CINCINNATI -- Hello again, Allen Hurns.
The Jacksonville Jaguars rookie receiver wasn’t injured or suspended the past seven weeks. He just wasn’t as noticeable as he was in the season opener, when he caught four passes for 110 yards and two touchdowns.
He was pretty visible on Sunday in the Jaguars’ 33-23 loss to Cincinnati at Paul Brown Stadium. He caught seven passes for 112 yards and two touchdowns, both of which came on plays in which he outfought defensive backs and adjusted to poorly thrown balls.
"We do a good job of playing for the ball," said Hurns, who had caught six passes in the Jaguars’ three previous games. "That’s what we’ve been talking about all week, just playing for the ball. If the ball's in our area, get the ball. We wanted to eliminate the turnovers, so when the ball’s in the air we needed to get aggressive with it."
Hurns' first TD catch came on a ball that Bortles was trying to throw in front of him so he could run under it. Instead, the ball was short and Hurns had to fight off cornerback Leon Hall, who never saw the ball.
His second TD catch was a throw that Bortles probably shouldn’t have made. Hurns was bracketed by safety George Iloka in back and cornerback Terence Newman in front, but he outwrestled Newman for the ball at the goal line.
Hurns also had another 28-yard catch in the middle of the field on the drive that ended with Bortles’ interception in the end zone. It was a tough catch between Hall and linebacker Emmanuel Lamur.
"I threw him some bad balls and he fought for them," Bortles said. "He battled his tail off.
"It was an unbelievable job. All of them were really good catches. He understands really well and he has a really good feel for everything going on. He was able to make some really good catches."
Hurns was pleased with his performance but said he wants to do a better job of following this big day better than he did his first. After the four catches for 110 yards and two TDs against Philadelphia, Hurns caught three passes in the next two games. He had 22 catches entering Sunday and had found the end zone just once after the first week, a 63-yard catch and run on his only reception against Indianapolis.
"It’s been ups and downs but each day I’ve been attacking, attacking [and] trying to get better each day," Hurns said. "How I prepare hasn’t changed at all. I just come in each day and try to be consistent. That’s the main thing, just be consistent so I just want to use this to keep getting me better each week and improve."