Bortles, Jags break out for new coach
JACKSONVILLE — Blake Bortles admits he felt all the pressure of the Jaguars' lofty preseason expectations.
Knowing the stakes included popular coach Gus Bradley's job, Bortles played tight all season. The former UCF star tried to do too much then even more when losses mounted. "I put way too much of it on my shoulders," he said. "Probably way more than anybody else."
Bortles was finally able to let it go after Bradley was fired last week. And he responded by playing his best game of the season, maybe his career.
In a game when Tennessee lost starting quarterback Marcus Mariota to a broken right leg, Bortles threw for 325 yards and a touchdown and also was on the receiving end of a 20-yard trick play with 5:25 left as Jacksonville ended a nine-game losing streak.
"I just wanted to prove that he did the right thing by drafting me," said Bortles, who won for the first time when throwing for more than 300 yards.
The Jaguars, who won for the first time this season at EverBank Field, rallied around interim coach Doug Marrone and avenged an embarrassing loss to the Titans in late October.
"We showed that this is who we are," defensive tackle Sen'Derrick Marks said.