Fans of the Cincinnati Bengals showed their appreciation for Blake Bortles by donating money to his foundation after the quarterback helped the Jacksonville Jaguars upend the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday.
Bortles led two crucial fourth-quarter drives to lift the third-seeded Jaguars to a 45-42 win in the AFC divisional-round game over the second-seeded Steelers, who are considered one of the Bengals' chief rivals.
Per the Blake Bortles Foundation, Bengals fans have donated close to $5,000 since the conclusion of the contest. The foundation helps "children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities" and "first responders in both Jacksonville and Oviedo (Fla.) communities."
"Fans are at the core of the football experience and it's truly exciting and rewarding when they band together, regardless of the team they cheer for, to make a positive impact in the lives of others," Bortles said in a statement. "I greatly appreciate the support displayed by Bengals fans and they should know their support will make a difference."
The generosity could be construed as a way for Bengals fans to pay it forward after Bills fans donated more than $300,000 to quarterback Andy Dalton's foundation following Cincinnati's 31-27 win over the Baltimore Ravens in the season finale on Dec. 31. Dalton capped a three-touchdown performance by tossing a 49-yard scoring strike that eliminated the Ravens from postseason contention and sent the Bills into the playoffs for the first time since 1999.
Dalton noted that many of the donations were for $17, which represented the 17 seasons between playoff berths for the Bills.
His foundation "provides support, resources, opportunities and life-changing experiences to seriously ill and physically challenged children and their families."