Tampa Bay Sports Day

Bonts: Jaguars Were Looking a Gift Horse in the Mouth


INDIANAPOLIS – Despite a second half shutout by the defense and 320 passing yards and two touchdowns from QB Blake Bortles, the Jacksonville Jaguars lost their fifth consecutive game, falling 29-26 to the Indianapolis Colts Sunday.

“Yeah, I just think you talk about being a pro, you talk about having pride, you talk about staying together. Because if you don’t, it only gets worse as it goes on. So we all have a job to do – it’s my job to keep everybody together and make sure we’re all going on the right path to do that. And it’s their job too, as professionals, to do it – and I really believe that,” said Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone.

Jacksonville outscored Indianapolis 10-0 in the second half and had the ball in Colts territory trailing by three prior to a lost fumble with 1:30 remaining in the game.

Bortles completed a pass to receiver Rashad Greene at the Colts’ 25 when cornerback Kenny Moore reached in and stripped away the ball, which was picked up by safety Malik Hooker. And that was that.

Bortles was 26 of 38 with 320 yards. Colts QB Andrew Luck Luck finished 21 of 29 with 285 yards, one interception and was not sacked.

The team that appeared in last year’s AFC championship game is now 3-6, last in the AFC South Division, and facing the possibility of not making the playoffs this season. But like their coach, the players are saying the right things.

“I think you just have to rely on the character of the guys in the locker room. I know guys that have been here before, prior to last year, who have been through some other seasons,” Bortles said. “By no means is that where we want to go or where I believe we’re headed. We have to stay together and get it fixed. It’s on us and we’ve got to fix it as a group, fix it as a team and find ways to win a football games.”

Running back Leonard Fournette made his return to action after missing the last four games due to a hamstring injury. He made his presence felt. Fournette rushed 24 times for 53 yards and one touchdown. He also caught five passes for 56 yards and a one-yard TD catch.

“Yeah. I mean like I said, it’s the little things we have to pick up on. Just happy to be back with my team and the team moving forward. It was a tough loss, got to find ways, that’s all,” Fournette said of his return.

The Jaguars drove 97 yards for their first score, capped by an 80-yard catch by Donte Moncrief.

“Just a tough loss. We fought and had a mistake at the end, we just have to cut the mistakes out,” said Moncrief. “The corner got on the inside, they played man. I had an in and I was the guy to go to so I got open for him, gave him a chance and I made a play.”

Josh Lambo kicked a 28-yard field goal in the second quarter. After a missed 52-yard kick in the third quarter, his franchise record of 24 consecutive made field goals came to an end.

Lambo connected on a 55-yarder in the fourth quarter.

Linebacker Telvin Smith Sr. recorded his first interception of the season on the opening play of the fourth quarter. Smith, who finished with a team-high eight tackles, has totaled eight picks since being drafted in 2014, which are the most on the team.

It’s not time for Jaguars fans to panic. Yet. But the window to begin a run to the playoffs is getting narrower by the week. The Jaguars host the Pittsburgh Steelers Sunday at 1 p.m.

GAME NOTES: Jaguars’ punter Logan Cooke completed a 4-yard pass on a fake field goal……Jacksonville center Brandon Linder and offensive tackle Ereck Flowers both left in the third quarter with knee injuries…..Jacksonville recorded the fourth second half shutout since Marrone took over head coaching duties. It was the second time this season Jacksonville didn’t allow a second-half TD…..The Colts’ Eric Ebron finished with three catches for 69 yards. He is the second tight end with two receiving and one rushing TD in a single game in NFL history, matching the Patriots’ Rob Gronkowki.