The Jacksonville Jaguars lost the AFC Championship Game in heartbreaking fashion on Sunday, 24-20. The Jaguars were in control for the vast majority of the game, holding the lead until mid-way in the fourth quarter, but Tom Brady and the New England Patriots did what they’re wont to do and rallied back.
There wasn’t really a singular thing as to why the Jaguars lost the game, but there were in my opinion three pivotal moments that completely changed the game. One them is not the Myles Jack fumble recovery getting the early whistle however, as I kind of feel like that’s the most understandable and least egregious error made. I mean, on live watch who didn’t think Jack was down? It just especially sucks because that’s the FOURTH time it’s happened to the Jaguars this year.
Delay of game on third down
It all started with the delay of game before halftime. Coming out of a timeout on 3rd- and-9, Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles gets the ball in the area of a diving Marcedes Lewis who reels in the pass. I’m sure everyone like me was screaming at the TV “HIKE IT,” as the playclock wound down, but there was no whistle as it stuck at “0.0” for a half second. As soon as the Jaguars got the first down though, the referees were already turning on their mic to announce a delay of game.
“I think it was just a lapse on our part of, it was after a timeout, went in there and we just figured once we called the play and broke the huddle, we were fine,” Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone said on Monday. “They started the clock earlier than we anticipated which they have the right to do. I don’t think it was playing later or anything, it was just a lapse of taking something for granted. I really believe that.”
That’s totally unacceptable. You cannot get a delay of game, on third down, COMING OUT OF A TIME OUT.
Deep in the game with the Jaguars up 10 points and the Patriots on a 3rd-and-18, surely it meant another key stop of the defense and flipping the field.
Brady stepped back to pass and just sent a dart right into the middle of the field for the easy first down. No real dangerous pressure, a lot of soft coverage and he went right for the underbelly.
That’s a total gut punch and demoralizing conversion. This defense should not let conversions like that happen, I don’t care who the other team’s quarterback is.
The pass interference on A.J. Bouye was unbelievably bad, especially as the game went on.
This coverage was so dominant that they basically threw a pity flag for Cooks. Crushed off the field pic.twitter.com/SC3PbW3hco— Sam Monson (@PFF_Sam) January 21, 2018
Is there hand fighting? Yeah, sure, by both players. Bouye doesn’t really do anything I’d consider being worth a huge pass interference penalty, especially considering the fact that Brandin Cooks allowed himself to get ran out of bounds because the route was so poorly run and so well covered by Bouye. This penalty came at a huge moment in the game, the drive immediately after the botched delay of game and was a huge swing of momentum. It pushed the Patriots into scoring range and instead of going into halftime up 14-3 at worst (if you don’t blow the delay of game and get the PI), it was cut to 14-10.
In my opinion, regardless of everything else that happened, those three things are what killed the game for the Jaguars.