|Posted on September 17, 2018 at 3:05 PM|
Article by Dan Tortora
The Jacksonville Jaguars feeling the defeat of last January did not have to last a whole calendar year, as they sent the New England Patriots away with a loss, 31-20, on Sunday, September 16, of this current campaign.
But this victory for the Jaguars wasn't simply a way to avenge last season or show that they truly are a serious contender. It was a statement to where Jacksonville is in their history as a National Football League (NFL) franchise.
The Jaguars had not won a game against the Patriots since January 3, 1999, which was 19 years and eight months ago, a span of almost two decades where the Patriots never lost a single match-up with the Jaguars. What was the common denominator in 1999 and 2018? Tom Coughlin was in Jacksonville with the franchise.
Between that win, 25-10, in 1999, and their most recent victory here in 2018, Jacksonville went 0-8 against New England in the regular season and postseason combined.
Their win-loss record prior to this contest was 1-11 head-to-head versus the Patriots, 0-7 in the regular season and 1-4 in the playoffs.
On top of that, the Jaguars ironically were in a game a decade ago against the Patriots that ended 31-20 in New England on January 12, 2008. That same score stood for all to see on the megaboards in Jacksonville, but this time in favor of the Jaguars 10 years and a few months later.
In the time in between their last win over New England in the postseason following the 2007-08 campaign, Jacksonville did not have a single winning season from 2008-09 through 2016-17, with their best season being 2010-11 where they went 8-8.
Back in 1999, Mark Brunell was under center for the Jaguars, throwing a single touchdown pass in the fourth quarter against the Patriots in the team's only other career win versus New England. Blake Bortles threw four touchdowns to four different players in this 2018 contest with New England.
Starting running back Fred Taylor ran for a 13-yard score in 1999. In this game, Jacksonville's starting running back, Leonard Fournette, did not play a single down due to a hamstring injury.
New England amounted 35 yards rushing on 19 carries (1.8 yards per carry) to Jacksonville's 160 yards on 37 attempts (4.3 yards per carry) in 1999. In 2018, the Patriots gathered 82 yards on 24 carries (3.4 yards per carry), while the Jaguars put together 104 yards on 24 carries (4.3 yards per carry) without Fournette.
The Jaguars accumulated 27 first downs to the Patriots' 18 here in this 2018 match-up; in their 2009 win, the Jaguars had 17 to the Patriots' 14.
Scott Zolak was the quarterback for New England in 2009, going 21-for-44 (47.7%) for 190 yards, no touchdowns, and one interception. In 2018, Tom Brady went 24-for-35 (68.6%) for 234 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions here in this 2018 game.
As aforementioned, Bortles had four touchdowns and one interceptions in this 2018 head-to-head, going 29-for-45 (64.4%) for 377 yards. Brunell went 14-for-34 (41.2%) for 161 yards, one touchdown, and no interceptions in 1999.
New England went 5-for-15 on third down in 1999 (33.3%), Jacksonville 7-for-18 (38.9%). The Patriots would equal that against a tenacious Jaguars' defense this time around, ending with a 33.3% success rate on third down (4-for-12), while the Jaguars elevated themselves from their third-down conversion percentage in 1999 to 71.4% in 2018 (10-for-14).
Put all the numbers together.
What comes out is that Mark Brunell and Blake Bortles are the only Jaguar quarterbacks to ever defeat the New England Patriots.
So, why is two wins in 13 tries a big deal?
Well, Jacksonville struck twice in the 1990s under Coughlin.
They struck again in their third time ever in the AFC Championship Game at the end of last season.
The only commonality being Tom Coughlin aiding in moving the Jacksonville franchise onward and upward, as the Head Coach in 1999 and the Executive Vice President of Football Operations currently,
But they have yet to break the plane of the Super Bowl.
That push may now be aided by their first defeat of New England in the regular season ever and first sign of being in the upper echelon of the AFC as a whole in the entire 21st century.
Credit to Head Coach Doug Marrone, Offensive Coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, Defensive Coordinator Todd Wash, Special Teams Coordinator Joe DeCamillis, the entire staff, front office, and of course, the players.
This is not the Jaguars' team you are used to.
And that is exactly what they were going for.