Pressure Takes Toll On Jags, Pats advance to Another Superbowl
This was the game viewers were able to sink their teeth into from start to finish. When the Jaguars took a quick 14-0 lead, NFL fans across the nation glued their eyes to their TV sets in anticipation to see if the Jaguars actually could pull out one of the biggest upsets in NFL postseason history.
While many were disappointed with the final result, the 9.5 point underdogs didn’t buy into the ‘Patriots in Foxboro,’ intimidation, and held the lead into the late 4th quarter.
In the end, the Jaguars were the Jaguars. Bortles proved he couldn’t perform under pressure, as the Jags had multiple opportunities to put the game away late, and failed to do so.
So what went wrong? Why couldn’t this defensive dominant team hold on to a 14 point lead? There are two aspects that need to be highlighted.
1. 60 Minutes of Perfection
– Any team should know when playing a playoff game on the road against the Patriots, you need to be perfect. You need to be perfect for the entire 60 minutes on both sides of the ball. The Jaguars stole the momentum early, and rather than never looking back, they let the top seeded Pats stick around in their home building. That usually leads to bad things.
The fact that the penalties were lopsided is a perfect example of why you need 60 minutes of perfection. You can complain all you want, you knew coming into this game there was a distinct possibility of New England getting most of the calls, and if you didn’t, that was your ignorant, and naive mistake.
2. Change Of Gameplan
– The Jaguars moved the ball well in the first three quarters because they played their style of football. They played a ground, and pound with Fournette, and when needed, check downs for a few yards here, and there. Thats how this offense is built. In the 4th, rather than sticking with their gameplan, they played into New England’s. New England put everyone in the box, so the Jags strayed away from their original plan, & attempted to look down field. A great example is on a 2nd & 10 in the 4th, rather than attempt to eat up clock, or a check down for a few yards, Bortles looked downfield into double coverage, and the incompletion lead to a 3rd & 10 deep in their own territory. They then ran a check down for 3 or 4 yards, and were forced to punt (which lead to New England’s eventual game-winning drive).
If Jacksonville really stuck with their plan, they would have ran the check down on 2nd down, made 3rd down more manageable, and then you give yourself numerous options on a 3rd & 5 or 6. This is just a notable example that lead to their eventual demise.
On the contrary, the Pats straight up outplayed the Jaguars in the 4th quarter, and because the game was still in reach, Brady and company took advantage of an inexperienced Jaguars team.