Patriots vs. Jaguars Game Day Newsletter Sept 16 Patriots_Digital - Page 77

T A NEW SEASON JAGUARS OPEN HOME SCHEDULE AGAINST THEIR AFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME NEMESIS FROM A SEASON AGO, THE NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS JACKSONVILLE – It was the result of last season’s AFC Championship game – and the fourth-quarter circumstances that led to it – that dominated the early offseason talk around Jacksonville. How it all unfolded is haunting even still… but, let us get it out of the way so we can move forward. • The Jaguars lead 20-10 seconds into the fourth quarter over Belichick, Brady and the New England Patriots at Foxborough in January. • No, Myles Jack wasn’t down – replay confi rmed it, but rules could not change it. Whistles stopped a potential fumble return for a touchdown that could have opened a 17-point lead with just under 14 minutes to play. • Two offensive fi rst downs in the quarter. • Third-and-18, Brady-to-Danny Amendola conversion. • Brady-to-Amendola touchdown to get the Patriots within four points with 8:53 remaining. • A Jaguars punt returned by the Patriots deep into Jags territory. • Brady-to-Amendola touchdown for a Patriots lead with 2:56 remaining. • A Stephon Gilmore pass breakup of a Blake Bortles fourth-and-15 pass in front of a breaking-open Jaguars receiver Dede Westbrook. • Tom Brady kneeling down in victory formation. AFC Championship game fi nal score: New England Patriots 24, Jacksonville Jaguars 20. The calendar long ago turned to 2018, and that’s the hard truth of all this. It is a new season. Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone said it best Monday when asked about that AFC Championship game result and if it is in the mindset of his team this week. “People always want to take you back, but you can’t.” Good luck with that. We just reviewed that fateful fourth quarter, but Marrone is right: the Jacksonville Jaguars (1-0) cannot change the result of that game in today’s meeting with the New England Patriots (1-0) at 4:25 p.m. in front of a national television audience on CBS. They cannot get back to the AFC Championship game with today’s result. The Jags cannot come close to securing a playoff berth today, as there are still 14 games left in the regular season. That game – that horrible, frustrating, “swallow- the-whistle, ref,” throw-things-at-the-television game – is not just the story of how last season ended. It is also how this 2018 Jacksonville Jaguars team was molded, the foundation from which they have been rebuilt and the crux how they are wired, driven and focused to improve. What the Jaguars can do – and what the organization has done – is utilize everything in their power to ensure something like that does not happen again.