JACKSONVILLE – Doug Marrone stated the obvious.
"I really think the quarterback had an excellent game," the Jaguars' head coach said moments after a 30-10 victory over the Indianapolis Colts Sunday.
The same could be said of the entire Jaguars passing offense Sunday.
Quarterback Blake Bortles, a week after running for two touchdowns in narrow loss to the Arizona Cardinals, turned in one of the better games of his four-year career when he completed 26 of 35 passes for 309 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions.
"I really felt like it was just a matter of time," Marrone said. "You watch a guy work and you watch him work his ass off and it's happening in practice. It doesn't always occur during a game, and to have it occur during a game I think is great for both him and the receivers because the receivers work extremely hard on that, too."
Images of the Jaguars Week 13 matchup against AFC South Rival Indianapolis Colts.
Wide receivers Keelan Cole, Dede Westbrook and Marqise Lee combined for 16 receptions for 213 yards and two touchdowns Sunday after dropping multiple key passes against Arizona.
"It started right after the game [against Arizona]," Cole said. "We knew we had to start making plays and we knew we couldn't let those plays get away. Come practice time, we had to make sure nothing touched the ground. If it did, that was some extra Juggs work."
Lee had a four-yard touchdown reception in the first quarter and Cole had an eight-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter.
"I think last week was kind of uncharacteristic of our passing game, so it felt good to be able to get back on track on really the whole thing, from up front to the guys running around to the guys in the back in protections and check downs," Bortles said. "I thought it was a good day all around."
A highlight Sunday came in the third quarter. Following a five-yard touchdown run that gave the Jaguars a 24-3 lead, rookie running back Leonard Fournette "shot a free throw" over the cross bar as offensive teammates faked "boxing out" for the rebound. Fournette, who rushed for 57 yards on 20 carries Sunday, said the celebration was the idea of "pretty much me and the O-line (offensive line)," adding "We have a ton of celebrations (planned), we just have to get into the end zone more to celebrate them." Fournette, who said he and the line had been planning the celebration "for a minute now," was asked about the presence of Lee and Cole in a celebration that otherwise included Fournette and offensive linemen. "Marqise wants to be a big man," Fournette said, laughing.
One of the game's key plays came on the first series when punter Brad Nortman completed a 29-yard pass to tight end James O'Shaughnessy on 4th-and-7 from the Jaguars 49. The play led to Bortles' four-yard touchdown pass to Lee that gave the Jaguars a 7-0 first-quarter lead. "There were some nerves," Nortman said. "I tried not to think about it too much, and trust the game plan and trust the play itself. Our coaches did a great job of drawing the play." The play marked the third time this season the Jaguars have run a successful fake punt, with running back Corey Grant running for 58 yards on a fake punt against Baltimore in Week 3 and scoring on a scoring a 56-yard run with a fake punt against the Los Angeles Chargers last month. "We've worked on it," Marrone said. "You work on things and you guys know how I am. I always say, 'Hey, listen if we work on it you have to have the ability to call it.'''
The Jaguars registered four sacks Sunday and now have an NFL-leading 45 for the season. Defensive end Calais Campbell registered a first-quarter sack, giving him 12.5 for the season. That broke the franchise record of 12 set by defensive end Tony Brackens in 1999. The crowd gave Campbell an ovation for the record that he acknowledged, but he said afterward, "I could care less about it right now. Down the road, it will be great, but I'm jumping at the win and going forward. We're trying to do what we can, so there's a lot of tough football ahead of us and stay focused on the task ahead."
"You can feel the buzz and the energy of the city. When the Jags are doing well in Jacksonville, it's good for the town. Everybody kind of rallies around the team. It's been cool to experience that. I haven't been able to do that or at least I haven't for the past three years since I've been here, so it's cool to feel that, feel the excitement of everybody, of all the fans."
"We're one of the younger teams in the NFL. We have to pull our way through games, like learning experiences last week against the Arizona Cardinals (in a 27-24 loss at Arizona). That was a learning experience for us. It was a curveball that was thrown at us but as long as we bounced back this week with this game then I'm great."
"We've got to make sure we have a better focus. I really believe that. I told the team that. There's things there we see when we give up yardage and things of that nature. I don't mean to be Debbie Downer again, but [the Jaguars just need] a high focus on every single play, just doing your job and not trying to cover or do something else.''