Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

AFTER 0-3, FUTURE IS NOW; Bortles Takes over during Lopsided Loss; Is Promoted to Starter

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

AFTER 0-3, FUTURE IS NOW; Bortles Takes over during Lopsided Loss; Is Promoted to Starter

Article excerpt

Byline: Ryan O'Halloran

A split second after coach Gus Bradley told him at halftime of Sunday's game against the Indianapolis Colts he was the Jaguars' new quarterback, Blake Bortles didn't think about achieving a life-long dream or anything glamorous like that.

No, it was something more pressing.

"Where's my mouthpiece?" Bortles said he asked nobody in particular.

He quickly found it and fully equipped, the third overall pick in last May's draft was the highlight of the Jaguars' otherwise pathetic 44-17 loss to the Colts at EverBank Field.

The home opener became Bortles' opener and after going 14-of-24 for 223 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions, he will get his first NFL start Sunday at San Diego.

"He made some plays," Bradley said. "He kept plays alive. He has really good instincts, made some really good decisions, some good throws and some throws I'm sure he wished he had back.

"But I love his mindset and the strength he has. He's a tough, hard-nosed competitor and he will attack. And the team felt that part of it. It's no coincidence we blocked a little better and the receivers played a little better for him. He has a way to lift the team."

Bortles' task is to basically lift the entire franchise, not that there's any pressure on him.

Bortles played six drives (38 plays) and the Jaguars produced 17 points - a Josh Scobee 41-yard field goal and Bortles touchdown passes of 63 yards to Allen Hurns and 10 yards to Cecil Shorts.

"My job was to spark something," Bortles said. "I wanted to go out and play with some enthusiasm and passion and to try and move the ball."

Chad Henne's first half numbers: Two first downs, 55 yards.

Bortles' second half numbers: Sixteen first downs, 289 yards.

"It was average," Bortles said of his performance. "There was some good stuff, some bad stuff, some things to correct and definitely some things to learn from."

The good plays were rushes of 20 and 10 yards and several fine passes.

The bad were the two interceptions, including a careless throw that was returned 47 yards by cornerback Greg Toler for a touchdown.

The Bortles Era in Jacksonville started at 2:42 p.m., an hour after fans began changing, "We Want Bortles."

"He did a good job in the huddle," Shorts said. "He was relaxed, calm and fun to play with."

Bortles' functional debut masked the biggest problem for the Jaguars during their second consecutive 0-3 start: They're not very good.

Before Bortles entered, the Jaguars fell behind 30-0 because the defense provided zero resistance for the Andrew Luck-led Colts. Indianapolis (1-2) scored on all six of its first-half possessions. Nine Colts players had at least two catches. And even maligned running back Trent Richardson busted out for a 27-yard carry.

Since halftime of the Philadelphia game in Week 1, the Jaguars have been outscored - and outclassed - 119-27 by the Eagles, Redskins and Colts. …

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