Jags tops Seahawks, take AFC South lead
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Blake Bortles threw two perfect passes for touchdowns, Jaydon Mickens set up another score with a 72-yard punt return and the Jacksonville Jaguars beat the Seattle Seahawks 30-24 on Sunday.
The Jaguars (9-4) intercepted three passes by Russell Wilson, including two on deep balls, and won for the sixth time in their last seven games. This victory, coupled with Tennessee's loss at Arizona, moved Jacksonville atop the AFC South.
It's the first time since 2010 that the Jaguars have had the outright division lead this late in a season.
The loss didn't sit well with the Seahawks (8-5), who had two players ejected in the final minute. Defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson was ejected for throwing a punch during a melee that included defensive tackle Michael Bennett and Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette.
More pushing and shoving occurred after the next play, and defensive end Quinton Jefferson was tossed. Jefferson tried to climb into the stands after getting hit with what looked like a plastic bottle. Seattle coach Pete Carroll also got flagged for coming onto the field. Carroll walked into Seattle's huddle, possibly to calm his players down.
The ending did little to ruin Jacksonville's celebration, which had a lot to do with Bortles and the league's top-ranked defense.
Coming off one of the best games of his career, a 30-10 victory against Indianapolis, Bortles was equally efficient and effective against the Seahawks.
Two of his better throws ended up in the end zone. He floated an 18-yarder early in the third quarter to rookie Dede Westbrook, the first for the 2016 Heisman Trophy finalist. Bortles' second one was even better, a deep pass that hit Keelen Cole in stride and went for 75 yards.
Cole's second touchdown in as many weeks came on the ensuing play after Wilson connected with Doug Baldwin for a 26-yard score that tied it at 10.
Jacksonville's third-quarter surge wasn't done. Mickens zigzagged through the middle of Seattle's coverage team and ended up getting stopped at the 1-yard line. Leonard Fournette handled it from there, scoring for the ninth time this season.
That was enough — just barely — for Jacksonville's defense.
Trailing 27-10, Wilson avoided a sack and hit Paul Richardson for a 61-yard score. Down 30-17, Wilson connected with Tyler Lockett for a 74-yarder.
Wilson had a final chance to rally his team, but he failed to convert a fourth-and-9 pass from the Seattle 43.
Fournette iced the victory by gaining 13 yards on a third-and-11 play with less than 2 minutes remaining.
Wilson's early mistakes left Seattle in a huge hole. It was the first time this season and the fourth time in 105 career games that Wilson threw three interceptions. It was his first game with three or more picks since throwing five against Green Bay in December 2016.
Seahawks: All-everything LB Bobby Wagner left the game in the third quarter with a hamstring injury and did not return. ... LB K.J. Wright (concussion) left the field late in the third quarter and was ruled out. ... RB Mike Davis (ribs) was knocked out briefly but returned.
Jaguars: RB Corey Grant injured his right shoulder while fumbling a kickoff. ... TE Marcedes Lewis jammed a finger on his left hand. ... WR Larry Pinkard left in the second quarter while being evaluated for a concussion and was ruled out at halftime. Jaguars played without speedy LB Telvin Smith (concussion).
Seahawks: Host the Los Angeles Rams in game that could help determine the NFC West champion.
Jaguars: Wrap up a three-game homestand against Houston.