Even though the Jacksonville Jaguars compiled a 10-6 record during the regular season and ultimately won the AFC South division, the organization probably isn’t still fully sold on the future of quarterback Blake Bortles with the franchise and especially when you look at his third down passing numbers from this year.
While Bortles led the NFL in third down pass attempts this season, his 67.7 passer rating was the fourth-lowest of all quarterbacks who attempted at least 50 pass attempts on that down. Perhaps Bortles’ saving grace when it comes to his overall third down passing stats is the fact that he somehow managed to convert 35% of his throws into first downs.
Bortles and his third down passing ineptitude doesn’t end with his overall stats, however. In fact, the former first-round draft pick had the lowest third down road quarterback rating (52.7) in the NFL this past season when compared to the 35 other quarterbacks who registered at least 25 third down road pass attempts. Bortles’ 3.14 adjustment net yards per passing attempt stat that he registered on his 94 total third down road dropbacks this season was the third-worst in the league as well. (includes London stats)
In case you forgot, Bortles only attempted 14 passes in the Jaguars 30-9 Week 5 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers and he completed just 8 of them. He attempted four third down passes in that contest and complete two of them with one going to wide receiver Marqise Lee for 31 yards. That completion came against a corner blitz and Lee was wide open up the left seam.
In short, it’s hard to imagine Bortles not having to throw more than four times on third downs in Sunday’s rematch against the Steelers. He averaged 10 third down pass attempts a game during the regular season so look for him to hit that number again on Sunday at Heinz Field. If that happens, odds are good that something bad will happen – meaning either an incompletion, an interception, a sack or a completion that fails to move the chains. He’s been that bad on third downs this season and the expected winter weather on Sunday certainly won’t help his cause.