The Patriots have made an art form out of the second half comeback in recent years but on Sunday in sizzling Jacksonville the Pats couldn’t climb out of a giant early hole.
The Jaguars put up 21 points and the Pats offense only mustered a field goal in the first half, paving the way to a 31-20 Jaguars win. The Patriots are now 1-1 on the season while Jacksonville moved to 2-0. The Pats will now face the Lions next Sunday night in Detroit.
Like in last season’s AFC Championship game, Blake Bortles had his way with the New England defense. On Sunday, Bortles had 200 yards passing and three touchdowns by halftime. At the half, Tom Brady had just 107 yards passing. The Patriots’ rushing offense couldn’t get anything going early on either as it mustered just 34 yards on 14 carries as a team.
Jacksonville also did a terrific job taking Brady’s top target out of the game as Rob Gronkowski was held to just two catches for 15 yards.
The only time the Patriots really looked like the Patriots in northeast Florida on Sunday was during the third quarter when Stephon Gilmore punched the ball loose from DJ Chark. The Pats recovered the ball and immediately went on an impressive drive.
A rare 10-yard Brady rush, a Brady completion to Jacob Hollister on a bootleg, and two strong carries by rookie Sony Michel set up the first of two touchdown grabs by Chris Hogan.
Shortly after, Kyle Van Noy picked off Bortles when Austin Seferian-Jenkins bobbled the ball. The Pats had prime field position and were in good position to mount a serious comeback. But Jags defensive end Dante Fowler took it right back with a strip sack of Brady – and all New England momentum was lost.
Midway through the fourth, Dede Westbrook caught the ball over the middle, and proceeded to blow by the Patriots defense down the sideline. Westbrook took it 61 yards to the house, effectively ending the Patriots’ chances of victory.