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Patriots vs. Jaguars: Fan Notes from the Game

Notes, musings, and observations from the New England Patriots’ 31-20 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars.

New England Patriots v Jacksonville Jaguars Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images


Make no mistake and don’t attempt to spin anything; the Jaguars straight up handled the Patriots yesterday in a way I haven’t seen a team do in a long time. The Patriots have lost games in the past, and like all of those, this one ultimately isn’t that big a deal. But it’s rare to see a team outmuscle the Patriots so thoroughly on both sides of the ball to the point where there wasn’t a single time during this game where I thought New England had any momentum whatsoever.

This kind of game seems to happen every year, doesn’t it -and usually in September. Just one of those situations where the team kind of forgets to show up, gets back in it, and then some big play puts the game away. Oh well. No reason to think to much about it other than know that, as always, it’s kind of par for the course in New England.

  • CBS decided to finish showing the Steelers crap the bed against the Chiefs before tuning to the Pats game, so the very first thing I saw yesterday was Jacob Hollister catching a 23 yard completion. Then the Patriots did absolutely nothing with the rest of their drive and Ghost shanked the long field goal. The Jags then marched right down the field and scored. Sorry, folks.
  • Who’d have thought thought that Tommy B is no good in hot weather games? Must have something to do with the rate at which avocado ice cream melts.
  • Speaking of hot weather - quick offensive drives is the absolute worst thing you can do for a defense, especially early in the game. The Patriots didn’t get anything going on their opening drive, and then went three and out immediately to follow it. Jacksonville, however, had opening drives of nine and seven plays that ate up a combined eight minutes of clock. The defense was gassed before the first quarter came to an end.
  • Glad to see the NFL is back to normal with the commercial breaks every 45 seconds or so. For a minute I was worried that the league actually made a positive step towards making the game more enjoyable for fans for the first time since the advent of the first down marker.
  • When Keelan Cole made that one handed catch, I had a feeling it probably wasn’t going to be New England’s day.
  • When he scored a touchdown on basically the very next play, I knew it wasn’t going to be New England’s day.
  • And when Tommy B threw his fourth straight pass into the ground at the receivers feet, I started thinking about what I might want to eat for dinner last night. Pizza, in case anyone is interested.
  • Even the punting was great for the Jags. They were just firing on all cylinders yesterday and all you can really do is tip your cap. They were talking about how much this game meant to them, and it showed.
  • What’s most frustrating about losses like this one, even though we see it almost every single year without fail, are those brief periods where the Patriots suddenly remember that there’s a football game going on that day. And when that happened, they looked great. There was that drive towards the end of the 2nd half that was more or less the James White show before it stalled in the red zone, which was nice. And they had a pretty solid mid-third through mid-fourth quarter. So that was OK too, I suppose.
  • Chris Hogan drew a flag yesterday by taking the exact same kind of hit that made me fall in love with football. Screw this game.
  • Tell me if you’ve heard this story before: a defense gets pressure on Brady early and doesn’t give him time to settle. As a result, he was inaccurate, drives stalled, and the Patriots looked lousy. On the other side of the ball, the opposing offense put together a lot of long drives full of stretch runs for positive yards and high probability throws that made the Patriots defense look foolish. To save myself time on future Fan Notes, please excuse the following boilerplate comment that I can just cut and paste for the next few years:
  • You really have to be impressed with the way the TEAM was able to generate pressure with only four yesterday. Brady was never able to settle into the pocket, and as a result his accuracy was off and he never quite found a rhythm. I was especially impressed with the way that PLAYER collapsed the center of the line and didn’t allow Brady to step up. Receivers also had trouble getting separation on TEAM’s secondary, which led to a lot of three and outs. On the other side of the ball, QUARTERBACK controlled the tempo of the game with stretch runs to RUNNING BACK and a lot of short crossing routes to RECEIVER and TIGHT END, and New England had no answer.
  • New England telegraphed their blitz packages more than usual yesterday. Not sure if that’s Brian Flores trying to send a message with this unit or Blake Bortles managing the snap count exceptionally well.
  • If I had to sum up this entire game, it would be the last two drives for each team before halftime. The Patriots drove down and kicked a field goal, and then the Jaguars immediately drove right back and scored a touchdown.
  • And then, of course, Jacksonville New Englanded New England and double dipped with the end of 2nd quarter/start of third quarter score. And when it was 24-3, that was all she wrote. I mean this team has never come back when down 24-3, right?
  • Bringing extra bodies on the defense is obviously a solid way to get additional pressure on the quarterback. The problem is that the crossing routes were wide open.
  • Eric Rowe should probably just walk home to Foxboro. He should also just walk home to Foxboro in full pads and cleats.
  • The loss of Trey Flowers is something that few people are talking about today, probably because the defense was so ineffective all over the field. But Flowers is their best edge-setting lineman, and I can remember at least three times yesterday where Bortles was able to scramble to the outside for a third down conversion. I’m not saying that the Patriots win this game with Flowers in - they don’t - but I think it would have been closer.
  • In 2017, the play that the Patriots simply couldn’t stop was the RB wheel route out of the backfield. The 2018 version of that might just be the quick slant for 16 yards on 3rd and short.
  • That the Patriots recovered a fumble, got the ball and midfield, and Tommy B gave us the longest rush of the day up to that point tells you everything you need to know about this offense at this point in the season.
  • I liked that little Sony Michel run, though. Didn’t expect that kind of bulldozer-style running from him. Mixed bag overall, but there are a lot worse ways for a rookie to debut.
  • The Patriots woke up about halfway through the third quarter, but it was just a bit too late at that point, and that’s OK. The Pats are going to be fine. They’re going to figure it out. They always do. Just wake me up in October when games start to matter.
  • Now that the Patriots have five championships and Tommy B has already cemented his legacy as the greatest of all time, I find myself really enjoying how much pleasure opposing fans take in beating the Patriots. A lot of players in this league have never beaten New England, and a lot of fans can barely remember the last time their team won a game against this team. So to see fan celebrate a Week 2 win harder than Patriots fans celebrated their third Super Bowl trophy was kind of cool. I can’t even remember the last time I got excited about a Week 2 win, to be honest, and that’s kind of a bummer. Maybe I’m just getting soft in my old age, but I had a lot of fun watching the Jags fans go nuts over this game. Hopefully there was some good smack talk from them on the message boards.

The Patriots have two games coming up that are very, very winnable, and I think we’ll know a lot more about this team once October hits. Time to move on and put this game behind us.