Bortles, Jags start fast; backups lead Jets to 17-13 win
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Blake Bortles led the Jacksonville Jaguars on two scoring drives, the second capped by Chris Ivory’s 1-yard run against his former team, in a 17-13 loss to the New York Jets in the preseason opener for both teams Thursday night.
Bortles finished 6 of 7 for 105 yards in his two series, Allen Robinson caught three passes for 80 yards and the Jaguars (0-1) took a quick 10-0 lead with their starters in the game. Ivory, who signed with Jacksonville as a free agent after three seasons in New York, capped the second drive with his TD.
Jacksonville has been focusing on starting faster this season after scoring just 35 points in the first quarter last season, which ranked the Jaguars 31st in the NFL.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, who re-signed with the Jets just before training camp after a long contract stalemate, also went two series with the starters and was 3 of 4 for 72 yards. Bilal Powell capped the second drive, which included catches of 26 and 43 yards by Quincy Enunwa, with a 4-yard touchdown run.
Geno Smith replaced Fitzpatrick with 9:49 left in the second half on the one-year anniversary of the punch that changed the Jets’ season — and possibly Smith’s career. The former starting quarterback had his jaw broken by a punch from then-teammate IK Enemkpali in the locker room, sidelining Smith and pushing Fitzpatrick into the job. Fitzpatrick went on to set a franchise record with 31 touchdown passes while leading the Jets to a 10-6 mark and within a victory of the playoffs.
Smith finished 8 of 14 for 79 yards, including a 17-yard TD pass to seventh-rounder Charone Peake that gave the Jets a 14-13 lead with 22 seconds left in the opening half. He was also booed a few times by the MetLife Stadium crowd when he went three-and-out in his first two possessions.
Several starters for both teams sat out, including the Jets’ Darrelle Revis, Muhammad Wilkerson, Matt Forte and Steve McLendon; and the Jaguars’ Jalen Ramsey, Tashaun Gipson, Brandon Linder and Kelvin Beachum.
Jaguars: Backup Chad Henne was 8 of 9 for 94 yards in four possessions to finish the second half.
Jets: Bryce Petty, a fourth-rounder last year, is competing with rookie Christian Hackenberg, a second-rounder this year, for the No. 3 job and finished 7 of 14 for 93 yards. Hackenberg didn’t play.
Jaguars: Ramsey was held out as a precaution. The fifth overall draft pick had surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee in May, but hasn’t missed any time during training camp.
Jets: First-round pick Darron Lee got his first sack, taking Henne down in the second quarter. “He flashed quite a bit,” coach Todd Bowles said. ... Undrafted free agent S Doug Middleton sealed the win with an interception off a tipped pass in the end zone by Brandon Allen in the closing seconds.
Jaguars: WR Tony Washington, vying for the fifth receiver spot, left briefly before being cleared after going through the concussion protocol. He had a 36-yard catch in the second quarter. ... RB Denard Robinson, trying to win a spot behind Ivory and T.J. Yeldon, had seven carries for 23 yards and a 4-yard catch. Jonas Gray, Robinson’s primary competition, did not travel with an injury.
Jets: Rookie K Ross Martin, trying to unseat Nick Folk, missed a 39-yard field goal and a 54-yarder after making a 23-yarder. Folk made both of his extra-point attempts. ... Veteran Jeremy Ross and undrafted rookie Jalin Marshall had big kickoff returns. Ross had a 51-yarder in the first quarter, while Marshall had an 84-yarder near the end of the first half that set up a touchdown.
The temperature at kickoff was a toasty 94 degrees, with the heat index making it feel like 98.
Jaguars: CB Aaron Colvin sprained his right ankle in the third quarter and did not return. S James Sample left in the second half with a right arm stinger.
Jets: RB Dominique Williams suffered a concussion during a 10-yard run to open the third quarter.
Jaguars: “Yeah, I thought it was good,” Bortles said of the fast start. “We want to come out and be sharp with our operation in and out of the huddle, no mental errors, lining up correctly, shifts and motions, and all that. And, obviously take care of the ball. I thought, for the most part, it was good.”
Jets: “I had a lot of fun,” said a smiling Lee, who had four total tackles, two for loss, and a sack in his NFL debut after being the 20th overall pick out of Ohio State.
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