The Patriots suffered an ugly loss today, as they fell 31-20 to the Jacksonville Jaguars in a rematch of January’s AFC Championship Game. Jacksonville thoroughly outplayed the Pats on both sides of the ball, as they grabbed the lead early and never let it up.
Here are some takeaways from today’s loss.
1. The Jacksonville offense had its way with the Pats’ defense
The Pats’ defense took a serious step back from last week’s impressive performance against the Houston Texans, as they were porous and inept against Blake Bortles and the Jaguars’ offense. Playing without his top weapon in Leonard Fournette, Bortles did not miss a step, as he had 377 yards with 4 touchdowns and 1 interception. Today’s game was reminiscent of the first 3 and a half quarters of the AFC Championship Game, as Jacksonville dictated the pace of the game with strong rushes and passes. However, unlike the Championship Game, the Jaguars kept up their pace, which enabled them to finish off the Patriots. In the second half, after forcing 2 turnovers, it appeared as if the Patriots defense finally had its act together, but they ended up giving a 61-yard dagger when Dede Westbrook went uncovered across the middle of the field. To add insult to injury, the Pats lost 2 key starters in Trey Flowers and Patrick Chung, as both players suffered concussions.
2. The Patriots’ offense was absolutely anemic
The Patriots started off today’s game by advancing to the Jaguars’ 38-yard line, with a balanced rushing/passing attack, but they ended their opening drive with a missed field goal. Following that drive, the Jaguars put their clamps on the Pats’ offense, with the Brady Bunch scoring their first points with 8 minutes left in the second quarter. Jalen Ramsey and the Jags defense backed up their talk, as they limited Rob Gronkowski to 2 catches for 15 yards, and constantly harassed Tom Brady throughout the game. As CBS’ Tony Romo mentioned, the effect of the Jags’ pass rush was evident, as Brady tried to operate as quickly as possible. The sole bright spots for the Patriots’ offense were James White who had over 70 receiving yards, and Chris Hogan who caught both of Brady’s touchdowns. When it appeared as if the Patriots had gained momentum following a fourth quarter Bortles interception, Dante Fowler Jr. strip-sacked Brady, which prevented the Pats from trimming their 11 point deficit.
What’s next: The Pats head to the Motor City to take on their former defensive coordinator Matt Patricia and the winless Detroit Lions (0-2)