JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Run the ball, convert on third downs and score touchdowns in the red zone. That was the offensive formula Jacksonville used during last season’s run to the AFC Championship game. All of those principals were once again on display in the Jaguars preseason opener against New Orleans.
On Thursday night the Jaguars 1st team offense took the field without two starters on the offensive line (Andrew Norwell and Jermey Parnell). That unit didn’t miss a beat. On Jacksonville’s first play from scrimmage, running back Leonard Fournette ran for an 8-yard gain.
It would be fair to call the game plan conservative but the Jaguars executed it to near perfection. Quarterback Blake Bortles got into a rhythm early with a couple of short completions to James O’Shaughnessy and Marqise Lee.
Jacksonville was 3-for-3 on third downs on the drive, including a 16-yard gain on a 3-and-10 from Bortles to Dede Westbrook. On the play Bortles took a huge hit but was able to shake it off and stayed on the field.
Two plays later, Bortles ran around the right end for a 2-yard touchdown run. The 15-play, 79-yard drive took 7:02 off the clock and gave Jacksonville a 7-0 (Saints eventually won the game 24-20). lead. Rightfully so that was the end of the night for the majority of the Jaguars offensive starters.
"We had two starters out in the o-line, and I think there were three third downs in that situation, and we were three-for-three," said Jaguars coach Doug Marrone. "Blake makes a play with his legs at the end to score the touchdown. It’s a good way to start."
On the drive Bortles completed 6-of-9 passes for 53-yards and Fournette had 24 yards on five carries.
Copyright 2018 by WJXT News4Jax - All rights reserved.