Mark Brunell: Win over Patriots a glimpse of future for Jaguars, Bortles

By Mark Brunell - Sports Analyst

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The Jaguars won a “statement” game by beating the Patriots 31-20 Sunday in TIAA Bank Field.

It was without a doubt one of the most anticipated regular season games in franchise history. And the Jaguars didn’t disappoint. The defense held the greatest quarterback to ever play the game to 234 yards, and Blake Bortles played his best game as a Jaguar.

There are so many storylines in this football game worthy of mention. The young receivers -- Keelan Cole and Dede Westbrook -- making huge plays for the offense. Corey Grant, after limited time last week, using his speed and, of course, the defense once again coming up big when we needed them to.

But what stood out to me more than anything was the play of our quarterback.

Sure this is Week 2, but this game was huge. It was the rematch. It was the revenge game. While it may not have meant much to the Patriots, it meant a lot to the Jaguars. It meant a lot to Blake Bortles, and the whole football world was watching.

Blake has all too often received criticism in his career. And rightly so. It hasn’t always been pretty since he started wearing the Teal and Black. But that was then, and this is now.

Blake is a different quarterback. He has come into his own. This stage didn’t bother him. This game wasn’t too big for him. He simply took the field last night and played the way he and his teammates expected him to play. He was comfortable and confident. He was mobile, he was accurate and his decision making with the ball is everything you want in a franchise quarterback. He simply made plays.

This was Blake’s night. He certainly won't take all the credit. He’ll downplay it and give credit to his teammates, as he should. But, in my opinion, this was a glimpse of what the future holds for Blake. Jaguars fans, we have in our quarterback the making of something special.

GALLERY: Images of Jaguars victory
BOXSCORE: Jacksonville 31, New England 20

Mark Brunell Show Monday at 7PM on CW-17

Don’t be surprised if we continue to see No. 5 only get better. Remember, Leonard Fournette wasn’t on the field. Cam Robinson went down early with a knee. He’s throwing to receivers that really have very little NFL experience as a whole.

Blake is doing what many thought he could never do: make everyone around him better. The quarterback he was competing against last night is known for this. It’s what has made Tom Brady great. His ability to elevate the play of those around him has separated him from most. I'm not ready to say Blake is the better quarterback. He’s not there yet, of course. But last night, our guy was better.

Congratulations to Blake and his teammates on one of the best games in Jaguars history. This is
going to get really fun. Go Jaguars!

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