Blake Bortles was probably the most criticized, least respected quarterback in the NFL this season – and now he’s one win away from the Super Bowl.
Funny how that works, isn’t it? Is it time for folks to reassess their criticism of Bortles?
In a word, yes.
“I think it’s unfair criticism,” former NFL All-Pro Tony Boselli said on Taz & The Moose. “My goodness, people say he’s the worst quarterback ever, and his peers have felt like they have the freedom and the license to just make ridiculous comments and make him the butt of jokes. (It’s) disrespectful by his peers. At some point, the national narrative by the media, you can’t just go with it when the guy’s in the AFC Championship and his numbers aren’t what you say they are. He’s not as bad as you think. He has stretches where he’s really, really good.”
Bortles completed a career-high 60.2 percent of his passes for 3,687 yards, 21 touchdowns, and a career-low 13 interceptions this season. He also averaged 15.3 yards per completion in a 45-42 win in Pittsburgh this past Sunday.
“Listen, are some of his throws bad? Yeah,” Boselli said. “I think this is where the problem is: When he’s bad, it’s awful. It’s awful. It hurts your eyes it’s awful. And he had a bad year last year and it’s carried over with him. But what he doesn’t get the credit for is he’s really gritty and competitive. Look at Buffalo. he couldn’t throw it and it was windy and it wasn’t going well, good defense. So he said, ‘Fine, I’ll just run around and make plays.’ He wasn’t sliding. He was putting his head down and trying to run over people getting first downs – and they won the football game.”
Same deal in Pittsburgh. Bortles ran five times for 35 yards, but he also made big plays with his arm in the fourth quarter to fend off Big Ben and the Steelers.
Up next for Bortles? A date with Tom Brady in the AFC Championship.
“The guy is better than he gets credit for, he’s definitely improved over the years, and the bottom line is he’s one of four left,” Boselli said. “He must be doing something right.”