The Patriots defeated the Jaguars 24-20 in the AFC Championship and will return to the Super Bowl for the third time in four years where they’ll face the Philadelphia Eagles. The Patriots faced the Eagles the last time they were attempting three-of-four titles and defeated them in Super Bowl 39.
There will be plenty of time to jump into that intriguing matchup, but for now we have to talk about the AFC Championship. Really, it was one of the most remarkable games in Patriots history. The Jaguars played absolutely perfectly for the first 50 minutes. They attacked the Patriots’ weaknesses, they played mistake-free and they even knocked out Rob Gronkowski. Dion Lewis was getting nothing on the ground and the Jaguars had a number of early sustained drives.
But the Pats kept battling like they always do. Without Gronk or a running game, Brady, with some help from super clutch Danny Amendola, willed the Patriots to victory. Of course it didn’t come without the defense turning around after getting shredded early. They once again made the key plays that opened the door for the Patriots to come back. Stephon Gilmore‘s pass defense sealed what was a championship-worthy performance by a defense comprised of many new faces from last season.
I always say you can never truly appreciate a win until you’ve accepted a loss is very possible, and this game had that. Of course 28-3 has ruined us in that regard because now, more than ever, we know the Patriots are never truly out of it until the clock reads zero.
This never gets old. And the Patriots keep finding new ways to demonstrate just how mentally and physically tough they are. The Jags had all the look of the teams that beat the Patriots at home in the playoffs — the two Ravens teams and one Jets team all had a swagger about them, a fearlessness that Jacksonville seemed to emanate as well. But this time their clean game didn’t matter because the Patriots simply outplayed them in the final ten minutes.
It was perfect football in all three phases and in tight games like this that’s what makes all the difference. When it came time to finish the game the Jags couldn’t do it, and Tom Brady did.
Here are the Posits on another crazy epic playoff win.
On 3rd & 18…
— NFL (@NFL) January 21, 2018