If you are a NFL conspiracy enthusiast, this article is not for you. In the days following the Patriots’ win over the Jacksonville Jaguars, there has been a lot of talk amongst fans and the media about how the Jaguars got screwed by the referees. Even players like A.J. Bouye were adamant that New England was the beneficiary of some questionable penalties (or lack thereof).
A.J. Bouye took issue with a big call in the Jaguars' loss to the Patriots. pic.twitter.com/o7DOlmlc1T— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) January 22, 2018
On Monday morning, the opening segment of ESPN’s popular debate show “First Take” posed the question “Did the Jags get robbed?” Many people believe that the league and Commissioner Roger Goodell wanted the Patriots in the Super Bowl for ratings, pointing to things like a debatable pass interference call on A.J. Bouye, and a missed hold by Dwayne Allen during Deion Lewis’ game clinching first down in the final minutes of the fourth quarter.
Who would honestly want to watch Nick Foles versus Blake Bortles in the Super Bowl? The NFL needed the Patriots in the Super Bowl. If the ratings from this past AFC Championship Game are of any indication, the league was definitely rooting for the Patriots to win this game, something Stephen A. Smith mentioned during the aforementioned First Take segment.
But as Smith later pointed out, the Jaguars were not robbed of a chance of going to the Super Bowl. The refs, the penalties, and Roger Goodell, who people seem to forget has a long-standing feud with the Patriots, are not the ones to blame for Jacksonville’s loss. The Jaguars can only blame themselves, and the stitched-up hand of Tom Brady for what happened on Sunday.
The Jaguars deserve a lot of credit for how they played Sunday during those first three quarters. They knew coming into this game that New England would allocate a considerable amount of resources towards stopping Leonard Fournette and the Jaguars’ run game. They did a great job of countering that by attacking the Patriots outside of the numbers with quick passes and good blocks from their receivers. Defensively, the Jags did a good job of limiting the Patriots, holding Tom Brady to 152 yards through three quarters.
All of these factors resulted in a 10-point lead for Jacksonville in the fourth quarter. With tight end Rob Gronkowski sidelined for the entire half with a concussion, the Jaguars had no excuse for the ensuing comeback.
I suppose you could blame that key 3rd and 18 conversion where Brady maneuvered the pocket to find Danny Amendola for a first down on Roger Goodell.
I guess it was the refs fault that this Jaguars’ front seven, who had earned the nickname “Sacksonville”, was unable to put consistent pressure on Tom Brady all night and allowed him to sit back and throw for 138 yards in the fourth quarter.
And you know what, it makes perfect sense to fault those questionable penalties for the Jaguars’ inability to guard 32-year-old receiver Danny Amendola, even though Jacksonville has two All-Pro cornerbacks in Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye.
It is really simple: if you claim that Jacksonville got robbed then you are most likely a biased Jaguars fan or a Patriots hater. The Jaguars had plenty of time and opportunities to win this game. They even got another impressive outing from their terrible excuse for a quarterback, Blake Bortles.
At the end of the day, they did not step up and make the plays they had to. That defense did not get the stops they needed and they did not make the game-changing plays that made that unit special. So save your hate and your bias. In the words of Jaguars linebacker Myles Jack, “Brady’s gonna Brady. We got Brady’d.”