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Jaguars’ second half comeback stuns Bears, 17-16

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The Jacksonville Jaguars have lost plenty of close games at the end, but on Sunday, it was the Chicago Bears who walked off the field dejected. The Jaguars 17-point fourth quarter was just enough to take a 17-16 victory over the Bears at Soldier Field.

It was a game of two halves in many ways. After the Jaguars opening drive ended in a fluke interception in the end zone, Chicago dominated the rest of the half.

Bears’ quarterback Brian Hoyer was finding his receivers, especially Pro Bowl wide out Alshon Jeffery. Jeffrey was covered by rookie Jalen Ramsey from Florida State, who was visibly frustrated by the Bears’ star in the first half.

Ramsey blanketed Jeffrey in the second half, limiting him to only one catch after halftime. Ramsey’s biggest play was his last.

After quarterback Blake Bortles hooked up with Arrelious Benn for a 51-yard touchdown with 2:49 remaining, the Jaguars had their first lead. It was up to Ramsey and the defense to hold that lead.

With the Bears’ facing fourth and 10 from the Jacksonville 48 with 1:03 left, Hoyer looked for Jeffrey. Ramsey quickly cut in front of the receiver and knocked the ball away. The Jaguars then easily ran out the clock.

Jaguars’ Coach Gus Bradley had wanted to focus on the running game, especially after the success they enjoyed two weeks ago against the Indianapolis Colts in London. They did not enjoy similar success on Sunday, running for only 54 yards.

After the Jaguars’ play calling began to focus on the Bears’ porous pass defense, the Jaguars got back into the game. Bortles wound up with 271 yards passing and one touchdown – the game-winner to Benn.

While Ramsey was a second half star, the entire Jags’ defense did an outstanding job, holding a good Bears running corps to only 92 yards. They gave up 302 yards passing to Hoyer, but allowed no touchdown passes.

With the victory, Jacksonville has now won two straight to bring their record to 2-4. Next week they host the Oakland Raiders at EverBank Field.

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Bob Sparks is President of Ramos and Sparks Group, a Tallahassee-based business and political consulting firm. During his career, he has directed media relations and managed events for professional baseball, served as chief spokesperson for the Republican Party of Florida as well as the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Attorney General of Florida. After serving as Executive Deputy Chief of Staff for Governor Charlie Crist, he returned to the private sector working with clients including the Republican National Committee and political candidates in Japan. He lives in Tallahassee with his wife, Sue and can be reached at Bob@ramos-sparks.com.

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