Without their start running back, the Jacksonville Jaguars needed their much maligned quarterback to step up and play well. Blake Bortles delivered.
The Jacksonville Jaguars almost saw their season crumble to the ground in their week 6 loss to the Los Angeles Rams when star running back Leonard Fournette was left writhing on the ground in pain after turning his ankle.
Thankfully Fournette didn’t suffer a serious injury, but the Jaguars decided to play it safe this week and shut him down so he could rest through the bye week.
That meant no Fournette against the Indianapolis Colts and presumably no ground game.
With Blake Bortles playing as poorly as he has for most of the season, it was fair to expect the Jaguars to struggle in this contest.
Instead, Bortles had arguably the best performance of any signal caller this week as he amassed 330 yards and a touchdown through the air on 18 completions with a 12.7 yards per attempt average. His performance was a big reason why the Jaguars absolutely obliterated the Colts 27-0 this past Sunday.
Bortles QBR was the highest of any quarterback this week according to ESPN:
Bortles’ QBR for the entire season still isn’t great (49.2), but he actually ranks 18th overall in that somewhat nebulous stat, better than the likes of Cam Newton, Matthew Stafford, Philip Rivers, Eli Manning, and Carson Palmer.
Bortles looked like vintage 2015 Blake when the young signal caller was taking shots downfield and actually connecting. He gave Keelan Cole some chances to actually show his worth and the undrafted free agent delivered.
Blake Bortles gets a lot of flack from the national media, but his ceiling is actually fairly high when he plays well. The issue is that it’s hard to know when good Blake is going to show up. And bad Blake is also arguably the worst quarterback in the league.
Sure he managed to abuse an underwhelming Colts defense, but what’s going to happen if the Jaguars make the playoffs and the pressure is on?
For now, it’s enough to praise Bortles for stepping up and being the primary driver on offense when the team desperately needed it. With Fournette coming back after the bye week, there’s a chance he won’t be facing 8- and 9-man boxes every play if Bortles can keep up this type of efficiency and profiency.
If Bortles can be even remotely consistent over the last half of the season, the Jaguars will make the playoffs.