JACKSONVILLE – Senior writer John Oehser examines the game that was in the Jaguars' 31-12 victory over the New York Jets at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville Sunday …
The objective was clear.
Not that Blake Bortles wanted to force things, but if there were opportunities to throw deep …
Well, the Jaguars' quarterback sure wanted to take advantage.
"I really wanted to push the ball down the field and make up for not doing it last week," Bortles said late Sunday afternoon.
Bortles, a week after not attempting a pass more than 15 yards downfield in a 6-3 loss to the Tennessee Titans, completed 29 of 38 passes for a season-high 388 yards with two touchdowns against the Jets Sunday. One of those passes:
A 67-yard deep pass to wide receiver Donte Moncrief, who caught a 30-yard pass on the run and turned it into the Jaguars' longest touchdown pass of the season.
"Blake trusted me," Moncrief said. "He saw one-on-one coverage. He gave me a chance to outrun the guy and that's what I did. He made a great play and we had been working on that play for a while."
Moncrief, who signed as an unrestricted free agent this past offseason from the Indianapolis Colts, caught five passes for 109 yards Sunday. He was part of a Jaguars wide receivers corps that accounted for 265 yards receiving Sunday, with second-year wide receiver Dede Westbrook catching nine passes for a season-high 130 yards.
"It's crazy, you know," Westbrook said. "At the end of the day, we kind of knew this going in. We practiced, and we prepared for it. At the end of the day, none of this would happen without the offensive line.
"They blocked great up front which gave Blake [Bortles] enough time to execute and throw the ball and put them perfectly spot on for us to go out there and have a big game."
Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette started Sunday after missing the past two weeks with a hamstring injury sustained in Week 1. He rushed for 30 yards on 11 carries before leaving in the second quarter with what the team announced as "hamstring tightness." Marrone was asked if he had more concern about Fournette's injury now than before. "I think so," he said. "I'd be bullshitting if I said no. Anytime you come back and you're ready to go and then all of the sudden you get injured again, it's not a good sign." Said Bortles: "Of course we'd love to have him. I think everybody knows how good of a player he is and what he brings to the team and our offense when he's on the field. We've had a good amount of games without him, so I think guys are used to playing without him and guys kind of take pride in picking up slack when he's not out there. The yardage he would have and the plays that he would make and create, we have to kind of disperse elsewhere. I think guys kind of shoulder that really well and do a good job of making up for it."
Marrone raised eyebrows when he called for a two-point conversion pass with :25 remaining and the Jaguars leading 31-12. This followed running back T.J. Yeldon's one-yard touchdown on 4th-and-1, with speculation among some observers that the two-point attempt might have been related to the Jets interviewing and not hiring Marrone for their head coaching position in the 2015 offseason. "We had a lot of guys banged up on the PAT and field goal [unit]," Marrone said. "On the [two-point conversion chart' it said go for two. I'm one of those guys, I never try to take anything for granted in an NFL game, try to keep going of working the mechanics and doing it, so we just went for two." Marrone was asked if he was sending a message with the attempt. "We're not good enough to send a message right now," he said. Bortles also was asked about the two-point attempt. "I just work here," he said.
Cornerback Jalen Ramsey: "Blake did really well, once again. I kind of predicted it. I predicted that he was going to have a bounce-back game, the offense was going to have a bounce-back game and do really well. He did his thing out there; very proud."
Ramsey on his dropped interception and one by cornerback A.J. Bouye: "It's a step in the right direction. Throughout the first three weeks we weren't getting a lot of opportunities. We weren't getting chances to get our hands on the ball. This week, we had those opportunities, but we have to capitalize way better."
Defensive end Yannick Ngakoue: "We just hold ourselves to a certain standard of—definitely just putting the team on our back and making sure that we win all games that we can win. Our defense's standard and our philosophy is that it doesn't matter what other units are doing. All that matters is what we can do and stopping and shutting people down in every play."
LB Telvin Smith: "The captains just had a meeting and we've got to get some stuff right. We played well, don't get me wrong, but we have played nowhere near our potential as a team, as individuals, and we've just got to get it right."
Bortles on Westbrook: "He did an incredible job all day getting open. I thought he was special today. We got some good mismatches on him and he ran away from guys."