Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars blow past Indianapolis Colts

By Jeff Elliott, The Sports Xchange
Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI
Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Blake Bortles is suddenly looking elite.

Ten touchdown passes over a three-game stretch tends to put a quarterback in special company.


Bortles continued his maturation as a starter by tossing three more scoring passes while leading the Jacksonville Jaguars to a surprisingly easy 51-16 win over the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday.

Bortles was at his best in the second half. On Jacksonville's first play in the third quarter, he hit Allen Hurns (three catches, 105 yards) with a sideline toss that the wide receiver caught near midfield. Hurns avoided two Colts defenders and tight-roped down the sideline for an 80-yard scoring play for a 16-14 Jacksonville lead.

When the Colts went three-and-out on their next possession, punter Pat McAfee kicked to Jaguars returner Rashad Greene. The rookie from Florida State headed up field, got two good blocks and went 73 yards to the end zone. That hiked the Jaguars' lead to 23-13 with just under 12 minutes left in the third quarter.


Bortles took over after that and led the Jaguars on three consecutive long scoring drives. The first was an 80-yard march in eight plays that finished with a 4-yard pass to wide receiver Allen Robinson. It was Bortles' 10th touchdown pass in three weeks, the most ever by a Jaguars quarterback ever during a three-game stretch.

"I definitely thought this was a complete win," Bortles said. "I thought the defense played really well in the first half and kept us in it. I think in the second half, we had a touchdown in all three phases, which is impressive. ...

"I thought the guys did a really good job of not folding to adversity and coming out in the second half and responding offensively."

Jacksonville went on to top the 50-point mark for the first time ever in a regular-season game. The Jaguars' all-time scoring record is 62 points set in a playoff game against the Miami Dolphins in January 1999.

Both teams scored on a quarterback fumble in the first half. Colts linebacker Robert Mathis recovered the ball in the end zone after it went through the hands of Bortles on a hard, high snap from center Stefen Wisniewski. That gave the Colts a 13-3 lead with 1:56 left in the half, but from that point on, Jacksonville outscored the visitors 48-3.


"You never want to lose in that fashion," Colts linebacker D'Qwell Jackson said. "We were playing for a lot, and so were they. Give (Jacksonville) credit, they played great football. They made a ton of big plays, especially in that second half, and we just didn't have an answer.

"It's not going to discourage us. It sucks. Yeah, it sucks the last two weeks to have that many points scored on you, especially defensively."

What Jacksonville coach Gus Bradley liked best about his team's effort was that all three units played well and contributed to the scoring. Jaguars defensive end Andre Branch scored a touchdown on a 49-yard fumble return in the first half, and Jacksonville safety Johnathan Cyprien intercepted a pass and returned it to the Indianapolis 1-yard line in the fourth quarter. The Jaguars subsequently scored their final touchdown.

Greene added his long special-teams touchdown, and Bortles did the rest, completing 16 of 30 passes for 250 yards. He was not intercepted.

"I know we started off a little slow, but we came back and were very efficient, and the balance that we were looking for with the run and the pass was there," Jacksonville coach Gus Bradley said. "What a great day today. I'm grateful that these guys hung tough, stuck with it and came out the way they practiced. For them to see it come together, that's the part I'm more appreciative than anything."


It was just the opposite feeling in the opposing locker room, where Colts head coach Chuck Pagano called it "a very disappointing loss."

"We played a good half, but we didn't take advantage again of opportunities," he said. "We got the ball in the red zone, and we couldn't convert on third down. We had to settle for field goals again.

"Somebody needed to rise up and make a play here or there. The only way you are going to stop it is you've got to make some plays. You've got to answer, and we didn't answer.

"We've got three games left. We can turn this thing. This exact same thing happened in 2006 to this football team in this stadium, and those guys found a way to go back and get things fixed and they ended up winning the Super Bowl."

Colts quarterback Matt Hasselbeck finished 18-for-35 passes for 252 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions. He was injured a couple of times in the game. He returned after the first injury but sustained a rib injury in the fourth quarter and did not come back.

Indianapolis' regular quarterback, Andrew Luck, out due to an abdominal injury, is expected to return for a home showdown with the Houston Texans next week.


Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton caught four passes for 132 yards.

Jacksonville running back T.J. Yeldon carried the ball 11 times for 62 yards, but he exited with an injury and was on crutches postgame.

NOTES: Jacksonville's win ended a string of seven consecutive losses to the Colts. ... Jaguars QB Blake Bortles extended his streak to 13 consecutive games with a touchdown pass this season, one short of the franchise record set by Mark Brunell in 2001. ... Jacksonville K Jason Meyers increased his streak to 11 consecutive field goals with a 46-yarder. He made 14 of 15 in November, the most by an NFL kicker in the month. But Meyers also missed his NFL-high seventh extra point following the Jaguars' first touchdown.

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