Posted on September 24, 2017, by Travis Pulver
If you are a diehard NFL fan, chances are you were up and watching the Jacksonville Jaguars and Baltimore Ravens playing in London Sunday morning. However, with little expected of either team this season, many fans probably chose to do other things. They likely figured that chances were good it was going to be a lousy game. So, why bother watching?
Well—because you never know what can happen on any given Sunday.
After the first two weeks of the season, it was easy to assume that the Ravens defense was shut down Blake Bortles. Jacksonville’s defense, would, in turn, make it tough on Joe Flacco. But with Bortles able to do little on offense, the Ravens would eventually do enough on offense to score and win the game.
But that’s not what happened at all.
Jacksonville scored on their first three drives of the game and all but one of their first-half drives (not counting the kneel down to end the half) to take a 23-0 lead. The Jaguars defense made the Ravens offense look pedestrian holding them to just 20 total yards in the first half.
“The main thing we talked about coming in at halftime was not letting up,” Jaguars receiver Allen Hurns said after the game (ESPN). “The team had put pressure (on the Ravens), as far as an offensive standpoint, so call what we’re going to call — not just being lackadaisical and calling all runs. Keep pushing the gas.”
Baltimore moved the ball a little bit better in the second half but finished the day with just 186 yards of offense. Joe Flacco was eventually replaced after completing just eight of 18 passes for 28 yards along with two interceptions. Ryan Mallett didn’t do much better (6-9 for 36 yards and a touchdown), but at least he scored.
The Jaguars continued in the second half where they left off in the first. After punting on their first possession, Jacksonville scored touchdowns on their next three to take a 44-0 lead early in the fourth (Baltimore’s touchdown came later in the quarter to make the final score, 44-7).
Jacksonville’s defensive play was not surprising, but the offensive play certainly was. Blake Bortles looked like a guy who might deserve a contract extension with four touchdown passes on the day (20-31 for 244 yards). Three of those passes went to tight end Marcedes Lewis (four catches for 62 yards).
Leonard Fournette scored another touchdown (17 carries for 59 yards; three receptions for 21 yards) giving him at least one rushing touchdown in his first three games. Jacksonville finished the day with 166 yards on the ground.
After looking so bad in the preseason he nearly lost his job, Blake Bortles is playing like a decent quarterback. Is he decent or could it be that he wasn’t that bad, to begin with, and just needed his teammates to step up and make a few plays as well?
Whatever the case may be, fans are left wondering what the heck they have in the Jaguars. They played lights out defense and generated just enough offense in their win over Houston. The offense looked terrible against the Titans, and the defense couldn’t stop the Tennessee offense. Now they dominate the Baltimore offense and make the Ravens defense look like a college scout team.
Who the heck are these guys? Do they suck? Are they good? Or was it just luck?
A win over the Jets in New York next week will not exactly say much. But they have Pittsburgh in the on-deck circle. Baltimore will try to get back on track next week when they face the Pittsburgh Steelers.