Blake Bortles has been begging to be benched, and Jaguars fans were actually glad to see Cody Kessler.
With four interceptions and five turnovers against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 5, and dismal effort in a blowout loss to the Dallas Cowboys in Week 6, Blake Bortles was begging to be benched. After the Jaguars were shutout in the first half for the third straight game Sunday against the Houston Texans, and trailing 20-0 in the third quarter, Bortles was benched for Cody Kessler on the heels of his second fumble of the contest.
Kessler started eight games and played in nine for the Cleveland Browns as a rookie in 2016. So he has some NFL starting experience, and actually played solidly that season all things considered (65.6 percent completion rate, six touchdowns and two interceptions).
As the third quarter winded down, Kessler has already completed more passes than Bortles (9-to-6) and has gotten close to Bortles’ yardage output on Sunday (51, to 61) while throwing a touchdown
Upon Kessler entering Sunday’s game, the home crowd in Jacksonville gave him a standing ovation.
Bortles will be the Achilles’ heel to any Super Bowl aspirations Jacksonville has this year, even as those hopes fade facing a third straight loss. Kessler is not the answer either, but earlier Sunday ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported the Jaguars have no plans to trade for a quarterback heading into the Oct. 30 deadline. There are a few options out there, notably including Tyrod Taylor, Nick Foles, Teddy Bridgewater and Eli Manning, but Jacksonville was prepared to ride with Bortles before his benching on Sunday. It’s unclear if that stance will change now.
The first question asked of Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone after the game will be regarding the quarterback situation, and if Bortles will start Week 8 against the Philadelphia Eagles in London. A non-committal answer with a need to “look at the tape” will surely come, and Bortles might be allowed to try to throw or fumble away another win overseas next week.