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The Day After: Awesome victory for Bortles, Jaguars


JACKSONVILLE – As Gus Bradley saw it, there was a lot to like.

That was true about much of the Jaguars' dramatic, historic, come-from-behind victory Sunday, and it was particularly true of their rookie quarterback.

Bradley, the Jaguars' second-year head coach, didn't say Blake Bortles played perfectly. And Bradley said during his next-day press conference at EverBank Field that there are specific ways the No. 3 overall selection in the 2014 NFL Draft can improve.

But Bortles showed good things in a 25-24 victory over the New York Giants.

And Bradley said he particularly liked Bortles' approach late in the game as the Jaguars readied for what became the first game-winning drive of Bortles' career.

"Just to hear him, and how he talked to the team about, 'Let's go down and score – let's find a way to get this done …'" Bradley said Monday, a day after Bortles led a 55-yard drive that ended with kicker Josh Scobee's game-winning 43-yard field goal with 28 seconds remaining.

The Jaguars rallied from a 21-point first-half deficit Sunday, the largest deficit overcome for a victory in team history. A huge reason was a defense that dominated the second half with four sacks, three takeaways and two defensive touchdowns.

But with 3:26 remaining, the Giants led 24-22 after a 33-yard field goal by Josh Brown.

That was when Bradley said Bortles helped shape the game.

Bortles completed four of five passes for 39 yards on the ensuing drive, including a 22-yard slant pass to rookie wide receiver Marqise Lee that turned second-and-15 into a first down early in the drive.

Bortles also rushed two times for 31 yards.

"You could just see him wanting to take over the game, and his mentality," Bradley said. "He didn't slide. When we needed a couple of extra yards, he went for it. As I mentioned Sunday, that's what we see every day in practice and that's what the guys are gravitating toward – his competitiveness, his focus and his taking advantage of opportunities.

"I thought it was awesome for him and the team."

Bradley also said overall the come-from-behind victory is good for the team as it enters the final month of the season.

"I think we knew we were capable of doing something like this, but it just hasn't happened," Bradley said. "Then, to see it happen and to see everybody put it together … I told them in their team meetings, 'You guys have great character. I don't know of any team in the league that can go through what we're going through and show the spirit that you do. Maybe there is, but it appears to be unlikely.'

"To demonstrate it yesterday like they did, I think that's awesome.  It's a credit to the guys we have in the locker room."

Also on Monday:

*Bradley said he liked the creativity offensively against the Giants. The unit played up-tempo in spots with a game plan that featured not only Bortles rolling out in the second half but running back Denard Robinson running from the Wildcat formation. "I think you saw some creative things yesterday," Bradley said. …

*Bradley said defensive tackle Sen'Derrick Marks continues to play at a high level. The sixth-year veteran registered two sacks Sunday and is tied for the team lead with a career-high seven sacks through 12 games. "As an interior defensive lineman, that's really impressive," Bradley said of Marks' sacks total. …

*Bradley addressed the play Sunday of the offensive line and second-year left tackle Luke Joeckel. The Giants registered seven sacks, and Bradley said three could be attributed to the offensive line. Bradley said two of those came on the left side with Joeckel involved. One was when the Giants' pass rush ran a twist game and the other came when defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul got a good jump on the snap and beat Joeckel around the edge. "You see some things he's doing well in the run game," Bradley said of Joeckel. "The pass pro, over the majority of the time we attempted pass, it was pretty good. You're seeing him do some good things and other times – with the twists and speed – he'll learn from it. I think it's very similar to a lot of our team, I think." …

*Bradley said rookie cornerback Aaron Colvin made a significant impact Sunday even beyond his 41-yard fumble return for a fourth-quarter touchdown. Colvin, playing in his second game after spending the first 10 games of the season on the Physically Unable to Perform list, made an impact in one out of every four plays Sunday. That's according to grades kept by the coaches, and Bradley said that's an extraordinarily good grade for a nickel corner. "He did a nice job," Bradley said. "He had a big impact. There were multiple times (Giants quarterback) Eli (Manning) went back and he was going to try to hit the slot, but the way (Colvin) played it, he took that read away and he went other ways." …

*Bradley said upon review the defense didn't miss as many tackles against the Giants as he originally thought. He said the staff counted 13 total missed tackles Sunday. "We settled down in the second half with what we wanted to do," Bradley said, adding, "In the second half, a much, much better job." …

*Bradley praised the fans at EverBank Sunday for their part in the biggest comeback in franchise history. "It was tough sledding there in the first half, down like we were, but they stayed strong throughout," Bradley said. "We needed them and we'll continue to need them." …

Relive the Jaguars Top Plays from their come from behind victory against the New York Giants.

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