JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Blake Bortles has no idea what’s wrong.
He doesn’t know why the Jacksonville Jaguars can’t move the ball consistently. He doesn’t know why they can’t run the ball. He doesn’t know why they can’t score more than 23 points.
What he does know, however, is that the blame should fall on him.
"We had unbelievable field position and continued to tremendously underachieve as an offense," Bortles said after the Jaguars managed just three yards and three points on three possessions inside the Baltimore 40-yard line in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s 19-17 loss. "That’s nobody’s fault outside of mine, I believe.
"[Offensive coordinator Greg Olson] called some plays that put us in good positions and we didn’t get it done. We had way too many turnovers [and] played careless with the ball. We’ve got to continue to work and try to establish a running game, but there are times when that’s not going to work, so you have to win in a different way. Whether it’s throwing or doing different stuff, you’ve got to find a way to win and we haven’t done that yet."
Bortles hasn’t been very good in 2016. He has turned the ball over seven times (six interceptions) to five touchdown passes. His completion percentage is higher (62.2 percent) but that’s because he’s taking fewer downfield shots. The Jaguars had just three plays go for longer than 14 yards against the Ravens (all passes) and they’ve had just four plays of more than 30 yards through three games.
That puts them on pace for 21, which would be the fewest since they had 18 in 2013 -- the year before Bortles was drafted.
As big of an issue is the lack of a running game. The Jaguars ran for 48 yards against the Ravens and are averaging just 55.0 yards through three games. Even more disturbing is their 2.8 yards-per-carry average.
"If I knew [why we're struggling to run the ball], we would be running for 200 yards a game," Bortles said. "I think it’s a little bit of everything. Obviously, if you’re not running the ball, I think it’s on me not getting us into the right play, it’s on missed blocks, it’s on backs missing things. At the end of the day, it’s about owning the line of scrimmage, controlling it, moving it and being able to run the ball. We haven’t been able to do that."
Yet the Jaguars still tried to run the ball in the fourth quarter on Sunday when they had the ball inside the Baltimore 40. Chris Ivory gained one yard on four carries. Before those three series, the Jaguars had rushed for 47 yards on 17 carries – and if you take away Bortles’ three carries for 17 yards, it was just 30 yards on 14 carries.
Defensive tackle Sen’Derrick Marks didn’t think the offense tried to win the game.
"I felt like we got conservative with six minutes left in the game," Marks said. "You can’t do that. If it comes down to it and it bites you in the butt like it did [Sunday], then it’s basically that’s why you’re the [expletive] Jaguars. You can’t do that. You have to put teams away. We had plenty of chances and we didn’t do it and they capitalized the exact same way they did at their home last year."
Bortles seemed to agree and said he felt bad that the offense wasted a good defensive effort. Two of the three possessions inside the Baltimore 40 were set up by interceptions. Another was set up by a muffed punt recovery.
The offense has only a few days to figure things out because the Jaguars leave for London on Thursday in preparation for Sunday’s game against Indianapolis (1-2).
"Guys are tired of being bad. Guys are tired of losing," Bortles said. "I thought the defense and special teams played plenty well enough to win, but we didn’t offensively and I didn’t as a quarterback. It’s hard to look the guys in the locker room in the eye and try and do whatever when they played as hard as they could and they played pretty well, gave us two short fields on two turnovers, had a muffed punt that we had on their side of the field and just couldn’t do anything with it."
"It’s also a mentality. That’s when you put teams away, to not sit there and play for a field goal, to score three or four touchdowns at the end of this thing."