FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The New England Patriots will now play in their third Super Bowl in the last four years after beating the Jacksonville Jaguars in a thriller, 24-20.
After spending much of the game behind, Tom Brady reminded the world why he’s the greatest after coming behind to hit Danny Amendola with 2:48 left.
It cemented the 24-20 win as Blake Bortles was unable to relive his first half magic, sputtering most second half drives until his final one, where Jacksonville had a chance to win the game.
The big news headed into the game was the impact of Brady’s injury on his hand, which he suffered in practice. The glove didn’t seem to affect Brady early on, as he was 7/7 for 68 yards at the end of the first quarter.
The Jags answered New England’s first quarter field goal by marching down and scoring on a 4 yard pass from Bortles to TE Marcedes Lewis. They continued to roll in the second quarter, as Leonard Fournette pounded into the endzone on a 3 yard dive to make it 14-3.
After starting strong, Brady’s hand seemed to be affecting his throwing accuracy midway through the second quarter.
At the end of the first half, Rob Gronkowski took a helmet to helmet hit from Barry Church and was taken to the locker room.
He was listed as questionable to start the second half and never made a return. That didn’t help that Patriots’ cause as they faced the league’s best defense.
The Jags remained stingy, making Tom Brady look uncomfortable as he battled his injured hand. He eventually returned to form and ended with a vintage Brady line; 26/38 for 290 yards and 2 touchdowns.
At the start of the fourth quarter, Jags kicker Josh Lambo drilled a 43 yard field goal. The drama only got more intense from there.
With around 13:30 left in the game, it was ruled that Dion Lewis fumbled after getting stripped by Myles Jack. The Jags couldn’t make the Pats pay for their mistake and punted after a three and out.
Tom Brady led a typical Tom Brady-like drive after. completing tough third and long to get the game within a field goal with 8:44 left. He connected on a drag route with Danny Amendola for his first TD of the game.
The Patriots defense locked in and forced Jacksonville on another short drive to get the ball back with 6:34 remaining.
A great punt return by Danny Amendola helped set up New England with fantastic field position to set up their go ahead touchdown.
Brady connected with Amendola again in the back of the endzone with 2:48 left.
Bortles attempted to shock the world, as he led the Jags down on the field on a miracle drive, but couldn’t get into the end zone. He had a Dede Westbrook open on single coverage, but threw it a tad short, cementing the win for New England.
The Patriots went back to their bread and butter after relying heavily on running back Dion Lewis in their first playoff game.
Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels will now have one more game with New England. He’s expected to take over as the Colts head coach after the Super Bowl.
Brady will face another tough defense in the big dance, the Eagles. They dominated Minnesota 38-7 Sunday night and hope to upset the Patriots to win their first Super Bowl in franchise history.
It will be a rematch of Super Bowl XXXIX, where New England beat Philly, 24-21.