The Jaguars' reserves couldn't hold a lead and gave up a touchdown with less than a minute remaining to lose 20-19 to the host Chicago Bears, but the team got a victory with the way quarterback Chad Henne and the first-team offense played.
Henne and the first-team offense produced 166 yards and 13 points in four possessions. That's in stark contrast to their performance in the preseason opener against Tampa Bay, when they managed just 4 net yards in four possessions.
Henne completed 12 of 17 passes for 130 yards and one touchdown, a 6-yard hookup with rookie receiver Marqise Lee. It was the kind of performance he needed to ease some of enthusiasm surrounding rookie quarterback Blake Bortles' debut against the Bucs (7-of-11, 117 yards).
The offense controlled the game in the first quarter, running 28 plays and totaling 161 yards. The Bears ran just five plays.
Bortles also had a good night, completing 11 of 17 passes for 160 yards, although 45 yards came on the final play of the first half on a hookup with receiver Allen Hurns.
Here are some other thoughts on the Jaguars' second preseason game of the year:
The Jaguars continue to tinker with the center position, rotating players by quarter. Mike Brewster started and had an up-and-down first quarter. He didn't have any errant shotgun snaps but he was late with one snap that resulted in a false start penalty and he also got bulldozed by defensive tackle Stephen Paea on a play that resulted in a sack. Sixth-round pick Luke Bowanko played the second quarter. He left the game with an injury to his ankle and knee while playing right guard in the third quarter. Third-round pick Brandon Linder snapped in the third and fourth quarters.
Starting right tackle Austin Pasztor also left the game with a hand injury. Coach Gus Bradley is scheduled to meet with the media on Friday afternoon so we'll get an update on Pasztor and Bowanko then.
Toby Gerhart's Jaguars debut ended with 19 yards rushing on six carries. He had runs of 18 and 6 yards but lost 5 yards on his other four carries. Offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch has emphasized the need for the backs to be patient, telling them the nature of the run game in the NFL means a lot of short gains supplemented by one or two bigger gains. That's what happened with Gerhart, who as a veteran understands that better than the younger backs.
The first-team offensive line still struggled to create space on the outside zone plays. The breakdowns aren't all from the middle of the line, either. Left tackle Luke Joeckel got knocked on his rear by Bears linebacker Jon Bostic, who ended up tackling Gerhart for a 4-yard loss.
It doesn't really show up on the stat sheet, but rookie linebacker Telvin Smith has been responsible for forcing turnovers in both preseason games. He tipped a Jimmy Clausen pass that safety Josh Evans intercepted on Thursday night. In the preseason opener against Tampa Bay, Smith pressured Josh McCown into a poor throw that safety Winston Guy intercepted and returned for a touchdown.
Running back Denard Robinson made a statement to be involved in the offense, rushing for a team-high 34 yards on six carries. … Running back Jordan Todman had a blitz pickup on Bostic, giving Henne an extra second to complete a pass to tight end Marcedes Lewis for a 20-yard gain. … Defensive end Tyson Alualu has recorded sacks in each preseason game.