After dropping their seventh consecutive game—this one a 24-21 loss to the Buffalo Bills—it seems as if the Jacksonville Jaguars have hit rock bottom. Offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett was fired on Monday. Starting quarterback Blake Bortles, a former No. 3 overall draft choice, was benched in favor of free-agent pickup Cody Kessler. And Leonard Fournette, the team’s finally-healthy star running back, was suspended for running across the field to punch Shaq Lawson after a play in which he wasn’t even on the field.
Jacksonville definitely had themselves a day in Orchard Park, and it wasn’t a good one. Most of the five players we watched this weekend were held in check, with two notable exceptions. Here’s how those players fared on Sunday.
QB Blake Bortles
Jacksonville’s veteran quarterback was just terrible throughout the day. The last time Bortles played the Bills, he was unable to do anything passing the ball, but he was able to scramble for plenty of yardage. On Sunday, he was unable to do much of anything, finishing the game 12-for-23 passing, totaling 127 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions. He ran the ball six times for 39 yards and took three sacks. Making those numbers even worse, Bortles was three-for-five for 48 yards and the touchdown on the Jags’ final drive, which began with only three minutes to go and Jacksonville trailing by ten. He added two scrambles for 23 yards on the drive. That means that prior to the final drive of the game, Bortles was 9-for-18 passing with 2 interceptions, 79 passing yards, and 16 rushing yards. Yikes.
RB Leonard Fournette
Before he did his best Joe Louis impersonation, Fournette was having a monster game. Over a two-drive span in the second quarter, the ultra-talented back looked completely unstoppable, as did the entire Jacksonville rushing game. He gained 35 yards on Jacksonville’s first touchdown drive, which he ended with a five-yard scoring plunge, and then added another 36 yards and a score on the second touchdown march. He had 95 yards on 18 carries, adding three receptions and 13 receiving yards as well, before he was ejected with 2:49 to go in the third quarter. Had he remained in the game, it’s fairly safe to say that he would have continued to wear down Buffalo’s defense. Who knows what the result would have been, but it very well may have been a completely different ending had Fournette not charged in from his sideline to engage in a fight.
LT Ereck Flowers
A lopsided match-up on paper was a lopsided match-up in reality as well, as Buffalo’s Jerry Hughes ran circles around the former first-round pick all afternoon. While Hughes only managed half a sack for himself, he was constantly in the backfield to harass Bortles. The Bills also played plenty of stunt games up front, using Kyle Williams as the thunder to Hughes’ lightning. Flowers was released by the New York Giants for a reason, and he’s a third-string tackle in Jacksonville for a reason, as well.
CB A.J. Bouye
The quieter of Jacksonville’s outstanding corners had a very good game on Sunday. He was matched up with Zay Jones for much of the afternoon, and Buffalo’s second-year man was unable to shake free to make any catches on the day. Buffalo only completed eight passes on the day, and Bouye’s play was a big part of the reason why Josh Allen was unable to find more success in the passing game.
CB Jalen Ramsey
Kudos to Ramsey for seeking Allen after the game to congratulate him on the victory. However, I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t really fun to watch Buffalo intentionally attack and beat Ramsey on an early deep-crossing route to Kelvin Benjamin, and it was equally entertaining to watch Ramsey taunt Buffalo’s sideline on an interception that didn’t count because he had illegally contacted receiver Robert Foster. When Allen ran through linebacker Myles Jack to score the go-ahead touchdown, capping it off with Ramsey’s signature flex celebration, that’s when all of the niceties the rookie had said about Ramsey’s trash talk, literally and figuratively, went by the wayside. Ramsey is a very good player, but much of his positive impact on the game was in Buffalo’s favor.