Heading into next Sunday's Divisional Round tilt versus the Pittsburgh Steelers, Jags coach Doug Marrone conceded there are reasons to be concerned about his offense.
"Right now I'll think about that tomorrow. I'm really excited about the game. But we never really got into a rhythm," Marrone said after the win. "We were not able to get anything on the third down, so I'd be a fool to sit here and say I'm not concerned. But I'm going to take a step back and go ahead and look at it again. I know what happened but I am just saying obviously if you want to continue to keep playing, you are going to have to do a better job."
Bortles' struggles of the previous fortnight continued on a blustery day at EverBank Field. The Jags QB threw for 87 yards on 12-of-23 passing for a 3.8 yards per toss average, with a one-yard TD pass. The quarterback used his legs better than his arm Sunday afternoon, scampering for 88 yards on 10 carries.
Bortles is the third starting QB since 1970 to win a playoff game with more rushing yards (88) than passing yards (87), joining Michael Vick (119 rushing, 82 passing; 2004 Divisional Round) and Bob Griese (39 rushing, 34 passing; 1973 AFC Championship). Both Vick and Griese earned their wins with fewer than 20 pass attempts (Vick: 16; Griese: 6). Bortles is the first QB since Steve McNair in 1999 to throw for fewer than 100 pass yards and win a playoff game with a minimum of 20 pass attempts, per NFL Research.
Following the victory, teammates praised Bortles for finding a way to make the offense work enough to earn the victory.
After throwing for just 33 yards in the first half, Bortles began to scamper for first-downs, using his legs as a change-up to move the Jaguars offense for the pivotal TD drive early in the third quarter.
"You know, I kind of reference it to like a pitcher," Bortles said of finding a different way to move the ball. "You go out, and something's not right. You don't have a fastball, you don't have a curveball. You gotta find another pitch to be able to win and be successful and get guys out. That's kind of the same thing playing quarterback. Whatever the situation is, if you're not able to use the number option and be successful, I think I'm kind of fortunate to be able to run around be able to do that stuff and kind of have an option B to kind of have this offense move the ball and put up points. Trying to do whatever I can to help this team, help this team score points."