The Jacksonville Jaguars held off the Seattle Seahawks comeback to win 30 to 24 on Sunday, and although the result is very exciting for Jaguars fans, the future should excite them even more.
Early in the fourth quarter the Jaguars went up 27 to 10, and the game seemed to be out of reach for the Seahawks, but then Russell Wilson played like his typical fourth-quarter self. Wilson shaved the Jacksonville’s lead to six points, and then had the ball with the chance to win the game with under three minutes remaining.
However, on fourth down with nine yards to go around midfield, the Jaguars were the benefactors of a huge none-call on a clear hold of Seahawks wide receiver Paul Richardson. The Jaguars were indeed very lucky on that play, but throughout this game, it was clear that Jacksonville was the more talented and better team.
Cornerbacks A.J. Bouye and Jalen Ramsey made life difficult for Wilson and the Seahawks receivers all game long as Seattle’s only success in the passing game came off blown coverages. Bouye was very impressive, but his teammate Ramsey is playing like one of the most complete players in football. With his size and athleticism, he covers extremely well and almost never misses a tackle
The whole Jaguars defense chirped at Seattle’s sideline the whole game, and they backed up their smack talk for most of the game until the end. Their play and their overall swagger was reminiscent to the Seahawks’ defense from three to four years ago. This defense believes that nobody can score on them, and oftentimes this is the case.
The offense of the Jaguars is by no means of the same caliber as the defense, but they get the job done. Behind running back Leonard Fournette and the offensive line, the Jaguars drained clock in the fourth quarter, which made the Seahawks comeback even more incredible, and Blake Bortles stepped up when called upon and hit his open wide receivers while making some key connections with his deep ball.
Bortles played above average on Sunday, but he is not even close to an above average quarterback, and this is why what the Jaguars are doing is so amazing. In a league that is dominated by quarterbacks, Jacksonville is winning games by running the ball successfully and relying on their extremely talented defense.
Bortles has played better than expected this year and has managed games well, but Jacksonville must improve at this position to become a contender. Jacksonville has a strong rushing attack, but when the team occasionally gets into obvious passing situations Bortles looks lost. If Bortles has to check off his first initial read, he panics, and when he escapes the pocket, he looks more immobile than Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.
Luckily for Jaguars fans, the upcoming draft class is full of talented quarterbacks. Jacksonville will not have an extremely high draft pick because of their record, but Heisman trophy winner and Oklahoma Football quarterback Baker Mayfield will be right within their range. Mayfield’s height is worrisome, but he plays with an edge similar to the rest of the Jaguars team. Mayfield can manage the game just as well if not better than Bortles, and in those obvious passing downs, the Heisman winner can extend plays with his legs, and he is not turnover prone.
There is a lot to look forward to in Jacksonville, but for the Jaguars to fulfill their potential they must target a more capable quarterback.
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