The Jacksonville Jaguars (2-3) won the team's first October road game in 10 attempts following a miraculous fourth quarter comeback against the Chicago Bears (1-5) at Soldier Field on Sunday.
The Jaguars scored 17 points in the fourth quarter to finish with a 17-16 win.
Jacksonville trailed throughout the majority of the game - including a 13-0 hole to start the fourth quarter - but made some big plays down the stretch to sneak in front of Chicago.
The Jaguars offense started off hot but a first quarter interception - caused by a dropped pass from Pro Bowl wide receiver Allen Robinson - pumped the brakes on Jacksonville's rhythm. The Jaguars didn't regain momentum until the end of the third quarter.
A miracle 51-yard catch-and-run touchdown score by wide receiver Arrelious Benn allowed the Jaguars to take the lead with less than three minutes remaining in the game. The Bears were unable to answer and the Jaguars were able to steal the victory.
Quarterback Blake Bortles completed 20-of-33 passes for 271 passing yards, a touchdown and an interception. His top targets were wide receivers Allen Hurns and Marqise Lee. Both receivers combined for 11 catches for 135 receiving yards.
The Bears maintained control for most of the game, as quarterback Brian Hoyer completed 30-of-49 passes for 300 receiving yards. His main target was Bears wide receiver Cameron Meredith, who caught 11 passes for 113 receiving yards. Linebacker Willie Young also had two sacks and a fumble on defense.
The Jaguars won the coin toss but elected to defer possession to the second half.
The Bears received the ball first and allowed a kickoff from Jason Myers to zoom past the endzone for a touchback. Chicago immediately went to the air, as Brian Hoyer connected with wide receiver Alshon Jeffery for a quick 11-yard gain. The game's initial earned first down then led to a run stop by Jaguars defensive tackle Roy Miller. The Jaguars then followed that up with another run stop behind the line of scrimmage.
However, a personal foul on defensive end Jared Odrick moved the ball 15 yards upfield and gave the Bears a first down. The Bears were unable to take advantage of the gift by Odrick and eventually were forced to punt. The Chicago punting unit pinned the Jaguars within Jacksonville's 10-yard line.
Stuck deep in their own territory, the Jaguars went to the air. Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles gave the offense some breathing room to start the drive, as he hit wide receiver Allen Robinson for an 18-yard gain and a first down. Three plays later, Robinson gained another first down off a Bortles throw.
Robinson's second first down catch was followed up by a big grab from wide receiver Marqise Lee, who slipped off a Bears defender and moved the sticks. After two runs from running back Chris Ivory, wide receiver Allen Hurns drew a pass interference call on Bears linebacker Jerrell Freeman. The penalty moved the Jaguars in the redzone.
On third and 4, another Bears pass interference penalty put the Jaguars within the Chicago five-yard line. After a four-yard run from Ivory and a failed pass attempt to tight end Marcedes Lewis, Jaguars left tackle Kelvin Beachum was called for a false start, moving Jacksonville back five yards.
At the Chicago six-yard line, Bortles threw a pass to Robinson, who dropped it and Bears cornerback Tracy Porter was able to intercept the ball. The pass bounced off Robinson and he should have been able to make the grab - but instead - the turnover took points off the board for the Jaguars.
Porter returned the ball to the 24-yard line after intercepting the pass in the end zone. With solid field position, Hoyer led his unit downfield quickly. The 11-play, 58-yard drive by the Bears extended into the second quarter. It was capped by a 36-yard field goal from kicker Connor Barth, which put the Bears up 3-0 with 14:12 remaining in the first half.
A touchback placed the Jaguars at their own 25-yard line. A holding call on right tackle Jermey Parnell and a one-yard run, put the Jaguars in a second and 19 situation. Bortles was able to connect with Robinson for a 14-yard completion but Jacksonville was unable to convert on third down and punted.
The Bears offense was able to put together another strong drive following the Jaguars' stalled series. The 16-play, 86-yard drive culminated with a one-yard touchdown run from running back Jordan Howard. A big 26-yard catch-and-run by Jeffery kept the Chicago drive alive and moved the Bears into the redzone. Fellow wide receiver Cameron Meredith also caught a 16-yard pass to move the ball down to the one-yard line.
With a successful extra point attempt from Barth, the Bears led the Jaguars, 10-0, with 4:26 left in the first half.
Following another touchback, Bortles was able to pick up a quick first down with a throw to Lee. However, the drive started to falter when the quarterback was sacked by Bears linebacker Willie Young. A long third down pass to Hurns - across the middle - was dropped after the receiver was hit by three Bears defenders. The Jaguars were forced to punt again.
The Bears offense played it safe to end the first half. After picking up a few first downs with Jeffery, Chicago was forced to punt with 18 seconds remaining. Bryan Walters fair caught the ball deep in Jaguars territory and Bortles kneeled to end the second quarter.
The Jaguars started where they left off to begin the second half. Bortles and the offense were stumped to start the third quarter and were kicked off the field after three plays. Jaguars punter Brad Nortman was forced to punt for a third time.
The Bears and the Jaguars traded punts back-and-forth until Chicago was able to catch fire again midway through the third quarter. A 17-yard gain on a reception from wide receiver Eddie Royal woke up the Soldier Field crowd. However - on the next play - Bears lineman Cody Whitehair was called for holding.
Despite being moved back 10 yards, Hoyer was able to create a spark on a screen pass to Meredith. The wide receiver caught the ball and carried it 36 yards for a first down and more. After the big play by Meredith, the Bears called Howard's number. The young running back carried the ball into Jaguars territory and helped maintain momentum for Chicago. Barth eventually hit a chip shot, 24-yard field goal to put the Bears up 13-0 with 1:54 left in the third quarter.
The Jaguars finally showed some life at the end of the third quarter. Bortles hit Hurns for two massive gains to get Jacksonville deep into Chicago territory. Hurns gained 25 and 29 yards on two receptions and put the Jaguars within the Chicago 10-yard line. A holding penalty on the Bears put the Jaguars at the one-yard line and Jacksonville took advantage. Ivory ran through a wide open hole in the Bears defense and scored for the Jaguars.
A successful extra point attempt by Myers dropped the Bears' lead to six. The Jaguars trailed 13-7 with 14:50 remaining in the game.
The Bears offense struggled on the next possession and Chicago was forced to punt again. However - a few plays later - Bortles was stripped of the ball by Young, who produced his second sack. The Bears recovered the fumble.
With great field position, the Bears took advantage and scored again. The six-play, 14-yard drive ended with a 32-yard field goal from Barth. The Bears led 16-7 with 8:28 remaining in the game.
The Jaguars offense bounced back from Bortles' fumble on its next possession. Bortles hit Hurns for an early first down, which gave the offense some rhythm. A facemask penalty on the Bears moved Jacksonville into Chicago territory and helped the Jaguars' attack. Bortles hit Lee and tight end Julius Thomas on passes to keep the drive alive.
Despite the heavy momentum, the Jaguars were forced to settle for a field goal. Myers hit the 30-yard attempt and the score was 16-10 with 5:03 remaining in the game.
The Jaguars defense forced the Bears offense off the field quickly and allowed the Jacksonville offense to get back on the field. Following a punt from Pat O'Donnell, the Jaguars put together a scoring drive to take the lead.
Bortles went 3-of-4 for 78 yards on the touchdown drive. He completed a pass to Arrelious Benn, who fell to the ground quickly but wasn't touched by a defender. Benn stood up and ran to the end zone for the touchdown. An extra point by Myers put the Jaguars up 17-16 with 2:58 remaining in the game. It was the Jaguars first lead of the contest.
The Bears' final drive was stalled by penalties and miscues. Chicago was unable to answer the Jaguars' comeback, as Jacksonville cornerback Jalen Ramsey knocked down a pass to Jeffery on fourth down.
The Jaguars won the game, 17-16.
Jaguars Player of the Game
Jaguars wide receiver Allen Hurns was the catalyst for the team's brief turnaround in the second half. He made two big catches on the Jaguars' first touchdown drive and really allowed the team to pick up the pace. He finished with five receptions for 74 yards on Sunday.
Jaguars Play of the Game
With less than three minutes left in the game, Bortles hit Benn for a quick first down pass. While Benn fell to the ground, no one touched him. Benn quickly stood up and carried the ball 51 yards to the end zone for a touchdown. The score set up an extra point by Myers and allowed the Jaguars to take the lead late in the game.
The Jaguars came into the game without wide receiver Rashad Greene (Achilles), tight end Neal Sterling (foot) and running back Corey Grant (toe) due to injury.
The Bears entered the game without quarterback Jay Cutler (thumb), running back Jeremy Langford (ankle), defensive tackle Eddie Goldman (ankle), linebacker Leonard Floyd (calf) and cornerback Deiondre' Hall (ankle) due to various injuries.
Follow Mike Kaye on Twitter at @Mike_E_Kaye.