Things have not gone well for Blake Bortles and the Jacksonville Jaguars this season. Expected to finally make a leap toward playoff contention coming into the year, the Jags have instead ended up in a very familiar place: in the basement. They're 2-10 after 12 games, giving them the third-worst record in the NFL.
Bortles' offense has been a major culprit. The Jags rank 23rd in total yards and 27th in points, and they were 28th in offensive DVOA (defense-adjusted value over average) entering their 20-10 Week 13 loss to the
"It's the biggest nightmare possible," Bortles said of his performance, per ESPN.com. "But what are you going to do about it? You can't sit there in a corner and pout. You can't blame people. You can't feel sorry for yourself because I think all that's going to do is affect the way I play."
After Sunday's two-pick performance, Bortles once again has a hold on the NFL lead, with 15 on the season. It's his regression in other areas that is most concerning, though.
|YEAR||COMP %||YPA||TD %||INT %||QB RTG|
As you can see in the table above, Bortles' completion percentage and interception rate (interceptions/passes) have been fairly static from year-to-year. He's generally an inaccurate and turnover-prone passer. The big regression from 2015 to 2016 has been in his ability to push the ball down the field (yards per attempt) and to generate touchdowns (touchdown rate).
The drop in yards per attempt can be explained, in large part, by his regression on throws 20 yards or more down the field. Check out these numbers, via Pro Football Focus:
|YEAR||COMP||ATT||COMP %||YDS||TD||INT||ATT %|
It doesn't get much more explicit than that. Bortles has gone back to now throwing downfield very often, not completing his passes when he does, and when his passes are completed, having them end up in the hands of the other team almost as often than his own.
The drop in touchdown rate, meanwhile, can mostly be explained by Bortles' performance in the second half of blowouts. Last season, he tossed 13 touchdowns on the 200 passes he threw while the Jaguars were trailing by at least 10 points in the second half. This year, that number is six touchdowns on 148 passes. That's a 2.5 percent drop in touchdown rate that covers roughly a third of Bortles' total passes.
Whatever the explanations, what's clear is that it's not great for either Bortles or the Jaguars that he has regressed instead of taking a step forward in his third NFL season, and that has resulted in the team taking a step back as well. It's easy to see why that could be like a nightmare.