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Jaguars Fall Victim to Brady Fourth Quarter Rally; Dream Season Ends in 24-20 AFC Title Game Loss to Patriots

They had it.

Nine minutes were left in the AFC Title Game, and the Jags were in control of the game as a heavy underdog to the Patriots, leading 20-10.

Just like that, it all slipped away.

Like many teams before them (hello Atlanta), and probably many after them, the Jaguars are the latest to fall victim to a Tom Brady comeback, as for the 54th time in his career, 11th in the playoffs, the Pats future Hall of Fame QB led New England back, scoring twice against the NFL’s number two ranked defense, first against the pass, in a heartbreaking 24-20 loss.

It would have been an amazing win for a franchise still seeking its first Super Bowl birth, but instead after a 3-13 season a year ago, the Jags will go home on the short end of the stick, a place were sadly they have fallen in the playoffs every time before when they made the NFL’s second season.

“A lot of people were surprised by what happened this year, but nobody in that locker room was,” QB Blake Bortles said. “Our bar was set [at the Super Bowl], and we didn’t get there.”

They played pretty much the perfect game against the Patriots, as they ran the ball well, Bortles was very good with his play action, and the defense harassed Brady and his bad throwing hand much of the day.

In the end it came down to two back breaking drives by New England, as up 20-10 the Jags D, which was oh so good last week in Pittsburgh with the game on the line, failed to stop Brady and his receivers when it mattered the most.

It should never have come down to that, as the Jags could have put the game away up 20-10, as Myles Jack recovered a fumble by Patriots running back Dion Lewis, and the Jags were on the doorstep of the Super Bowl if they could have put up more points.

Instead, a quick three-and-out was all that Brady and the Pats needed to take over control of the game, this after wide out Alan Hurns was one-yard short on third down and the Jags punted.

Brady went down the field twice after that, and it was game over. Brady was 9 of 14 for 138 yards in the final quarter, dominating the Jags number one ranked pass defense.

“It’s tough, especially when we had opportunities to go out and put up a bigger lead when we had a lead,” Hurns said. “But also that last drive. We weren’t able to go out and put together a game-winning drive.”

Bortles completed 23 of 36 passes for 293 yards and one touchdown. He was sacked three times, but for the third time this postseason he was careful with the ball, not committing a turnover.

Jacksonville had one last shot, and they early on looked like they could put together a drive that could have made history. They got to the Pats 47 at the two-minute warning, but a 4th and 14 throw to Dede Westbrook on fourth down was broken up by New England cornerback Stephon Gilmore.

The Jags would never get the ball back, ending a season that many won’t soon forget.

Just short.

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