|Posted on September 16, 2018 at 7:35 PM|
Article by Dan Tortora
The New England Patriots would start off their rematch with the Jacksonville Jaguars with a surge all the way to the Jaguars' 36-yard line, but pressure on quarterback Tom Brady by defensive end Yannick Ngakoue would force 4th-&-7.
Kicker Stephen Gostkowski would send the 54-yard attempt wide right off of his foot and Jacksonville would take over just six yards away from midfield, on their own 44-yard line.
But they would have to start this drive without their starting running back, Leonard Fournette, who was ruled inactive prior to the game.
On 3rd-&-6, quarterback Blake Bortles would step up and hit tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins, playing his second game as a Jaguar, for a first down.
Two more first downs would happen back-to-back shortly after with wide receiver Dede Westbrook catching the ball from Bortles and then rookie wide receiver D.J. Chark recovering the fumble followed by running back Corey Grant's catch-and-run that brought Jacksonville forward 15 yards to the New England 30-yard line.
Grant would catch his second pass on this drive to gain another first down, this time over the middle for eight yards.
On this first drive of the contest by the Jaguars, Patriots' defensive end Trey Flowers went down and lay mostly motionless before walking off the field. He was evaluated for a concussion, while Jaguars' starting left tackle Cam Robinson went down with a knee injury.
Immediately following Grant's second catch of the drive and of the game, Bortles threw to newly-added wide receiver Donte Moncrief who made one tough catch, turning his body to face the ball and reel it in with cornerback Stephon Gilmore blanketing him. Moncrief grabbed the ball and planted his feet in the end zone for his first touchdown as a Jaguar, putting Jacksonville ahead 7-0 in the first quarter.
After a quick 3rd-&-out, the Jaguars would march down the field on the arm of Bortles and the tremendous work by his receivers, none a better play than wide receiver Keelan Cole's one handed grab, catching the ball with his left hand over his defender, holding on while moving, and staying inbounds for what turned into a 46-yard gain off of a catch for the ages. No amount of writing can hold a candle to this catch by Cole, potentially one of the greatest catches ever in the history of the National Football League (NFL).
The Jaguars' second drive would end, fittingly, with Cole catching a touchdown pass in the end zone, a 24-yard play that would be Bortles' second touchdown pass of the match-up, placing Jacksonville ahead 14-0 with 2:10 left in the first quarter. Bortles went 5-for-6 on this drive.
Bortles ended the first quarter 10-for-13 for 123 passing yards, two passing touchdowns, and no interceptions.
On their third drive of the game, which occurred early in the second quarter, Moncrief looked to have the first down but left guard Andrew Norwell was flagged for illegal use of the hands. Moncrief would catch a pass after the penalty and make a valiant effort to gain 12 yards, but Moncrief would be a little short and Jacksonville would punt for their first time in the game.
The "Brady Bunch" would put some points on their side of the scoreboard on their fourth drive of the first half, but it would be three instead of seven, with the Jaguars halting a drive that saw the Patriots go from their own 6-yard line to the Jaguars' 11-yard line. New England's 16-play, 73-yard drive would take a hefty bite out of the game clock to the tune of eight minutes and 20 seconds, giving Jacksonville possession with 2:45 left in the first half, ahead 14-3.
Jacksonville kept their final drive of the first half alive when Bortles found Seferian-Jenkins for a first-down pass-play on 3rd-&-7.
Cole would continue his prowess with catches of 17 and 14 yards, followed by fellow wide receiver Dede Westbrook's grab for 11 yards that moved the Jaguars to the Patriots' 11-yard line.
This final drive for Jacksonville in the first half would end with Bortles' third touchdown pass of the game, this to his third different receiver, when Seferian-Jenkins went from right to left, catching an open attempt in the end zone to bring the Jacksonville lead to 21-3.
Bortles would conclude the first half 17-for-25 for 200 passing yards, three touchdowns, and no interceptions. Brady finished the first half 12-for-18 for 107 passing yards, no touchdowns, and no interceptions.
The Jaguars ended the first half 5-for-6 on third down, an 83% efficiency performance, while the Patriots went 2-for-6 (33%).
On their first drive of the second half, Jacksonville continued to ride their wave of momentum, taking exactly half of the third-quarter game clock off on a seven minute and 50 second drive through the uprights on a 28-yarder by kicker Josh Lambo to give the Jaguars a 24-3 advantage with 7:50 remaining in the third quarter.
Jacksonville wide receiver D.J. Chark would receive a pass over the middle and take multiple steps before colliding with the New England defense, who would force a fumble and take over on the Jacksonville 48-yard line.
Brady would go 3-for-3 on the drive that came as a result of Chark's fumble and rookie running back Sony Michel would carry the ball four times for 20 yards (5 yards per carry). The drive would conclude with wide receiver Chris Hogan catching the ball in the end zone for Brady's first touchdown pass of the game, bringing the score to 24-10 with 1:42 remaining in the third quarter.
Jacksonville would have no response on a fast 3-&-out that would take less than a minute off the game clock, punting the ball away to New England toward the close of the third quarter.
The Patriots began the fourth quarter with a 46-yard field goal from Stephen Gostkowski with 14:10 left in the game, bringing the score to 24-13 Jaguars.
Bortles, who had been making it look easy to move the ball down the field, through into multiple coverage over the middle. Seferian-Jenkins got his hands on it, but the ball went into the air and linebacker Kyle Van Noy intercepted it, starting their next drive on the Jacksonville 25-yard line.
But, wait a second.
On 3rd-&-9 from the Jaguars' 24-yard line, Brady was sacked for a loss of eight yards by defensive end Dante Fowler, Jr., who also stripped the ball from Brady and recovered the fumble despite being held.
Just like that, Jacksonville took their worst blunder of the game and negated it by taking the ball back at their own 32-yard line.
The Jaguars would get to the Patriots' 48-yard line but would punt the ball away. Punter Logan Cooke and the special teams' unit would pit the Patriots on their own 9-yard line with 9:37 to play and the Jaguars ahead 11.
New England running back James White caught a pass from Brady and ran for the first-down marker. The ball was spotted and the Patriots achieved a new set of downs. But the spot of the ball would be challenged by Jaguars' head coach Doug Marrone, who would win the challenge. The ball was re-spotted and it was short, and the Patriots decided to punt on 4th-&-1.
It took Bortles one play to capitalize on Marrone's correct challenge, tossing the ball to Westbrook who would go 61 yards for the score. Cole placed a perfect block for Westbrook who was able to sneak around it on the sideline to raise Jacksonville to a 31-13 advantage.
Brady would be sacked for a loss of six yards to the Jacksonville 47-yard line. However, he responded by finding Hogan in the field for a 29-yard score, Hogan's second touchdown of the game to make it 31-20 Jacksonville with 3:48 remaining.
Bortles and the Jaguars would take over and Grant would gain the final first down needed, on 3rd-&-3, handing the Patriots a loss to offer at least some revenge for the last time they met, in the most recent AFC Championship Game.
Jaguars take the match 31-20 to move to 2-0 while the Patriots are sent to 1-1.
Bortles ended the contest 29-for-45 for 377 passing yards, four touchdowns, and one interception.
Brady concluded the contest going 24-for-35 for 234 passing yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions. He did fumble and lose the fumble.
Cole led all Jaguars' receivers with 116 yards. Four different players got into the end zone on receptions, as previously mentioned: Cole, Moncrief, Westbrook, and Seferian-Jenkins.
The Jaguars went 10-for-14 on third down (71.4%), while the Patriots ended the game 4-for-12 (33.3%).
Duval has waited a long time to see their hometown team on their home field. It just so happened to be against the team that knocked them out of the Super Bowl running.
This time, Jacksonville knocked back... without Leonard Fournette, nonetheless.
It was a homecoming well worth the wait.