Jaguars’ Bortles has 5 turnovers in lopsided loss to Chiefs
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Jacksonville Jaguars were so confident in their future behind Blake Bortles that they selected running back Leonard Fournette rather than a quarterback with the No. 4 pick in last year’s draft.
They could have had Patrick Mahomes, who went six spots later to Kansas City.
The two quarterbacks — for Jacksonville, what is and could have been — were both on display Sunday, and Bortles responded with an afternoon to forget.
He threw four interceptions, was stripped while getting sacked, turned the ball over twice more on downs and generally had all kinds of trouble with the NFL’s worst defense in a 30-14 loss to the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium .
“I can’t throw four picks,” he said. “Hard to win when you turn the ball over that many times.”
Now, the Jaguars (3-2) are hardly going to give up on Bortles, especially after leading them to the AFC title game last year. But in a showdown between two of the top contenders to reach it this year, the former first-round pick put the weight of the loss squarely on his shoulders.
“We had a little bit of bad fortune. Had a tipped pick in the end zone, had a screen get picked. Got to find a way to see that and not let that happen,” said Bortles, who finished 33 of 61 for 430 yards and accounted for two TDs, though most of that offense came as the Jaguars played from behind.
“It’s stuff we’ve got to try to eliminate. It’s a group effort,” he said. “We all got to lock in and be better. But I think we’ve got a chance to get hot now and go win three in a row.”
As for Mahomes? He threw for 313 yards and ran for a touchdown against the league’s No. 1 defense, and made so many improvisational plays that it left several Jacksonville defenders tipping their caps.
“He’s a good kid. They got a good thing going up here,” Jaguars defensive tackle Malik Jackson said. “They got a lot of weapons. They got a lot of trick ’em stuff. They’re good. I can’t really sit here and talk mess, because they beat us, so they’re good.”
It wasn’t exactly a fair fight, at least where Bortles is concerned.
Fournette was inactive with a hamstring injury, and the Jaguars lost backup Corey Grant during the game, leaving their running attack to banged-up T.J. Yeldon and journeyman Brandon Wilds.
Throw in an injury to left tackle Josh Wells and their offense became one-dimensional.
Then there was the sieve-like showing of the offensive line, which allowed five sacks and 11 hurries to a defense that had been ranked last in the NFL in yards allowed. If not for some nifty escape moves by Bortles, he probably would have gone down another handful of times.
“We’ve just got to do a better job. We’ve got to protect better, we’ve got to make better throws, we’ve got to make catches down there when we have it,” Marrone said, lamenting their inability to score in the red zone in particular. “I think everyone knows we all have to do a better job down there.”
What makes the performance Sunday even more maddening was the fact that Jacksonville was coming off 30-12 victory over the New York Jets in which Bortles and the offense were crisp and efficient, and that in turn came after a 9-6 loss to the Tennessee Titans in which they could do little right.
“We have to find a way to make plays early, sustain drives and get it rolling,” Bortles said. “I felt like we waited until we were down in a bad place and decided we wanted to play, and we can’t let that happen. We have to start from the beginning, at the first snap, playing as hard as we can play to do everything we can to be successful and score points.”