Jacksonville Jaguars rookie quarterback Blake Bortles tried in vain to maintain his concentration on his receivers and the Ravens' downfield coverage.
Bortles' view of the field was repeatedly disrupted, though, as the Ravens' front seven sacked him a season-high eight times Sunday during a 20-12 win at M&T Bank Stadium. The Ravens were one sack shy of tying the team single-game record of nine sacks that's happened three times before.
“He's a young kid, I don't think he got shook up,” said outside linebacker Terrell Suggs, who sacked Bortles 2 1/2 times Sunday and has 11 sacks for the season. “He still made throws even though we were hitting him. I don't think we shook him up.”
While it's debatable whether Bortles was intimidated by the Ravens' defense, it was obvious how much the pass rush supported a banged-up secondary. Bortles completed just 21 of 37 passes for 210 yards and was intercepted once. He was hit 15 times.
“It's incredible, our pass rush has been phenomenal,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. “It's been phenomenal all year, and it has to be. When you get pressure on the quarterback, it's a passing league, that's the key.”
Rookie defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan made his second start since Pro Bowl defensive tackle Haloti Ngata was suspended for four games for violating the NFL performance-enhancing drug policy. Jernigan had two sacks, four tackles and three quarterback hits. Jernigan has four sacks for the season, the most by a rookie defensive tackle in franchise history.
“We really wanted to come out and make some plays and establish a tone,” Jernigan said. “We were doing some things in there, some stunting, but I was able to beat my guy a couple of times and make a play. It feels real good to be able to contribute to this defense.”
Outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil had one sack Sunday and has 17 sacks for the season to tie his previous career high in 2009 with the Denver Broncos.
“Sacks come in bunches. Every sack man knows that,” Dumervil said. “When you get an opportunity, you just have to take full advantage of it. Guys were having fun.”
Outside linebacker Pernell McPhee had 1 1/2 sacks and four quarterback hits, and inside linebacker C.J. Mosley picked up a sack on a blitz.
“We all tried to get back there,” Mosley said. “I think guys are competing more for who has the sack than how many sacks we get.”