After finishing 3-13 last season – and after losing Allen Robinson to a torn ACL in Week 1 – the Jacksonville Jaguars could have folded. They could have started the slow, miserable journey to another losing season.
Well, they didn’t. The Jaguars are 4-3 and tied with Tennessee (4-3) for the AFC South lead – and Leonard Fournette has been a big reason why.
The No. 4 overall pick is fourth in the league in rushing (596 yards), second with 4.6 yards per carry (minimum: 100 carries), and first in rushing touchdowns (six).
He’s been incredible.
“Losing A-Rob was a big shot to our offense,” Jaguars tight end Mercedes Lewis said on CBS Sports Radio’s Reiter Than You. “He’s one of the most athletic guys in this league, and the plays that he’s made speaks for itself, so we miss him, but obviously we have to keep pushing forward. That’s what this league is about. Having Fournette come in there and just really take the bull by the horns and do what he has to do to help us win football games – you got a guy who can run in between the tackles, who can outrun DBs to the end zone for 75 yards. He’s an every-down back that can catch out of the backfield and gives you everything you need as a three-down back. It’s just a joy watching him work. Obviously he takes a lot of pressure off Blake and our offensive line. It’s something we put a lot of emphasis on. We take a lot of pride in our run game, and he’s doing a good job of carrying that.”
Fournette’s production has alleviated pressure on Blake Bortles, who has thrown for 1,398 yards, nine touchdowns and five interceptions this season.
“I think that Blake has done a really good job,” Lewis said. “Obviously you guys saw what happened in the preseason where he got benched and they had Chad (Henne) start for one of those preseason games. But the fact that Blake was able to push through, got the job starting the season and didn’t look back – I think that showed a lot of class, how much of a professional he is, and how much he really believes in himself. It goes back to what I was just saying. It doesn’t really matter about everybody else. You still have a job to do. Whether you’re a backup or a starter, you have a role. I think Blake has done a really good job of leading the team and doing what we need to do to win games.”
The Jags, who haven’t allowed a touchdown in two of their last three games, have a bye this week. They host Cincinnati (2-4) on Nov. 5 at 1 p.m. ET.