Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Bortles Keeps Proving Doubters Wrong; QB Has Career-Best Rating vs. Texans, Though Clowney Not Impressed

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Bortles Keeps Proving Doubters Wrong; QB Has Career-Best Rating vs. Texans, Though Clowney Not Impressed

Article excerpt

Byline: Phillip Heilman

Last week, Seattle safety Earl Thomas called him a "sub-par quarterback."

On Sunday, Houston outside linebacker Jadeveon Clowney referred to him as "trash."

Regardless of what opponents have to say after they face Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles, he continues to play at the highest level of his career.

Bortles was 21 of 29 for 326 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions in a 45-7, playoff-clinching victory over the Texans at EverBank Field.

Those numbers produced a gaudy 143.8 quarterback rating, a career-best for the fourth-year quarterback.

"To be able to say that we're part of the group that broke (the franchise's playoff drought), and changed the culture and changed the narrative about the Jaguars is special," Bortles said. "But I think it's a never-ending battle. You do it one week or you do it for a couple weeks or one season, it's something that we've got to find a way to make consistent."

Bortles has been about as consistent as they come this month.

For the first time in his career, Bortles has posted three consecutive games with quarterback ratings of over 100. For context: He had a quarterback rating that high once (a win over Tennessee in Week 16) last season.

Even clearer proof that Bortles is on a roll: He has thrown seven touchdowns with zero interceptions during victories over Indianapolis, Seattle and Houston. His quarterback rating for the season is now 89.7.

"He's just becoming more confident and I think that subject came up during the week where (offensive coordinator Nathaniel) Hackett said he's starting to own it," coach Doug Marrone said. "He's really becoming confident in his footwork (and hitting) his rhythm."

Clowney still may not be a believer, but he had an up-close view for one of Bortles' best plays.

After an interception by strong safety Barry Church gave the Jaguars an opportunity to extend their lead with less than a minute remaining in the first half, they had first-and-goal from the Houston 9-yard line. …

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