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O-Zone: Time for bed

JACKSONVILLE – Let’s get to it …

Kent from Jacksonville

Man, O: Blake was ballin' against one of the best defensive minds ever!! If he can string these performances together more often, he might actually get national respect. And Dante Fowler Jr. … man, if he can just not make boneheaded decisions in the offseason he could really be something special. He was giving the Patriots fits all game long. Great team win. Hopefully they can continue this against possibly our most hated-rival next week.

It’s perhaps fitting that Bortles and Fowler were two of the biggest stories in one of the Jaguars’ biggest victories in recent memory. Why is it fitting? Because the perceptions regarding both players that you cited in your question – while commonly held – are in fact comparatively antiquated notions. While Fowler served a one-game suspension last week, that was for an incident that occurred in the 2017 offseason. While the defensive end was suspended for a week in training camp in August, he actually has drawn mostly solid reviews off the field since the 2017 incident that led to his suspension. And while national observers – and some local observers, too – have continued the narrative that Bortles is a liability, the reality is the Jaguars’ quarterback has strung a lot of big-time performance together since midway through last season. He has been stunningly good at home during that span. Bortles and Fowler were selected No. 3 overall in the 2014 and 2015 NFL Drafts, respectively. There was a time when those selections were questioned by observers. Those questions don’t seem as pertinent this morning.

Kyle from St. Auggie

How are the Negative Nancys and Bortles Haters gonna spin this one, John? I am so impressed with No. 5!!

Oh, I am sure they’ll find a way.

Richard from Jacksonville

Wow. That team showed they had versatility. They can play conservatively, with a foot on the throttle – and anywhere in between. They dominated most if not all aspects of that game and it wasn't as close as the final score indicated. You get the feeling that this team was just taking care of business and that the fans put more importance on this game than the team. And that might be the most important thing of all. I know it’s players not plays but I can't recall a better combination of players and coaching staff that can handle such amazing personalities and change a game plan so drastically from week to week and put on such a display. Was that the most complete game against a quality opponent in Doug Marrone’s tenure as head coach?

Yes.

David from Jacksonville

We've been season-ticket holders since day 1. I don't think I've ever seen a more complete game, nor a more complete team effort, than that we just witnessed. Thanks for the memory created tonight.

I’ll assume you’re not thanking me, though I obviously had a major effect on what went on Sunday. My influence, though subtle, is widespread. Whoever deserves the credit, it indeed was a memorable afternoon and evening. I doubt many who were there – players, coaches or fans – will soon forget it. It’s why people love the NFL.

Bill from Viera, FL

Hi, John. Good Blake is REALLY good.

And bad Blake isn’t nearly as bad as people commonly believe anymore.

Jeff from Dripping Springs, TX

We lost the turnover battle, sustained injuries and lost starters, incurred penalties that kept the Pats on the field and had a momentum shift at the worst possible time. Still, at no point did I feel like we were going to let this one slip away. This win was all Blake. He showed a ton of heart and really made our fans proud tonight.

Your first sentence makes a point that shouldn’t be lost. Driving home Sunday, it occurred to me that the Jaguars indeed had lost the all-important turnover ratio that I so emphasized throughout the week. It also occurred to me that they made several key mistakes at key times – the fumble by wide receiver D.J. Chark Jr. in the second half, the first-down negating penalty on guard Andrew Norwell in the first half, the interception thrown by Bortles in the second half – and still never allowed the Patriots within 10 points after the first quarter. That’s a complete victory by any measure. I can’t agree with you that the victory was all Bortles, though. He was outstanding and I do have a feeling this may be the game when some people realize he’s better than they believed. But this was a total team victory. I’ve covered a lot of games involving the Patriots. The only times I’ve seen them controlled by the opponent with Brady at quarterback was when Indianapolis beat them back-to-back seasons in Foxborough in 2005 and 2006. Those were two of the three best Colts teams I covered in that era. I mention this not to bring up the Colts teams of that time, but to make the point that you typically must be really good to take the Patriots enough out of the game that the outcome is decided in the final minutes. This Jaguars team? It’s really good.

Jordan from Jacksonville

My eyes tell me the Jaguars are a better team without Fournette.

Nah.

Doug from Section 411 and Port Orange, FL

In my humble opinion that second touchdown by Blake was perhaps his best drive as a pro. He was decisive, precise and showed the world that he belongs in this league. He’s far from perfect. However, he’s as tough as they come and gives his team and this franchise all he’s got. Boy, was it fun to be at the ‘Bank Sunday!

Bortles indeed was really good on that second drive Sunday. That catch by Keelan Cole wasn’t too shabby, either.

Travis from Palm Beach, FL

O man: O boy, what a great win. Definitely one of the greatest team wins in franchise history.

Yes.

Daniel from Jacksonville

How did you know? (You favored Jags winning big over a close game).

I thought the Jaguars might win big because I think they’re really good – and because if the Patriots are ever vulnerable under Head Coach Bill Belichick, it’s early in the season. I also thought the Jaguars’ offense would play much better than people believed. I must confess, though, that the Jaguars’ big victory didn’t play out as I anticipated. I expected if the Jaguars were going to win big they would need two or three takeaways – and likely interceptions. They forced one takeaway – on a sack/fumble. So, while I’m good maybe I ain’t that good.

Frankie from London, UK

John. I love Keelan Cole. What a story. What a pick up. What a player.

What a catch.

Brian from Zeeland, MI

Offensive line for MVP of the game. Bortles looked more comfortable than Brady.

Good eye.

Greg from Section 122 and Jacksonville

I said this was going to be a one-sided affair from either side. You told me you thought the Jags would put a whoopin’ on them and you were dead on right. Wow, it must be awesome being you. P.S. I won't tell your wife you were right for once, I hear she gets mad about that. DUUUVALLL!!!

I don’t know that I ever said the Jaguars were going to put a “whoopin’” on them. I actually can’t remember ever saying, “Whoopin’” though upon reflection I believe I have been missing out and need to incorporate it more into my daily dialogue. I did say I thought there was a decent chance the Jaguars would win – and possibly big. That’s because I thought the offense – and particularly Bortles – would play well. I particularly thought the commonly-held notion after the Week 1 victory over the New York Giants that this offense was a liability was silly. This offense was not bad last season; it was the fifth-ranked offense in points and sixth in yardage. It did not look bad in the preseason and it did not look bad in the first half against the Giants. What I thought was most notable about Sunday was the play of the offensive line. The unit had struggled at times against the Giants and needed to play better. It did, and that helped the rest of the offense greatly. As for it being awesome being me … well, yeah. But that didn’t start Sunday. ‘Tis long been that way and I expect it to continue.

Jack from Chicago, IL

My first child (son) born on Saturday. Jags beat the Pats on Sunday. Best weekend ever? Absolutely!

This …

David from Maplewood, NJ

John, can we finally put the Bortles question to bed now? Can we? Please? Not saying he is or will ever be Brady or Aaron Rodgers but hasn’t he shown he’s plenty good enough to win games? Really?

Bortles is good enough for the Jaguars to win with him. The Jaguars have won 15 of their last 23 games with him quarterbacking. I don’t know if the questions will be put to bed, but they’re getting increasingly sillier.

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