Before the first drive of the game ended, the Jacksonville Jaguars clinched their first AFC South title as the Tennessee Titans 27-23 loss to the Los Angeles Rams. While the Jaguars had a lot to celebrate, they still had to take care of business against the San Francisco 49ers to keep their first-round bye hopes alive.
Jimmy Garoppolo continued his hot streak to begin the game, completing five passes on the first drive, and leading them 79 yards down the field. Garoppolo took it upon himself to finish the drive, sneaking it in from one yard away. Robbie Gould added on the extra point, and the 49ers took a 7-0 lead early.
After a three-and-out for the Jaguars on their first offensive possession, Garoppolo led the 49ers into Jaguars territory once again, this time all the way down to the nine-yard line. The Jaguars defense stood and held the 49ers to a field goal. Gould made the 27-yard field goal, and continued his hot streak on the season.
With a little over 11 minutes to go in the second quarter, Blake Bortles made his first costly mistake in a while. Bortles throw to Keelan Cole was intercepted by Dontae Johnson, who took it 50 yards to the house for a pick-six.
Just when everything seemed to be going wrong for the Jaguars, a shimmer of hope appeared in an unorthodox manner. Jaylen Myrick blocked the extra point attempt from Gould, and the ball was scooped by Aaron Colvin, and ran in for a two-point conversion for the Jaguars.
In a game of doom and gloom at this point for the Jaguars, this would prove to be a turning point.
Bortles responded to the pick six in a way he struggled to most of his career, and lead the Jaguars on an 11-play, 75-yard drive, which included a beauty of a pass to the sideline to Dede Westbrook, which set the Jaguars up at the one-yard line. Leonard Fournette punched it in from a yard out, and the Jaguars cut the lead to 16-9.
The 49ers continued their offensive success when the got the ball back, picking apart the Jaguars defense again as the first half winded down. Just like the it has all season, the defense stepped up when it needed to. On third and goal form the seven-yard line, Barry Church intercepted Garoppolo in the back of the end-zone. Suddenly, a potential two score deficit turned into a late scoring opportunity for the Jaguars.
With under two minutes to go in the half, Bortles led the team down the field for an 80-yard touchdown drive. A touch of Christmas magic blessed the Jaguars, and a tipped pass went into the hands of Jaelen Strong for a five-yard touchdown pass. Lambo nailed the extra point, and just like that, the game was tied.
The Jaguars came out of the second half hoping to continue their offensive momentum from the second quarter. The offense got inside 49ers territory once again, but were held up at the 27-yard line. Lambo was called on for the 45-yard field goal, and put it right through the middle of the goal post, giving the Jaguars their first lead of the day at 19-16.
Everything was going to Jaguars way, then the avalanche began.
After forcing a 49ers three-and-out, the Jaguars got the ball back with a chance to finally break the game open, and prove they are the better team. The opposite happened, with Bortles throwing his second interception of the day, this time intercepted by K'Waun Williams, who undercut the attempt to Keelan Cole. Williams returned the interception 27 yards, setting the 49ers up with great field position. The 49ers took advantage, and quickly found themselves in the end-zone with an 8-yard touchdown pass from Garoppolo to George Kittle. Gould made the extra point, and the 49ers found themselves with the lead once again at 23-19.
An unsuccessful drive forced the Jaguars to punt, pinning the 49ers at their own 14-yard line to begin their next drive. The defense imploded on the drive, with two personal foul penalties, and a holding penalty. 35-yards of penalty yardage helped the 49ers drive down the field and complete their drive. Garoppolo was able to stay alive in the pocket versus a three man rush, and found Trent Taylor for the 5-yard touchdown. With a successful extra point, the 49ers lead grew to 30-19.
Things continued to fall apart for the Jaguars, with Bortles throwing his third interception of the day. This one was especially awful, throwing a duck well behind Keelan Cole, who he tried to hit on a back-shoulder route.
It only took the 49ers three plays to score another touchdown. This time, Carlos Hyde walked into the end-zone for a 6-yard run untouched, as a depleted Jaguars defense looked around, wondering what the hell happened in this game. A game the Jaguars lead 19-16 in the blink of an eye was a 37-19 blowout.
In what was basically garbage time, the Jaguars drove down the field and added on an extra touchdown on a one-yard T.J. Yeldon run. The Jaguars converted the two-point conversion on a pass from Bortles to Ben Koyack, and the lead was cut to 37-27.
In a last-ditch effort, Lambo kicked on onside kick, which was recovered by the Jaguars Lerentee McCray. The Jaguars drove down the field quickly, and Bortles found James O’Shaughnessy for an 11-yard touchdown. Lambo missed the extra point though, holding the lead to 37-33.
The Jaguars attempted a second onside kick, though this one was not recovered. The Jaguars had three timeouts remaining, with a chance to get the ball back. After a four-yard run by Carlos Hyde, the Jaguars emotions flared up again, this time it was Malik Jackson who headbutted a 49ers player after the play. This gifted the 49ers a first down, though didn’t seal the game.
The game was sealed a few plays later, with 30-yard touchdown run on a sweep by Matt Breida.
The 49ers went on to win 44-33, with the Jaguars moving on to 10-5 on the season.
This game was a rough one, but your Jaguars are AFC South Champions in 2017. Everything that could go wrong did in this game, and Doug Marrone has a lot of things to address before the Jaguars playoff game in two weeks.
Have a Merry Christmas, and remember to celebrate the Jaguars’ first AFC South title, even after a loss like this.
The Jaguars are hosting a playoff game and to all a good night.