JACKSONVILLE – The dress rehearsal in many ways went according to script.
That was particularly true for the Jaguars' first-team offense in the third week of the preseason, a game generally considered the dress-rehearsal tune up for the regular season.
Quarterback Blake Bortles completed 20 of 29 passes for 245 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions in five series, and the Jaguars' first-team offense moved efficiently before leaving what became a 22-17 loss to the Detroit Lions at EverBank Field Friday.
"I think everything is just slowing down – getting more reps; feeling more comfortable," Bortles said.
An attendance of 59,327 was announced for the game, which was played in soggy conditions after heavy pre-game rains.
The Jaguars' first-team offense was effective for a third consecutive game, scoring on its first two possessions and driving deep into Lions territory on the third. The first-team offense ended its night with a drive for a 35-yard goal by Jason Myers to start the second half.
Bortles and the rest of the offensive starters left with 8:32 remaining in the third quarter and the Jaguars leading 17-13. The Jaguars at that point had 321 yards total offense and 21 first downs, and their drives totaled 82, 80, 85, 30 and 63 yards. The 30-yard drive came at the end of the first half.
Bortles capped the first drive with a 13-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Allen Hurns and rookie running back T.J. Yeldon – making his NFL debut after missing the first two preseason games with a finger injury – capped the second with a 1-yard run.
The Jaguars' third drive ended when Bortles threw incomplete to running back Denard Robinson on 4th-and-3 from the Lions 5 after the 83-yard drive. The Jaguars had 254 yards offense in the first half and 17 first downs to nine for the Lions.
Bortles completed 18 of 25 passes in the first half for 213 yards. He also rushed for 35 yards.
Friday marked the third time in as many preseason games the Jaguars' first team left with a lead. It was the longest stint of the preseason for the Jaguars' starters.
The starters are expected to play far less in the preseason finale at Washington Thursday.
Chad Henne for the third time in as many preseason games replaced Bortles. He completed 8 of 12 passes for 62 yards and left the game with 4:42 remaining.
The Lions kept pace with the Jaguars offensively in the first half, with Matt Stafford's 62-yard pass to wide receiver Golden Tate with 12:20 remaining in the second quarter coming just after Yeldon's 1-yard run had given the Jaguars a 14-0 lead.
Stafford passed four yards to wide receiver Corey Fuller with :35 remaining in the second quarter. A missed point-after attempt made it 14-13, Jaguars, at halftime.
Myers' 35-yard field goal with 8:32 remaining in the third quarter ended the Jaguars' first-team offense's night. Lions kicker Kyle Brindza's 51-yard field goal with 4:42 remaining cut the Jaguars' lead to 17-16.
The Lions then turned a late Jaguars turnover into the winning points.
Defensive end Corey Wootton recovered a fumbled snap by Jaguars reserve quarterback Stephen Morris at the Jaguars 18. Fullback Zach Zenner scored on a three-yard run five plays later with 1:41 remaining.
Player of the Game
Bortles.The second-year quarterback had perhaps his best game of the preseason, leading touchdown drives on the first two series and looking efficient throughout. The first-team offense did not have a drive without a first down. Credit the offensive line for giving Bortles ample time to throw much of the night, but Bortles continued to look comfortable with the offense and continued to make the good decisions that have marked his preseason.
The first-team offense was efficient for a third time in as many preseason games, scoring touchdowns on their first two drives. The first-team offensive line had a third consecutive solid game, not allowing a sack against the Lions. Yeldon finished with 10 yards on eight carries.
The defense struggled to stop Stafford throughout the first half, with cornerback Aaron Colvin allowing a 62-yard pass to Golden Tate. The defense allowed 242 first-half yards and the first-team unit did not have a sack. Stafford completed 11 of 15 passes for 173 yards and two touchdowns.
Myers not only converted a 35-yard field goal in the third quarter, he and kicker Josh Scobee each had touchbacks in the first half. Myers' second kick went seven yards deep into the end zone.
Here are some photos from the first half of the Lions vs. Jaguars matchup.
*Jaguars right guard Brandon Linder left in the first quarter with a toe injury and did not return; defensive end Andre Branch left the game immediately thereafter with a knee injury and also did not return. Linder was replaced in the lineup by Tyler Shatley. Wide receiver Allen Robinson sustained a shoulder contusion in the second quarter, but returned on the same series. Hurns left the game in the second half with hip tightness and was held out as a precautionary measure.
*Safety James Sample (arm) and linebacker Khairi Fortt (knee) also did not play. Each was a game-time decision. Including Lions players, 27 players were ruled out before kickoff.
*Twelve other Jaguars players did not play Friday: wide receivers Marqise Lee (hamstring), Neal Sterling (hamstring) and Greg Jenkins (high-ankle sprain), cornerbacks Peyton Thompson (hamstring) and Demetrius McCray (knee), safety Johnathan Cyprien (finger), linebacker LaRoy Reynolds (knee), defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. (knee), offensive tackle Josh Wells (hand), tight end Julius Thomas (knee), defensive tackle Sen'Derrick Marks (knee) and running back Toby Gerhart (abdomen). …
*Hurns.The Jaguars' second-year wide receiver had three receptions for 24 yards and 13-yard touchdown on the game's first drive. He finished the game with four receptions for 42 yards.
*Marcedes Lewis.The veteran tight end had two impressive receptions in the first quarter for a total of 43 yards, finishing the game with three receptions for 51 yards. …