Video: Around the Horn on ESPN Says Jaguars Didn’t Play to Win AFC Title Game – Unlike Eagles in Super Bowl

The Around the Horn crew breaks down the Philadelphia Eagles’ 41-33 win over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII, with Jemele Hill saying “unlike Jacksonville, they actually played to win the game.”

Report: Jaguars Planning on Keeping QB Blake Bortles

The Jaguars are planning to retain quarterback Blake Bortles.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports that Bortles’ wrist surgery won’t alter what was already the plan: For Bortles to be their quarterback in 2018.

Bortles’ $19.053 million salary for the 2018 season becomes fully guaranteed if he’s on the Jaguars roster the first day of the league year in March.

Jaguars QB Blake Bortles Has Right Wrist Surgery

Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles underwent right wrist surgery Friday for a condition that kept him on the injury report all season, league sources told Adam Schefter of ESPN.

Bortles dealt with the issue in his throwing wrist since early December 2016. The Jaguars elected to avoid surgery last offseason and treat the injury with a variety of shots. The shots became less effective into the season and made the need for surgery inevitable.

The surgery repaired a small tear and full recovery is expected.

The Jaguars’ decision to pick up Bortles’ fifth-year option was somewhat of a gamble because the contract was guaranteed for injury, meaning he would be owed the full amount if he cannot pass a physical before the league year starts.

Bills OG Richie Incognito and Jaguars DE Yannick Ngakoue Clear the Air Over Reported Racial Slur

Bills guard Richie Incognito spoke with Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue on Wednesday, and the two have apparently cleared the air regarding Ngakoue’s accusation that Incognito used a racial slur against him during the teams’ wild-card playoff game, Michael DiRocco of ESPN reports.

Ngakoue said he wanted to move on from the incident and declined to talk about what Incognito said to him, but he did confirm the two players had spoken before the AFC’s first Pro Bowl practice and ESPN’s Wide World of Sports Complex. Incognito declined an interview after the practice.

Jaguars defensive tackle Malik Jackson said he saw Incognito and Ngakoue speaking on Wednesday morning but did not ask Ngakoue what they spoke about.

“We [NFL players] have a huge respect for each other, and sometimes the heat of the moment can get to you, and you can say things you might not really mean or do things you might not really mean and be apologetic for it,” Jackson said. “I think it shows the true character of a man to come and apologize and/or talk about it to clear the air.”

The NFL is still investigating the matter.

Jaguars CB A.J. Bouye Slams Refs Over Discrepancy in Penalties Against Patriots

Cornerback A.J. Bouye did not blame the Jaguars’ 24-20 loss to the New England Patriots on officiating, but he certainly wasn’t happy about the huge discrepancy in penalties, Michael DiRocco of ESPN reports.

The Jaguars were penalized six times for 98 yards in Sunday’s AFC Championship Game while the Patriots were penalized just once for 10 yards, which was a holding penalty on a kickoff.

Bouye was especially upset about Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore not being called for pass interference against receiver Dede Westbrook on a fourth-down pass late in the game, a 32-yard pass interference call against him late in the first half that set up a touchdown, and about Patriots receiver Danny Amendola not being called for head-butting safety Tashaun Gipson after a play in the third quarter.

“I was pissed because I seen Amendola head-butt the hell out of Gip in front of the ref and you all don’t call nothing?” Bouye said. “It don’t make no sense, man; it’s a lot of stuff that don’t make no sense. I have a lot of respect for these people in this locker room. They kept fighting; we all kept fighting. We knew there was stuff we couldn’t control, and we kept it close.”

Bouye said he felt like the Patriots players were trying to goad the Jaguars into committing penalties, much like players said the Buffalo Bills players tried to do in the AFC wild-card game the Jaguars won 10-3.

Per the NFL, the Patriots’ one penalty is the fewest in a playoff game since 2011, when the Patriots were called for one in a victory over Baltimore.

That’s why Bouye was particularly upset at what he said he saw Amendola do.

“I’m going to defend my teammates,” Bouye said. “You all see it on TV, the one where Amendola head-butted Gip. Right after the whistle was blown. Right in front of them. I’m just asking how you going to let them do that?

“I understand you’re all going to let us play, but we know they’re going to try to instigate stuff. They head-butted my man. C’mon, man.”

Bouye said he wasn’t sure why he was called for pass interference against Brandin Cooks, either. Both players were hand-fighting and making contact down the sideline, and Bouye forced Cooks out of bounds. Tom Brady’s throw fell incomplete, but the officials penalized Bouye, and the 31-yard penalty gave the Patriots the ball on the Jaguars’ 13. Two plays later, they scored to cut the Jaguars’ lead to 14-10.

“I just got to watch the tape,” Bouye said. “I need to go look at the rulebook on [pass interference penalties], because you’re telling me the receiver can have his hands on me the whole way down the field, but if I look for the ball and try to protect myself from being pushed, it’s a flag?

“Like I said, I just have to be better. I can’t put my team in that situation. It’s a flag, I got to own up to it, find a way to get better at it.”

Linebacker Myles Jack was surprised at the penalty discrepancy when asked about it in the locker room.

“Interesting,” Jack said. “My thoughts on that is … yeah, that’s kind of self-explanatory. I didn’t know that.

“I’ll just say that’s self-explanatory. Interesting. That’s all I’m going to say.”

Defensive tackle Malik Jackson smirked when he was asked about the penalties and whether he thought things were unevenly called.

“The stats speak for themselves,” he said.

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.

Video: ESPN’s First Take Picks Sunday’s AFC Jaguars at Patriots Championship Game

First Take’s Stephen A. Smith and Max Kellerman make predictions for the Patriots vs. Jaguars AFC championship game.

Jaguars CB Jalen Ramsey Claims Pats TE Rob Gronkowski “Hasn’t Played a Corner Like Me Before”

In Sunday’s AFC Championship Game, Jaguars All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey will have to back up his fighting words against perhaps his toughest matchup this season: New England Patriots superhuman Rob Gronkowski.

Ramsey, to no one’s surprise, is not intimidated in the slightest, Jeremy Bergman of NFL.com reports.

“He hasn’t played a corner like me before,” he told reporters Friday. When asked exactly what he meant by the statement, Ramsey quickly replied, “Everything.”

This bold claim comes on the heels of Ramsey proclaiming to a sympathetic crowd in Jacksonville last Sunday that the Jags were “going to the Super Bowl. And we gonna win that b—-. We gonna win that b—-,” adding “Duuuuuuuuvalllll” for needed emphasis.

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