December 16, 2015
2 mins read

The Jacksonville Jaguars had a historic day on Sunday, Dec. 13, riding a 42-point second half to a 51-16 throttling of the perpetual AFC South champs and current co-division leaders, the Indianapolis Colts.

The anomaly, though: It didn’t sound all that much like a press conference after a historic win, neither from Coach Gus Bradley or QB Blake Bortles.

“We’re trying to create a standard,” Bradley said, sounding like he would have if the Jags had lost by 35 instead of won by that number.

At halftime, surprisingly, Bradley told media that he didn’t say much to the team, just feeling that “we’ll get it together” on offense.

And they did.

Bradley exuded energy, and as he was asked if he’d ever been happier as Jaguars coach, the power surged and the lights turned out.

It was as if his positive energy, so often derided by the grumbling curmudgeons of the Cowford media, was too much for the fusebox in the room. 

One hopes that the renovations will address that.

Bortles, like Bradley, was upbeat.

“It’s good to get a complete game,” he said, speaking of the “touchdowns in all three phases of the game.”

Asked about his “chemistry” with receivers, Bortles said it came down to repetitions and the receivers’ “toughness.”

Bortles, when asked about being practically booed off the field after the botched snap, then receiving rapturous praise as the game became a blowout, said, “That’s what fans do.”

A sign of Bortles’ maturity: his realization that he can tell the truth. And acknowledging that what the fans and the media say means very little, since it comes from a place of incomplete understanding.

When asked about Bradley’s comments at halftime, meanwhile, Bortles said that the coach was the same as he ever is … in other words, confirming what the coach said.

And that consistency is why, he added, that the team loves Bradley.

“I think everybody feeds off of him” and “100 percent believes in him.”

He came in, Bortles said, after a rough half and “gave a speech he would have [given]” if the team had played its best half.

The media may not get it consistently. And the fans may not, either. But the team and the coach seem to get it.

It’s been a rough century so far for Jaguars’ fans, who haven’t had too much to cheer about since 1999. Some good games, an encouraging season or two, but for the most part? A lot of first-round busts and free agents who don’t want to be here.

No, this team and this coach aren’t perfect. But the deal is that, even though the Jags sit at 5-8, they are but one game out of first. The two 6-7 teams play next week in Indy. Both have major question marks at quarterback; the Texans look to be facing a week of fill-in TJ Yates, and the Colts may have Andrew Luck back on the field. 

And if Luck isn’t back? Checkdown Charlie Whitehurst may take the field.

Rarely is a division title so attainable. The Jaguars, even if Luck is back, may have the best quarterback in the division. The best wideouts in the division. The best tight end and, maybe, if Yeldon isn’t out, the best running back in the division.

This isn’t the window anyone expected. But it’s a window nonetheless.

Folio is your guide to entertainment and culture around and near Jacksonville, Florida. We cover events, concerts, restaurants, theatre, sports, art, happenings, and all things about living and visiting Jax. Folio serves more than two million readers across Jacksonville and Northeast Florida, including St. Augustine, The Beaches, and Fernandina.

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