Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports
The New England Patriots struggled mightily in the first half against the Jacksonville Jaguars, but a late touchdown tied the game heading into the 3rd quarter.
Raise your hand if you didn't see this one coming. Okay, now everybody put your hands down.
Things were ugly from the get-go, with the Patriots defense getting carved up on a nine play, 78 yard opening drive by the Jaguars, in which they couldn't force a single Chad Henne incomplete. Two plays into the Patriots' opening drive, Tom Brady threw an interception on an underthrown pass down the left sideline to Stevan Ridley. The Jaguars tacked on another field goal.
After trading a few field goals, the Patriots were able to march down the field for a touchdown to close out the first half tied at 13. It was a 10 play, 66 yard drive that was capped off by a Tom Brady to Danny Woodhead pass to the left flat that Woodhead ran in unchallenged into the end zone.
Despite the tie, this has been an ugly first half for the Patriots. They are losing the turnover battle 2-0, and haven't been able to finish off drives. Defensively, they've been gashed left and right. They're missing the presence of Alfonzo Dennard and Aqib Talib (he was inserted late in the half, and is clearly hobbled), which has forced Devin McCourty to move up to cornerback, leaving the back-end exposed. Inside, they're struggling to stop the run. The Patriots are clearly missing Brandon Spikes there. Bottom line - there has been nothing positive about the first half defensive performance.
There's still 30 minutes of football to play, and the Patriots have time to turn this one around. But even if they do, this one will leave a sour taste in the mouth.