JACKSONVILLE – Leonard Fournette came back.
That was one story Sunday for the Jaguars, but the major story was they played about as dominant a game as possible – and the result was a much-needed victory.
Quarterback Blake Bortles threw for 388 yards and two touchdowns as the offense produced 503 total yards, and the defense suffocated the New York Jets throughout a 31-12 Jaguars victory in front of 65,353 at TIAA Bank Field Sunday afternoon.
The Jaguars (3-1) dominated from the start, taking a 16-0 lead at halftime and holding advantages of 12-6 in first downs, 270-86 in total yards and 19:07-10:43 in time of possession at that point. Their final edge in those categories: 23-10 in first downs, 508-178 in total yards and 37:35-22:25 in time of possession.
The Jets are 1-3.
Bortles, a week after the Jaguars' offense failed to score a touchdown against the Tennessee Titans, completed 16 of 19 passes for 216 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions in the first half. He finished completing 29 of 38 passes with one interception.
His 31-yard touchdown pass to running back T.J. Yeldon gave the Jaguars a 13-0 lead with 1:47 remaining in the half. Yeldon also scored on a one-yard run with :25 remaining.
Veteran wide receiver Donte Moncrief caught five passes for 109 yards, and his 67-yard touchdown gave the Jaguars a 25-3 lead late in the third quarter. It was his first 100-yard game since joining the Jaguars as an unrestricted free agent from Indianapolis in March.
Second-year wide receiver Dede Westbrook caught a nine passes for 130 yards for the Jaguars. He also had an 11-yard run early in the second quarter, and surpassed 100 yards receiving for the first time in his career.
Sunday's game marked the return of Fournette after a two-game absence with a hamstring injury sustained in Week 1. Right guard A.J. Cann also returned Sunday after missing last week's loss to Tennessee with a triceps injury.
Fournette rushed for 30 yards on 11 carries, then left the game with hamstring tightness in the second quarter. He returned briefly but at halftime was ruled out for the rest of the game.
Jets rookie quarterback Sam Darnold completed 17 of 34 passes for 167 yards. The Jaguars registered three sacks Sunday: one by defensive tackle Malik Jackson, one by defensive end Yannick Ngakoue and one by safety Barry Church. It was the first sack of the season for all three players.
Step by step:
*The Jaguars took a 3-0 lead when kicker Josh Lambo converted a 32-yard field goal with 3:41 remaining in the first quarter; the kick capped a 15-play, 80-yard drive that consumed 8:38 and featured 22 yards on seven carries by Fournette and 46 yards on five-of-five passing from Bortles. The drive started at the Jaguars 6 after Jacksonville forced a punt on the Jets' opening possession. …
*The Jaguars continued to dominate time-of-possession in the second quarter, reeling off a 12-play, 73-yard drive that ended with a 22-yard field goal by Lambo that made it 6-0 with 9:26 remaining in the second quarter. The Jaguars then pushed the lead to 13-0 when Bortles passed to a wide open Yeldon, who ran into the end zone uncontested for a 31-yard touchdown pass with 1:47 remaining in the half.
*The Jaguars' defense registered a safety on the first Jets possession of the second half, with tackle Marcell Dareus and end Calais Campbell tackling running back Isaiah Crowell in the end zone on first-and-10 from the Jets 2 after a punt by Logan Cooke. That was the first safety for the Jaguars since November 9, 2014, and extended the lead to 18-0.
*The Jets cut into the lead when a 27-yard field goal by former Jaguars kicker Jason Myers made it 18-3 with 4:58 remaining in the quarter; that came after Jets cornerback Darryl Roberts intercepted a deflected pass by Bortles to give New York possession at the Jaguars 23. Moncrief's 67-yard touchdown from Bortles on the ensuing possession gave the Jaguars a 25-3 lead with 3:47 remaining in the third quarter.
*The Jets inched closer in the fourth quarter, with Myers' 38-yard field goal cutting the Jaguars' lead to 25-6 with 12:53 remaining and a five-yard pass from Darnold to tight end Jordan Leggett cutting it to 25-12 before a failed conversion pass. Leggett's touchdown came on a five-yard Jets drive following a fumble by Yeldon. Yeldon's one-yarder with :25 was the game's final score.
Notable:The Jaguars held the Jets scoreless on the opening possession. That marked the fourth time in as many games this season the Jaguars held the opponent scoreless and the 27th time in 28 games the defense has held the opponent without an opening-drive touchdown. … The Jaguars' first-half shutout was their sixth under Head Coach Doug Marrone; they are now 6-0 in those games. The Jaguars have allowed a league-low four touchdowns and have not allowed a first-half touchdown this season. … Cornerback D.J. Hayden missed a second consecutive game with a sprained toe; Tyler Patmon played nickel corner in his place. … The Jaguars' seven inactives Sunday: offensive guard Chris Reed, Hayden, defensive end Dawuane Smoot, wide receiver Rashad Greene Sr., offensive tackle Will Richardson Jr., running back Brandon Wilds and nose tackle Eli Ankou. …
Injury report: Jaguars center Brandon Linder left the game in the first quarter with a back injury and did not return. Tyler Shatley replaced him in the lineup.
What's next:The Jaguars are scheduled to play the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City Sunday, October 7 at 1 p.m.