Tom Brady gets one more chance at redemption against a Tom Coughlin defense. Second quarter
Patriots 3, Jaguars 14 : Tom Brady was able to dig the Pats out of its own red zone, but the swarming Jacksonville pass rush proved too tough to overcome, sacking him on third-and-10 and forcing a punt. New England’s comeback will have to wait.
Patriots 3, Jaguars 14 : The Patriots have no answer for Blake Bortles. The embattled quarterback has taken advantage of his windows, wrecking his opponent with a combination of screen plays and wide-open looks downfield. He completed eight straight passes before giving way to a Leonard Fournette-led running game. Fournette churned into the end zone from four yards out to push the underdogs’ lead to double-digits — and put the Patriots in trouble.
Patriots 3, Jaguars 7 : New England’s insistence on stopping the run bit them as Bortles finished off a 76-yard drive with a touchdown pass to a wide-open Marcedes Lewis. It was Lewis’s first postseason TD catch in his 12-year career.
The Patriots struggled to cover Jacksonville’s receivers downfield — and weren’t especially damaging on the ground either. The Jags averaged nearly 11 yards per play on that scoring drive. That’s bad news...and this might be even worse:
The last three times the Patriots trailed at any point in an AFC Championship game, they went on to lose (2013 & 2015 to Broncos, 2012 to Ravens) — NFL Research (@NFLResearch) January 21, 2018
First quarter: Patriots 3, Jaguars 0
Patriots 3, Jaguars 0 : The Jaguars second drive was more successful, as a screen and run-heavy attack gashed the Patriots’ front seven and pushed the team into field goal position as time ran out on the first quarter.
Patriots 3, Jaguars 0 : Jacksonville dinked-and-dunked its way near midfield, but Blake Bortles was unable to connect on a pair of mid-range passes on second and third down, forcing the Jags to punt after a promising start.
Patriots 3, Jaguars 0 : The Pats drove from their own 25 into Jacksonville territory, but their drive seemed to stall out at the 31. That led New England to go for it on 4th-and-2, which resulted in a 21-yard wheel-route completion to Danny Amendola.
Brady rolled that momentum into two-straight negative-yard screen passes before taking a sack on third-and-goal, forcing a 31-yard Stephen Gostkowski field goal.
Pregame : It took approximately 30 seconds before Tom Brady and Jalen Ramsey began jawing at each other .
Tom Brady and his hand have safely arrived at @GilletteStadium . (Watch until the end to see him and Jalen Ramsey briefly go at it) pic.twitter.com/VFu5xfDmSJ — Patriots on NBCSB (@NBCSPatriots) January 21, 2018
Before the game
You can’t give the Jacksonville Jaguars bonus opportunities — not in 2018. That’s exactly what sunk the Pittsburgh Steelers last week as Doug Marrone’s team took four turnovers — two on downs, one interception, and one fumble — and turned them into 28 points and more than 55 minutes of complete control at Heinz Field.
On Sunday, they’ll have to replicate that success against a team that turned the ball over fewer times than all but one other team in the NFL. The New England Patriots excel by limiting mistakes; they committed just three turnovers at home this season. That means Blake Bortles and an offense that exploded for 38 points last week (the Jags added seven more on a fumble return for a touchdown) will have to be just as volatile when they head to Gillette Stadium Sunday.
The two teams meet at 3:05 p.m. ET. The game will be broadcast live on CBS (live stream via CBS All-Access or fubo.TV ).
New England is streaking toward its third Super Bowl appearance in four years. The Patriots have won 12 of their last 13 games after a shaky 2-2 start that raised questions about the team’s defense. Defensive coordinator Matt Patricia, whose days with the club may be numbered after reports swirled that he’d become the Lions ’ latest head coach once his postseason comes to an end, answered those questions by allowing fewer points over the last 13 weeks of the season (14.0) than any other team in the NFL. That strength shined through last week against the Titans , who scored only seven points in the game’s first 58 minutes before adding a garbage-time touchdown as time wound down.
That could lead to a defensive struggle in Foxborough. The heart of the Jaguars resurgence has been a punishing defense that ranks third in the league in total defense, second in sacks, and first in passing defense. They’ll be tested by Brady, the probable 2017 MVP who keeps chugging along at 40 years of age.
Jacksonville knocked off one Hall of Fame quarterback last week. If it can do it again, it’ll push a tortured franchise to its first Super Bowl.
The Jaguars beat the Steelers for the same reason they can beat the Patriots: They’re pissed
This team is GASSED. UP. And there’s someone Malik Jackson would like to see...... #Jaguars pic.twitter.com/BOVjUeoSDt — Alyssa Lang (@AlyssaLang) January 14, 2018
Meanwhile, the biggest emotion Bill Belichick could muster in last week’s rout was complete disinterest .
The defense helped, but it was an explosion from the Jacksonville offense that spoiled a Patriots-Steelers rematch in the AFC title game .
Ben Roethlisberger has struggled against the Jaguars historically, and that looked like it was going to be the case again when he started the game with an interception thrown to Myles Jack and a fumble that was returned by Telvin Smith for a touchdown. But he finished the game with five touchdowns — a much better showing than his zero touchdowns and five interceptions against the Jaguars in October.
Still, the Jaguars held off Pittsburgh’s second-half surge and put the game away with 61-yard and 75-yard touchdown drives in the fourth quarter.
If the Jags want to upset the Patriots, they should probably figure out how to stop this one play Belichick keeps borrowing from Kansas City.
What’s that got to do with the Chiefs , you ask? Well, the Chiefs ran that play against the Texans in Week 5, and it worked like a charm with one of their speeders, De’ Anthony Thomas .
The Patriots changed the formation ever so slightly to hide the play, but it worked all the same. And in fact, it’s not the only time the Patriots have run the play this season.
In their Super Bowl rematch against the Falcons the very next week after the Chiefs ran it, the Patriots used it.
The hatin’-ass Jaguars got called for taunting on a fumble return for a touchdown, and it was totally worth it .
Is this the last year of the Belichick-Brady-Kraft triumverate? (Probably not)
A report from ESPN’s Seth Wickersham says that tensions between the team’s twin icons, head coach Bill Belichick, and quarterback Tom Brady , have festered to the point that the situation might just be untenable going forward .
In the middle of it is Robert Kraft, the team’s owner, who inserted himself into the fray in a meeting with Belichick this season that ended with Kraft instructing his head coach to trade backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo .