By Rob Schardt
Early in the season doubters continued to be at the neck of the New England Patriots and Tom Brady just proved them all wrong…again. Questions rose after the Kansas City Chiefs came into Foxborough and marched all over Brady’s Pats by a score of 42-27. People questioned “is this the end of the Brady Belicheck era?”, then during the start of the playoffs, an in house argument spurred more doubt as there were fingers being pointed between Bob Kraft, the owner of the team, Brady, and coach Belicheck. Yet, the franchise silenced the critics yet again. With a defense that seemed to be the worst in the league early on in the season, find a way to finish the season in the top 5 was that same old “Pats magic”. When the Patriots injury report came out saying Brady was questionable with a hand injury, more doubts begin to circulate, asking “Can Brady be dethroned by the best defense in the league, The Jacksonville Jaguars?”
Jacksonville also known as “Sacksonville” by their fans knew if they could put pressure on Brady they could have a shot at advancing to their first ever Super Bowl. Similar to the pass rush the Giants had in both Super Bowls, former Giants coach and now Jaguars executive, Tom Coughlin knew this could be the way to beat the Pats.
The Jaguars jumped out quickly to a 14-3 lead by the second quarter, but Brady lead the team to an 85-yard touchdown drive to send the game 14-10 at halftime. Brady then lost his favorite target, Tight End Rob Gronkowski to a concussion in the second half on a helmet to helmet hit. Trailing 20-10 in the fourth quarter Brady relied on receivers Brandin Cooks (six catches 100 yards) and Danny Amendola (seven catches 84 yards and 2 touchdowns), to help fuel another epic comeback.
The Jaguars had a lot to be positive about with Blake Bortles going 23 of 36 attempts throwing for 293 yards and a touchdown. Running back Leonard Fournette ran for 76 yards and a touchdown, continuing to be a sparkplug on the Jags offense. The defense as well had 3 sacks as well as a force fumble by outstanding linebacker Myles Jack.
Many Jaguars players complained about the controversial flags that were thrown that lead to Patriot scoring drives. A Barry Church helmet to helmet on Gronkowski lead to an unnecessary roughness call. Later was an AJ Bouye 50-yard pass interference call that led to a Pats score.
Patriots Cornerback Stephon Gilmore made the game winning play on a fourth and 14 pass play to send the Patriots to their eighth Brady Belicheck Super Bowl appearance. Now, the two will continue to do rewrite history and continue something we all have never seen before.
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