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Jaguars shook Goliath, but Patriots too resilient

NFL: AFC Championship-Jacksonville Jaguars at New England Patriots Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

If you can plant doubt in someone’s mind, you make them vulnerable. They’ll begin to question what they do, is it the right thing? Are they still good enough? The New England Patriots on Sunday showed they clearly felt put on the ropes by the Jacksonville Jaguars, but once again the Patriots showed why they truly are great, letting their resiliency shine.

In the first half, the Jacksonville Jaguars were in full control of the game. They had a 14-3 lead and the great Tom Brady appeared to be off his game. He was jumpy in the pocket and missed a few easy throws. On one play he literally balled up to fall down rather than absorb a shot from a defender. The defense was setting the tone with pressure, breaking up close passes and dishing out huge hits when the Patriots did try to make a play.

On the offensive side of the ball the Jaguars seemed to have Patriots defensive coordinator and future Detroit Lions head coach Matt Patricia’s head spinning. The Jaguars were able to mix up what they were doing and keep the New England defense off balance, marching down the field on a couple of drives and punching in two touchdowns.

The Jaguars had the Patriots on the ropes and the Patriots knew it.

Then the second half started.

The Patriots started emptying the kitchen sink to stop the Jaguars. They started run blitzing, keying in on taking out the run game and forcing the Jaguars to play behind the sticks. They knew in order to buy enough time to get back into the game, they had to make the Jaguars one dimensional and take away the tone setter, which had been the run game.

On offense, we saw the Patriots put everything on Tom Brady and some trick plays. How often do you see New England run a flea-flicker late in a game, while they’re losing? It didn’t just end there, as we also saw a wide receiver pass across the field.

New England knew they were on the ropes and on the verge of getting knocked out, but as they’re wont to do, they showed their resiliency and hung on long enough to complete the comeback.

I’m not really a silver linings type of person, but the Jaguars showed they belong on Sunday. They went up to Goliath and punched him right in the mouth and showed they belonged.

They made Goliath show doubt.