|Posted on September 30, 2018 at 4:15 PM|
Article by Dan Tortora
The Jacksonville Jaguars opened the doors at home for the third time in three weeks, playing host this time to the New York Jets.
In their first home game of this season, Jacksonville defeated the New England Patriots for the first time ever in the regular season and only the second time in 13 tries, their last win over New England coming in 1999 in the playoffs. This was also the Jaguars' first victory over the Patriots with Tom Brady at quarterback.
But they would have little to no offense without starters left tackle Cam Robinson, right guard A.J. Cann, and running back Leonard Fournette, and lose to the visiting Tennessee Titans, 9-6, in an ugly showing. Jacksonville's all-time record against Tennessee is now 20-26, and Jacksonville has not defeated Tennessee on a Sunday in five years.
Their third game in a row at home featured the Jaguars versus the New York Jets.
It also featured the return of Fournette, who sat out of the contests against the Patriots and Titans due to a hamstring injury.
Fournette would take his second carry of the game eight yards and his third would give Jacksonville a first down.
The Jaguars would have five first downs on their opening drive of the game, the first a pass from quarterback Blake Bortles to wide receiver Donte Moncrief, following by a 23-yard keeper by Bortles, Fournette's aforementioned run, another reception by Moncrief, and a catch by wide receiver Dede Westbrook.
They went from their own 6-yard line to the Jets' 14-yard line, but would fail to cross the goal-line, settling for a 32-yard field goal by kicker Josh Lambo to take a 3-0 lead at TIAA Bank Field.
Jacksonville's second drive of the game would end the first quarter and go to the 9:25 mark of the second quarter. On this drive, the Jaguars would gain first downs through the air with Bortles going to tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins for a 21-yard gain, to Moncrief for 13 yards, and then to Westbrook for a 20-yard play. But there was no icing on the cake after gaining three first downs on the drive, as the Jaguars again settled for a field goal, this from 22 yards away by Lambo to make it 6-0 Jacksonville with 9:25 before half.
After two drives, Jacksonville was 4-for-6 on third down.
On their third drive of the first half, Bortles found tight end James O'Shaughnessy on 3rd-&-14, who received the ball, cut in, and went forward for the first down.
Third time proved to be the charm for Jacksonville, as they finished their third offensive drive of the first half with their first touchdown of the game, when Bortles, in the shotgun, found running back T.J. Yeldon short, who took it 31 yards to paydirt, putiing the Jaguars ahead 13-0 with 1:41 before the break.
The Jaguars had two first downs on this drive, giving them 10 first downs in the first half, on three drives, ending each with points.
After ending all of their first three drives of the game with punts, the Jets almost ended their fourth drive with an interception when free safety Tashaun Gipson, Sr., picked off New York rookie quarterback Sam Darnold, but the interception was called off due to defensive holding on Jaguars' cornerback A.J. Bouye.
New York would go for it on 4th-&-1 during this drive and Darnold would send it downfield to wide receiver Quincy Enunwa, who got his hands on it but did not corral it in, turning the possession over to Jacksonville. Gipson would be called on the play for defensive taunting, moving the Jaguars from their own 49 back to their 35-yard line.
Bortles and Westbrook wasted no time, with Bortles sending the ball downfield to Westbrook who achieved the first down and more, receiving contact and pushing forward, accumulating 24 yards on the play.
A five-yard scramble by Bortles would get Jacksonville to the New York 36-yard line and the drive would end on the foot of Lambo, who made his third field goal of the first half, this make coming from 54 yards away to give the Jaguars a 16-0 advantage with 29 seconds to go, which they would take into the break.
After scoring on all four of their first-half drives, the Jaguars would punt away their fifth to begin the second half.
However, the defense attained points and gave the ball back to Bortles when they tackled Jets' running back Isaiah Crowell in his own safety for a safety that elevated the Jaguars to an 18-0 lead.
On the possession that came as a packaged deal with the safety attained, Jacksonville did not come away with an offensive score, punting the ball for only the second time in the game, both in the third quarter.
Rookie wide receiver D.J. Chark, Jr., would be flagged on that punt attempt for interfering with the punt returner because he made contact before the ball came in, putting New York on their own 33-yard line to start their second drive of the second half.
The Jets would take this drive all the way to the Jaguars' 22-yard line and wide receiver Jermaine Kearse would reel the ball in on third down, but the catch was called off, ruled out-of-bounds. New York would challenge the ruling, and with success, as the officiating crew overturned the call, giving Kearse the catch, placing the Jets on the Jaguars' 10-yard line on 1st-&-10.
Darnold would overthrow his receiver in the end zone and former Jacksonville kicker Jason Myers would put his 27-yard attempt through the uprights to give the Jets their first score of the game. New York was scoreless for the first 40 minutes of the game before Myers' field goal with five minutes remaining in the third quarter that brought the score to 18-3 Jaguars.
Within one minute and 20 seconds, Jacksonville had a response when Bortles saw Moncrief in single coverage. Bortles led Moncrief with his throw and Moncrief got separation from cornerback Trumaine Johnson, catching the ball and taking off for a 67-yard scamper to the end zone, giving Jacksonville a 25-3 lead with 3:40 left in the third quarter.
Jaguars' strong safety Barry Church would sack Darnold for a 10-yard loss on the Jets' following drive, and the Jets would punt the ball away on a quick three-and-out.
Despite punting the ball away themselves on their following drive, Jacksonville did achieve something before sending the ball back to New York when Bortles completed his 21st pass of the day, giving him 1,407 career completions, making him second on the franchise list for Jaguars' quarterbacks, moving Bortles ahead of former Jaguars' quarterback David Garrard (1,406 completions). Mark Brunell leads all Jaguars' quarterbacks with 2,184 career completions.
After the Jaguars' punted the ball away for the third time in the second half, the Jets responded with a drive that went from 33 seconds left in the third quarter to 12:53 remaining in the game, ending with Myers' second field goal of the game, this from 38 yards out to make it 25-6 Jaguars.
On Jacksonville's first play of their next drive, Yeldon would be stripped by Williamson and Trumaine Johnson, who had fallen behind Moncrief on Jacksonville's last touchdown, scooped up the ball and returned it 25 yards to the Jacksonville 5-yard line.
Darnold would get his first touchdown pass of the game with 11:18 remaining in the contest, when he found tight end Jordan Leggett open in the end zone, bringing the score to 25-12 Jaguars.
Jacksonville would punt the ball away on 4th-&-1 with under 9:30 left in the game. It was their fourth punt in the second half after not punting a single time in the first half.
Inside seven minutes to play, Westbrook seemingly had yet another first down off of a catch-and-run. However, he fumbled the ball with cornerback Buster Skrine helping to facilitate the fumble as well as obtain the recovery.
But the Jaguars defense would come up big once again and Darnold would continue to overshoot his receivers, resulting in the Jets having nothing to show following their fumble recovery.
With 4:22 to go, Jacksonville took over, and once again, Westbrook took over in the open field.
Following his fumble on the drive before, Westbrook achieved a 20-yard gain on a catch from Bortles, fighting for every inch as scrapped away at whatever gains he could get, showing the dog mentality. The Jaguars would take three minutes and 57 seconds off the game clock on their final drive of the game, ending with a two-yard run by Yeldon on 4th-&-2 for the touchdown. Jacksonville would attempt a two-point conversion to follow and Bortles would overthrow Westbrook toward the left corner of the end zone. The two direct snaps to Yeldon on the drive and two-point conversion try looked to be offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett testing out plays to get them on film and see what it looks like against an opponent.
Yeldon's touchdown would be the final score of the game, providing the Jaguars with a 31-12 victory over the Jets, giving the Jaguars a 2-1 record at home so far this season, and 3-1 record overall.
Along with becoming second all-time among Jacksonville quarterbacks in career completions, Bortles achieved his most passing yards ever in a single game with 388 against the Jets in this contest. He passed his previous best, which was 381 passing yards in a loss to the Jets, 28-23, back on November 8, 2015, on the road.
Bortles finished 29-for-38 for 388 passing yards, two touchdowns, and one interception off the aforementioned tipped ball. He completed 76.3% of his passes.