No lead is safe in the NFL — not even if you’re up by two touchdowns with two minutes to go.
The Jacksonville Jaguars found themselves up 25-12 (weird scoreline, it’s fine) and driving in New York Jets territory late in Sunday’s game. On third-and-1, Blake Bortles hit Dede Westbrook for a short pass over the middle and Westbrook took it to the 20-yard line. Bortles was having a Good Blake day so him completing passes was probably a better way to extend the drive and wind down the clock than running it with T.J. Yeldon.
But at the end of Westbrook’s catch, Jamal Adams hit him after the whistle for an unnecessary roughness penalty. 10 more yards were tacked on — first down at the 10-yard line.
Instead of kneeling so close to the goal line, offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett gave Yeldon the ball on first down. Two yard gain, eight yards away. Clock stopped with the two minute warning.
Second down. Yeldon in the Wildcat formation. Four yard run. Four more to go.
Third down. Yeldon (again) in the Wildcat formation. Three yard run. One more to go.
Fourth down. Yeldon runs for the one yard touchdown.
And to add insult to injury, the Jaguars opted to go for two instead of the extra point.
Asked after the game what he thought about the Jaguars going for two with just 25 seconds left to play and up three scores, Todd Bowles was straightforward:
“I don’t tell another guy how to coach his team,” Bowles said. “If they run it, we have to defend it.”
It’s the right answer — if you don’t like the other team running up the score stop them from scoring.
Asked after the game if he was trying to send a message, Doug Marrone was just as straightforward:
“We’re not good enough to send a message right now.”
No lead is safe in the NFL, not two touchdowns in an early season regular season game and not two touchdowns in the AFC Championship Game going into the fourth quarter.