The New England Patriots went on the road against the Jacksonville Jaguars with the driver’s seat of the AFC on the line. However, the reigning conference champions struggled for most of the game and found themselves down 21-3 at halftime. New England showed some resiliency in the early second half but ultimately came up short: the Jaguars prevailed with a final score of 31-20 in their favor.
New England Patriots at Jacksonville Jaguars
Date: Sunday, September 16, 2018
Kickoff: 4:25 p.m. ET
Location: TIAA Bank Field, Jacksonville, FL
SB Nation affiliate: Big Cat Country
TV: CBS, with Jim Nantz (play-by-play), Tony Romo (color commentary), and Tracy Wolfson (sideline reporter)
OT Marcus Cannon
CB Keion Crossen
OG Brian Schwenke
WR Corey Coleman
CB J.C. Jackson
DE Derek Rivers
RB Kenjon Barner
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LT Trent Brown
LG Joe Thuney
C David Andrews
RG Shaq Mason
RT LaAdrian Waddle
TE Rob Gronkowski
TE Dwayne Allen
TE Jacob Hollister
QB Tom Brady
WR Phillip Dorsett
RB Rex Burkhead
DE Trey Flowers
DT Lawrence Guy
DT Malcom Brown
DE Keionta Davis
LB Dont’a Hightower
LB Elandon Roberts
LB Kyle Van Noy
CB Stephon Gilmore
CB Eric Rowe
SS Patrick Chung
FS Devin McCourty
New England wins the opening coin toss and surprisingly opts to receive the opening kickoff.
Patriots’ first possession: New England starts the game well and moves the football all the way to the Jaguars 36-yard line. However, kicker Stephen Gostkowski misses a 54-yard field goal attempt wide to the right.
Jaguars’ first possession: With great field position, the Jaguars are able to march 56 yards in nine plays and take the lead on a 4-yard touchdown pass from Blake Bortles to Donte Moncrief. Two plays before the touchdown, defensive edge Trey Flowers stays on the ground after suffering what looked like a concussion. 7-0 Jaguars
Patriots’ second possession: New England’s second drive does not produce any results. Rookie running back Sony Michel is stopped in the backfield on a 3rd and 1 attempt and the Patriots have to punt.
Jaguars’ second possession: Jacksonville again is able to march down the field, aided by a spectacular catch by Keelan Cole. The second-year wide receiver is also the one to catch a touchdown to end the drive: Bortles finds him from 24-yards out to give the home team a two-touchdown lead. 14-0 Jaguars
Patriots’ third possession: New England faces a third down early during the drive but ultimately converts it. However, the team fails to have similar success on their second third down and opts to punt the football away by the end of the first quarter.
Jaguars’ third possession: The Patriots’ defense finally is able to stop Jacksonville. While the Jaguars found success on the ground, the drive stalled after an offensive penalty set up a 3rd and 17.
Patriots’ fourth possession: Starting at its own 6-yard line, New England’s offense holds the football for the next eight minutes – eventually ending in a 29-yard Stephen Gostkowski field goal. The Patriots generally move the football well on their 16-drive series but ultimately fail to come through in the red zone. 14-3 Jaguars
Jaguars’ fourth possession: With not even three minutes left in the second quarter, the Patriots defense allows Jacksonville to march 75 yards in 13 plays to score their third touchdown of the half. 21-3 Jaguars
Jaguars’ fifth possession: After receiving the second half kickoff, Jacksonville marched right down the field again. New England had chances to get off the field twice on third down but was unable to do it. The unit was eventually able to do that in the red area, but not before half the quarter had already passed – and the Jaguars still added three points to their lead. To make matters worse, safety Patrick Chung is declared out with a concussion. 24-3 Jaguars
Patriots’ fifth possession: New England goes nowhere on its first drive of the half and punts the football back to Jacksonville after a three-and-out.
Jaguars’ sixth possession: Stephon Gilmore makes the Patriots’ first big defensive play of the game when he forces a fumble. Duron Harmon is able to recover it and set up New England’s offense near midfield.
Patriots’ sixth possession: New England takes advantage of the takeaway and quickly drives down the field thanks to some solid running by Tom Brady (on third down) and Sony Michel. The drive ends with a seven-yard pass from Brady to Chris Hogan on third down. 24-10 Jaguars
Jaguars’ seventh possession: The Patriots defense again plays sound defense on the next drive, and forces a three-and-out and quick punt – one that sails just 33 yards.
Patriots’ seventh possession: New England starts its final drive of the third quarter with a big screen pass to James White.
Patriots’ seventh possession (cont.): The Patriots’ possession stalls on 3rd and 4, and the team settles for a field goal. Stephen Gostkowski splits the uprights from 46 yards out to bring New England’s deficit to 11 points. 24-13 Jaguars
Jaguars’ eighth possession: Jacksonville’s next series also ends quickly: on the second play of the drive, Austin Seferian-Jenkins cannot come down with a pass and instead deflects it into the hands of Kyle Van Noy. Patriots take over at the Jaguars 25-yard line.
Patriots’ eighth possession: New England can’t do anything with the takeaway as Tom Brady gets sacked on the drive’s third play and loses the football. The Jaguars recover and take over.
Jaguars’ ninth possession: Luckily for the Patriots, their defense is able to deliver another stop: Stephon Gilmore stops a third down scramble by Blake Bortles and Jacksonville gets flagged on the ensuing fourth down attempt. Instead, the team punts and sets New England up on its own 9-yard line.
Patriots’ ninth possession: New England starts the series with what initially looked like a close third down conversation. However, it is overturned after Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone challenges the spot. The Patriots decide to punt. Before that, the team almost draws Jacksonville offside but to no avail.
Jaguars’ tenth possession: Jacksonville’s tenth drive is a short one: Blake Bortles throws to Dede Westbrook on a crossing route and the second-year man takes the pass 61-yards for a touchdown. 31-13 Jaguars
Patriots’ tenth possession: A big run by Rex Burkhead and a screen pass to Cordarrelle Patterson set up a 29-yard touchdown pass from Tom Brady to Chris Hogan. 31-20 Jaguars
Jaguars’ eleventh possession: Jacksonville is able to run out the clock as the Patriots defense again allowed its opponent to move the football at relative will.
While New England had its moments in the third and early fourth quarters, the team played too inconsistent a game to challenge a near-perfect Jaguars team today. The development of the defense has to be particularly concerning: after a strong season opener, the unit struggled to defend crossing routes and keep quarterback Blake Bortles from extending plays with his feet. With the offense unable to get into a rhythm especially early on during the game, the defense failed to help keep the score close.