Jaguars starting to turn things around, meet expectations
CHICAGO (AP) — Two guys fell down. One quickly got up.
That was enough to lift the Jacksonville Jaguars to a 17-16 victory over the Chicago Bears on Sunday.
But hey, they’ll take it. After all, they came into the season with higher expectations, and they’re starting to deliver, even if it took a fluky touchdown.
A slipping Arrelious Benn caught a 51-yard touchdown from Blake Bortles in the closing minutes to lift the Jaguars (2-3) to their second straight win — a rare road victory.
“We have a lot of guys that make good decisions, smart decisions and play smart football and have great presence to get up and go,” Bradley said. “We just showed a clip like that on Saturday morning. We talked about some things that can take place in the game and how you have to take advantage of opportunities.”
Benn slipped as he caught a slant and so did Tracy Porter as he tried to tag the receiver. That allowed Benn, who spent the past three seasons on injured reserve, to get up and run untouched for his first touchdown since he caught three for Tampa Bay during the 2011 season.
Sure, the TD might have been aided by Soldier Field’s oft-criticized grass. But the Jaguars showed something, wiping out a 13-0 deficit and pulling out the win after they wasted several opportunities early on.
It was a step forward for a rebuilt team that came into the season with higher expectations. While it might not have been playoffs-or-bust for the Jaguars, they were certainly looking for more after five straight years with at least 11 losses.
With the win over Chicago after beating Indianapolis two weeks earlier in London, they at least appear headed in the right direction. They will face a stiffer challenge at home next week against Oakland, though.
“It was ugly, it was a little sloppy, we have corrections to make,” cornerback Jalen Ramsey said. “We’re going to grow from this, but at the end of the day, a win is a win.”
Here are some things we learned in the Jaguars’ win over the Bears:
YARDS, NOT POINTS: Brian Hoyer threw for 302 yards — his club record fourth straight 300-yard game filling in for the injured Jay Cutler (sprained right thumb). But all that movement isn’t translating into touchdowns.
The Bears’ offense produced 389 yards after racking up 522 in last week’s 29-23 loss at Indianapolis. But they struggled in the red zone once again, with one touchdown in four tries.
LOCKING DOWN: Chicago’s Alshon Jeffery had 93 yards receiving going against Ramsey. All but three came in the first half.
The difference in the third and fourth quarters?
“Different ways to shade him,” Ramsey said. “Giving him different types of press techniques. Stuff I thought I could do well on, and it worked for me.”
BREAKING DOWN: The Bears got outscored 17-3 in another tough fourth quarter. That came after Luck threw a late touchdown to T.Y. Hilton in the closing minutes to lift the Colts the previous week.
BREAKING OUT: Bears receiver Cameron Meredith is starting to break out in a big way, with teams focusing on Jeffery and Kevin White on injured reserve.
He had 11 catches for 113 yards after setting a career high with 130 yards against the Colts.
ROUGH START: Bortles came on strong down the stretch after a rough first half.
He completed 20 of 33 passes with a touchdown in the game, but was off target in the early going. Bortles got a touch-luck interception on the Jaguars’ first possession of the game when Tracy Porter picked off a pass in the end zone that popped out of receiver Allen Robinson’s hands.