Nov 5, 2017; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Jaydon Mickens (85) returns a punt for a touchdown against the Cincinnati Bengals during the second half at EverBank Field. Jacksonville defeated Cincinnati 23-7. Mandatory Credit: Matt Stamey-USA TODAY Sports

Jaguars Find Ways To Score Points Without Fournette

JACKSONVILLE, Fla.– Jacksonville’s offensive handled the loss of rookie running back Leonard Fournette well in their 23-7 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals

Fournette had been named inactive for violating team rules just hours before Sunday’s game began.

Despite this setback, the Jaguars offense responded well, with many players stepping up in a big way against the Bengals.

Bortles and the Pass Attack

Blake Bortles rose to the occasion with one his best performances of the season. The Jags quarterback was efficient, completing 24 of 38 passes for 259 yards and a touchdown. Most importantly, he avoided any interceptions, as he repeatedly showed a willingness to take what the Bengals defense gave him instead of forcing the ball into tight coverage.

“I thought he was outstanding today,” Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone said. “I thought he was accurate… he did an outstanding job and played within his means.”

Bortles’ efficiency was a big reason the Jaguars were able to convert on third downs and dominate time of possession. Jacksonville came into the game ranked 21st in the NFL in third down conversions (36 percent) but went 12-for-18 (67 percent) on the way to more than doubling Cincinnati’s time of possession.

Bortles had plenty of guys make waves in the pass game, like Keelan Cole, who made a big one-handed grab on third down.

Marqise Lee had a huge contribution up with a team-high eight receptions and his first touchdown of the season.

Running Back By Committee

While Bortles balled out, the running backs tasked with replacing Fournette met the challenge as well. As a team, the Jaguars rushed for 148 yards. That wore out a Cincinnati defense that was on the field for more than 40 minutes.

“We’ve seen, obviously two weeks ago against Indy, what Chris [Ivory], TJ [Yeldon], and Corey [Grant] can do,” Bortles said. “So we’re comfortable with them in that room. We’ve got a really good group of backs.”

Lee echoed the sentiment.

“Honestly, I believe all three of them should be up every game,” Lee said. “That just shows you the people we have in place, willing to step up and take care of what’s needed to take care of.”

Special Teams

It always helps to get extra points from the special teams unit, and the Jags’ got from returner Jaydon Mickens on Sunday.

Mickens’ 63-yardpunt return touchdown in the fourth quarter extended their lead to 16 points, a deficit the Bengals couldn’t overcome.

“When I catch the ball, I pick an angle, make a cut, find a crease at the same time as making that cut, and just hit it and try to get to pay dirt as fast as you can,” Mickens said.

Fournette is set to rejoin the team next week, where he’s look to add to his team’s impressive performance from this week.

About Jonathan Acosta

Native New Englander. Follow me on Twitter: @jonacosta_10

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