BALTIMORE – Blake Bortles took a lot of the blame.
As the Jaguars' rookie quarterback stood at a podium, a boot protected his sprained right foot, and he was asked about the team's eight sacks allowed.
Moments earlier, in the moments after a 20-12 loss to the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium, Head Coach Gus Bradley had discussed the sacks, calling them "discouraging" and saying the situation wasn't all on the offensive line.
"We have to slow this down," Bradley said. "I know right away it's quick to jump on the offensive line, but I don't know … whatever the case is, we have to slow that down.
"To take eight sacks is not good football for us right now."
Bortles agreed. Absolutely.
"They (the Ravens) were good up front – we knew that coming into the game," Bortles said after completing 21 of 37 passes for 210 yards and no touchdowns with an interception, including eight of 16 passes for 61 yards and an interception in the second half.
"A lot of the sacks were on me holding the ball too long. There are easy ways to avoid it, whether it be throwing it away or throwing it at somebody's feet.
"It's something I'm working on that I'm going to have to get better at."
Bortles played through the sprained foot and called the boot precautionary.
"It's fine," he said of the foot.
The Jaguars twice allowed sacks on back-to-back plays, including a pair in the first quarter after running back Storm Johnson's 17-yard run gave them a 1st-and-goal at the Ravens 9. Defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan and defensive end Elvis Dumervil sacked Bortles on second and third down, respectively.
"You don't ever want to take sacks," Bortles said. "You don't want to lose yardage. You don't want to come off the field with a sack. It's much better coming off with an incompletion than a sack. It's one less hit. It's one less sack and everybody can move on and we can go from there.
"It's definitely something I'm working on and trying to improve."
Bradley said he was most disappointed that the Jaguars couldn't take advantage of opportunities they created.
Bradley said the team entered the game with the idea it needed to "steal" possessions. They did that, recovering a surprise onside kick in the second quarter and converting a fake punt in the third quarter. Josh Scobee missed a 42-yard field goal after the onside kick.
The Jaguars punted five plays after the fake punt.
"We took some chances there to be bold," Bradley said. "We wanted to take advantage of them. When you have opportunities like that you have to take advantage of them and put it in the end zone."
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Allen Hurns, Jaguars, wide receiver
No Jaguars player stood out significantly Sunday, and the defense overall far outplayed the offense yet again.
But Hurns, a rookie wide receiver, continued to be one of the team's bright spots on offense – and continued to be one of the team's most consistently productive playmakers.
Hurns, a collegiate free agent from the University of Miami, caught six passes. That was tied for the team-high with Cecil Shorts III, and two of Hurns' catches led to first-half field goals. His 27-yard reception on 3rd-and-3 from the Jaguars 18 led to kicker Josh Scobee's 45-yard first-quarter field goal.
Hurns' 23-yard reception to the Ravens 27 set up Scobee's 45-yarder at the end of the first half that gave the Jaguars a 12-10 halftime lead.
PLAYS OF THE GAME
Offense:This came in a first half in which Bortles for the most part played very effectively. On 3rd-and-10 from the Jaguars 34, the rookie dropped a perfect pass over the shoulder of wide receiver Cecil Shorts III for a first down and a 30-yard gain.
Defense: The defense played well for the most part, allowing just one touchdown drive – an 80-yarder in the third quarter that gave the Ravens a lead they never relinquished. The unit's biggest play came when linebacker J.T. Thomas forced a fumble by fullback Kyle Juszczyk that safety Josh Evans recovered. Scobee's 53-yard field goal four plays later gave the Jaguars a 9-7 lead with 11:33 remaining in the first half.
Special teams: As has been the case too often this season, special teams hurt early when Ravens wide receiver Kamar Aiken returned a blocked punt for a touchdown. But the special teams gave the Jaguars what could have been a key first down when fullback Will Ta'ufo'ou turned a shovel pass from punter Bryan Anger into a 19-yard gain. The Jaguars punted on the series, failing to take advantage of the fake.
QUOTE OF THE GAME
"No touchdowns … even if we get one touchdown it gives us a great opportunity in this game … That part's frustrating."
--- Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley
1.Bradley: "We didn't do very well in the second half. That's what's frustrating."
2.Bortles: "You have to learn from it and I think you can realize that we played a really good team, a playoff team. We had plenty of opportunities to have this come out the other way and I think that that's good. But we're really not in this thing for moral victories."
3.Fullback Will Ta'ufo'ou on missed block that led to first-quarter blocked punt for Ravens: "I missed. I need to be able to react faster."
4.Offensive tackle Luke Joeckel: "We put some good drives together, but it doesn't matter if you're not finishing. Field goals are great but touchdowns are no doubt what it's all about."
5.Linebacker Telvin Smith: "We all kept playing and kept battling. Even when they got big plays, we held them to a field goal and they ended up missing one. As long as we keep battling, and keep working and get more consistency – that's something we're working on."
1.When Thomas forced a second-quarter fumble that Evans recovered, it was the 18th forced fumble for the Jaguars this season. That tied a franchise record for most fumbles in season set in 1997.
2.Scobee's two 53-yard field goals in the first half marked the first time he had two 50-plus field goals in one game since October 2011 against the Ravens in Jacksonville.
Jaguars defensive end Ryan Davis left the game with a hip pointer and did not return, while Bortles played through the foot sprain.
Tight end Marcedes Lewis said he dislocated a finger on a first-quarter drop.
The Jaguars will play host to the Tennessee Titans at EverBank Field Thursday
Second half images from the Jaguars Week 15 matchup with the Baltimore Ravens.