The New England Patriots will be heading to Minnesota to play in the Super Bowl after defeating the Jacksonville Jaguars in the AFC Championship game.
The New England Patriots are going to the Super Bowl! The Patriots defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars in the AFC Championship game on Sunday afternoon 24-20.
It was a great comeback for the Patriots, who trailed virtually the whole game but came out ahead on top. The Jaguars were leading until there was 2:48 remaining in the game when Tom Brady found Danny Amendola for the go-ahead touchdown.
There was a lot of attention given to Brady’s hand leading up to the game. He had a few errant throws, but when the Patriots needed him most he came up big. Brady completed 26-of-38 pass attempts for 290 yards and two touchdowns.
That is a strong game against the Jaguars top-rated pass defense. What made it even more impressive was that he did it without Rob Gronkowski.
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The all-world tight end was injured in the first half on a helmet-to-helmet hit by safety Barry Church right before halftime. He was ruled out with a head injury, which seemed to throw the Patriots offense out of whack for a little while. However, when it got to crunch time, the Patriots got the job done.
It came down to Brady, as the Patriots abandoned the running game rather early on. The Patriots had only 19 rush attempts in the game, six of which came on the final seven Patriots offensive plays of the game.
Dion Lewis had only nine carries for 34 yards, averaging 3.8 yards per carry. Rex Burkhead was used sparingly, as he received only one carry and one target. He gained only five yards on his one carry in the game.
The Jaguars offense did well, but their game plan became very conservative in the second half. Blake Bortles played well, completing 23-of-36 passes for 293 yards and one touchdown. Allen Hurns was the biggest beneficiary, catching six passes for 80 yards.
In the backfield, Leonard Fournette led the way with 76 yards and one touchdown on 24 carries. The Patriots did a great job containing Fournette, as his longest run of the game was only 14 yards.
Containing the running game helped get the Patriots back into the game in the second half. The Jaguars gameplan was peculiar, as they went into a shell and their aggression disappeared outside of the final drive of the game.
The Patriots defense got the job done, giving the offense enough opportunities that they took advantage of. As a result, the Patriots will be advancing to their eighth Super Bowl under Bill Belichick.