If you skipped last night’s game and just looked at the box score this morning, you might think Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles played well. You’d be wrong.
Yes, Bortles’ stat line looks good: He completed 33 of 54 passes for 337 yards, with three touchdowns. But Bortles padded those stats with a second-half performance against a Titans defense that was happy to let the Jaguars march down the field with time-consuming drives.
Take a look at the first half stats and you see the truth about Bortles’ game: In the first half, Bortles was 8-for-16 for 64 yards, and the Jaguars trailed 27-0 at halftime. Yes, in the second half, Bortles completed 25 of 38 passes for 273 yards, but so what? With a four-touchdown second-half lead, the Titans’ defense was happy to let Bortles complete lots of short passes, and that’s exactly what Bortles did.
And it wasn’t just last night. It’s been that way for Bortles throughout his career. Check out Bortles’ career stats by quarter:
First quarter: 1,598 yards, 4 touchdowns
Second quarter: 2,356 yards, 15 touchdowns
Third quarter: 1,912 yards, 13 touchdowns
Fourth quarter: 3,364 yards 26 touchdowns
Bortles puts up huge stats in the fourth quarters of games. Now, if Bortles were doing that while leading fourth-quarter comeback wins, it would be one thing. But the Jaguars are 10-26 in Bortles’ 36 career starts, and Bortles has engineered just five game-winning drives in his three NFL seasons.
Put it all together, and it’s clear that Bortles is not as good a quarterback as his statistics suggest. The Jaguars are going to have a big decision to make this offseason when they choose whether to pick up his fifth-year option and give him a vote of confidence as their franchise quarterback, or decline that option and make clear that they don’t think Bortles is the man to lead their team going forward.