I’m not sure he would still be around.
- Now to the positives! While it wasn’t an outstanding performance by any means, this is encouraging outing for Blake Bortles. He engineered a terrific opening drive and he should’ve capped it off with a touchdown (Allen Robinson tipped a pass in the air that as intercepted). He struggled after that and it appeared to be another wasted day for the young QB. Instead of climbing into a shell like he did in the Ravens game, Bortles came out in the 4th quarter and willed his team to victory with some big time throws. He still has a lot to prove over the final 11 games, but this is something to build off of.
- Even though Brian Hoyer looked comfortable most of the day, the defense deserves credit for winning this game. Put in tough positions throughout the first half thanks to an offense that couldn’t stay on the field, the defense held strong and forced field goals. This kept the Jaguars within arm’s length and gave them the chance they needed to win the game. The defensive line and secondary came through in the 4th quarter when the Jaguars needed stops, culminating in a 4th down pass defense by Jalen Ramsey to end the game.
- Overall, this was a monumental game for the Jaguars in the big picture. To have any hope of competing for the division title, the Jaguars need to beat worse teams on the road. Despite their best efforts to give the game away, the Jaguars won and they head back home with a chance to get back in the AFC South race.