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Not Enough: Brady’s Near Perfect Night Ends Jags Season 31-20

Jacksonville Jaguars defensive tackle John Henderson sits on the bench in the second half of a NFL divisional playoff football game against the New England Patriots Saturday, Jan. 12, 2008, in Foxborough, Mass. The Patriots won, 31-20, to advance to the AFC Championship game

The Jaguars knew Saturday night they would need to play a near-perfect game to beat the undefeated New England Patriots. While they were close, at least for a half, they in the end were outdone by the teams MVP Tom Brady in a 31-20 loss which ends their 2007 season. Brady was about as perfect as he could be going 26-of-28 for 268 yards and three touchdowns.

The Jags played tight for a half, going into the locker room tied at 14, but it was Brady and the Pats offense that had two strong third quarter drives that ended in touchdowns that put the game out of reach. Jacksonville was never able to regain any momentum as they settled for just 2 field goals in the second half.

The Jaguars drew first blood, as quarterback David Garrard hit Matt Jones with an 8 yard pass for a touchdown at the 10:50 mark of the first quarter. After the Josh Scobe point after Jacksonville was on top 7-0. The Patriots got on the board as Brady connected with Benjamin Watson for the first of two touchdowns for the tandem at the 5:51 mark of the period. Steve Gostkowski kicked the point after, and the game remained tied 7-7 as the quarter ended.

New England would take their first lead of the contest in the second period, as the underrated running back Laurence Maroney dove into the endzone for a 1 yard touchdown run. Gostkowski’s kick made it 14-7 New England. The Jaguars would make for a very unpleasant half time for the Patriots as Garrard threw a 6 yard pass to Ernest Wilford, Scobe’s kick tied the game at 14-14 with 7:46 remaining in the half.

New England got the lead back 21-14 as Brady hit Wes Welker with a 6 yard pass in the third quarter with 8:49 remaining, but the Jaguars would not go quietly. they made it a 4 point game at 21-17, when Scobe kicked a 39 yard field goal at the 4:04 mark of the third quarter. Brady would throw his third touchdown of the game as he connected with Watson for the second time this time yard for a 9 yard pass, after the Gostkowski kick it was 28-17 with 49 seconds remaining in the quarter.

Still Jacksonville came back as Scobe hit another field goal this one a 25 yard effort, to once again bring the Jaguars back to within single digits, trailing 28-20. But Gostkowski who had missed a field goal attempt earlier in the game, hit on his second try completing a 35 yard kick through the uprights, and basically that was the game. New England led 31-20 with 6:39 left in the game.

David Garrard had a good game making just one mistake. He completed 22/33 passes, for 278 yards 2 touchdowns 1 interception. In my picks column this week, I said that if Jacksonville would have any chance to win it would be through their running game. Fred Taylor could not get the job done for the Jags as he got 15 carries for a total of 47 yards.

Jeff Sack contributed to this article

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