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Week 20 Game Recap: Jacksonville Jaguars 20, New England Patriots 24
What you need to know
was executing nearly flawlessly in the first half and the Jaguars playcalling and play sequencing kept the Patriots off-balance. Leonard Fournette
also got off to a good start on his touches. Both Fournette and Bortles were bottled up in the second half, in part because of predictable playcalling. Allen Hurns
had his best game in months, and backup running back Corey Grant
had three strong catch and run receptions to help jump start the offense in the first half.
-When the most dominant tight end in history gets a concussion, naturally, it has ramifications. Gronk's health will be a major storyline over the next two weeks.
-The Pats once again play an elite defense, so it remains to be seen if they go pass heavy again if the run game is ineffective. Despite that, expect Dion Lewis
to continue to be lead dog in the back field.
|QB Blake Bortles, Pass: 23 - 36 - 293 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 2 - -2 - 0|
Bortles had an excellent first half. The first drive for the Jaguars didn't result in a score, but Bortles converted two third downs with passes. The second drive of the day was fueled by two long catch and runs on short passes to backup running back Corey Grant
and finished with a perfect floater to Marcedes Lewis
in the end zone. Bortles hooked up with Grant again to kick start the third drive and found Allen Hurns
on back to back plays to advance into field goal range. The running game did the rest and the Jaguars were staked to a 14-3 lead. He converted a third and long to Keelan Cole
in the Jaguars last drive of the first half, but the possession stalled out when Bortles was sacked. The team chose to not let Bortles try to compose another scoring drive with 55 seconds left, foreshadowing a lack of confidence in Bortles that would undo their bid for a Super Bowl berth. Bortles short passing helped a field goal drive in the third quarter, and another good third down pass, followed by a flea flicker pass to Allen Hurns
fueled another field goal drive to put the team up by ten in the fourth quarter. The Jaguars relied too much on the run on first down while they were nursing the lead and then went to low percentage passes on second and third down, giving the Patriots too much time and putting Bortles in the opposite of the situations that he was flourishing in early in the game. He had one last gasp drive to regain the lead, but Stephon Gilmore made a sprawling play on the ball on a pass to Dede Westbrook
that could have been a go-ahead score. Bortles wasn't the reason the Jaguars lost, but they didn't give him enough opportunity to be the reason they won in the second half.
Fournette had the first four offensive touches for the Jaguars, including two receptions, totaling 18 yards. he had a pair of successful runs on the Jaguars first touchdown drive, and five carries on the New England side of the field, including the touchdown on their second scoring drive. After the Jaguars opened an 11-point lead, Fournette's carries were largely ineffective and predictable.
|RB T.J. Yeldon, Rush: 5 - 25 - 0, Rec: 2 - 6 - 0 (3 targets)|
Yeldon was involved early on a long downfield target that barely missed hooking up. He had a strong run in the red zone to set up the team's second touchdown, but after that got most of his touches on capitulation runs on passing downs. He was also the running back that touched the ball on the successful flea flicker play in the second half.
|RB Corey Grant, Rush: 1 - 2 - 0, Rec: 3 - 59 - 0 (3 targets)|
Grant had three long catch and run plays to jolt the Jaguars offense into motion in the first half, but only touched the ball one more time in the game on offense.
Bohanon had an impact play on his only touch, a 20-yard reception to start a field goal drive in the third quarter.
Hurns caught six of his seven targets and had an important back-to-back catch sequence on the team's second scoring drive. He also helped make a flea flicker into a successful play in the second half as the underneath target, and that play helped set up a field goal to put the team up ten points in the fourth quarter. He also had a nice 20-yard catch and run on what would be one of the team's last first downs in the fourth quarter.
Lee was mostly used on crossing routes and ran well after the catch to convert more than one first down. He led the team in targets, but didn't have a large impact on the outcome of the game.
Cole had a long reception on a third and eight conversion in the first half, but the drive led to no points, and a first down conversion on the team's first touchdown drive to get into field goal range. He wasn't targeted again until the fourth quarter on an unsuccessful short pass on third and long.
Westbrook caught a back shoulder throw from Blake Bortles
on the last ditch drive that could have been a go-ahead score if he had kept his feet. He was also the target on the Jaguars last offensive play, and would have had a chance to catch the ball and score if Stephon Gilmore hadn't made a sprawling break up.
New England Patriots
|QB Tom Brady, Pass: 26 - 38 - 290 - 2 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 5 - 0 - 0|
Another day, another Super Bowl appearance for the best ever. Despite the hand injury, despite a ferocious defense, despite the loss of Gronk, Tom Brady
and the Pats still found a way to stage a comeback and move onto the ultimate game. His second throw of the game was a deep strike to Brandin Cooks
for 31 yards, a sign his hand might be in decent shape. Another early throw was a spectacular 4th down lob to Danny Amendola
for a first down conversion. The pass rush was especially fierce in the first half, but as usual, halftime adjustments seemed to work in favor of the Pats, who buckled down in the second half. Brady's first touchdown was a shallow crossing route by Danny Amendola
, set up by a nice flood of receivers from one side. The second was an amazing tiptoe catch by Amendola once again in the back of the end zone. The team also had a couple deep P.I. calls, though there were throws Brady missed as well. Still, given the circumstances, it was a stellar performance.
|RB Dion Lewis, Rush: 9 - 34 - 0, Rec: 7 - 32 - 0 (8 targets)|
Against the speedy Jags defense, Dion Lewis
was stifled on both the ground and in the air, turning 16 touches into a mere 66 yards. Major credit goes to the Jags defense who dominated the trenches. Lewis's most memorable play was a fumble deep in Jaguars territory that ceded a massive momentum swing. Again, credit goes to the defense, Myles Jack in particular, for ripping the ball out of Lewis's blind spot. The offense shifted away from the run game and put the onus on the passing game, which worked out in the end.
|RB James White, Rush: 3 - 4 - 1, Rec: 3 - 22 - 0 (5 targets)|
Though the Patriots went pass heavy, White wasn't heavily involved beyond his short 1 yard touchdown scamper. This was because the wide receivers surprisingly dominated the Jaguars' elite cornerbacks.
Coming off an injury, Burkhead wasn't involved in the game plan at all beyond a few touches and targets.
|WR Danny Amendola, Pass: 1 - 1 - 20 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 1 - 3 - 0, Rec: 7 - 84 - 2 (9 targets)|
It's not hyperbole to say that Amendola has been the best player for the Patriots this postseason, as he turned in another otherworldly playoff performance, moving chains and snagging a couple touchdowns to boot. With Gronk going down with injury, Amendola and fellow WR Brandin Cooks
stepped up and beat an elite group of Jags corners, making them look pedestrian. Amendola's first touchdown was a shallow crossing route from a WR flood look. His second was an amazing toe-tap catch in the back of the end zone that many receivers would not have made. He also caught a Willie Mays basket-lob from Tom Brady
to convert a fourth down. He'll need to keep it going against a studly Eagles defense in two weeks.
With Gronk going down with injury, Brandin Cooks
stepped up in a big way, beating A.J. Bouye and Jalen Ramsey on several plays. On the second play of the game, Cooks beat Ramsey for a 31 yard gain, setting the tone for what was to come. He also nearly scored, taking a slant pass to the 1 yard line. Cooks also drew around 70 yards in pass interference penalties on his way to a great day. His only blemish was a deep drop that could have gone for a touchdown, but no harm no foul as the Patriots did walk away with the victory.
Taking a back seat to Brandin Cooks
and Danny Amendola
, Hogan was not heard from much as he continues to shake off rust.
Early in the game, Gronk suffered a concussion on a helmet to helmet hit. He was ruled out for the first of the game, and his health will be something to watch over the next two weeks.