By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
Final, 24-20 Patriots: That game was utterly unbelievable. What a comeback. The Patriots are going to the Super Bowl.
Fourth quarter, 1:30, 24-20 Patriots: The Patriots are going to the Super Bowl.
Dion Lewis got great blocks and picked up an 18-yard gain. Tom Brady just now needs to take a couple of kneeldowns.
Fourth quarter 1:47, 24-20 Patriots: Stephon Gilmore broke up a pass intended for Westbrook, and the Jags turn it over on downs. The pass was intended for Westbrook.
Pats now take over at their own 43. A first down would win the game. Jags have three timeouts.
Fourth quarter, 2:00, 24-20 Patriots: James Harrison and Kyle Van Noy came up with a strip sack on second-and-10, and so it’ll be third-and-19 from the New England 47 for the Jags coming out of the two minute warning.
Fourth quarter, 2:48, 24-20 Patriots: Ladies and gentlemen, the Patriots have themselves the lead in this football game.
And it was — who else? — Dan Amendola coming through with a massive touchdown catch.
Brady hit Amendola on the back line of the goal line, and Amendola did a ridiculous job of getting both feet down and securing the football. That was unbelievable. He now has seven catches for 84 yards and two touchdowns.
More importantly, the Patriots have a four-point lead with 2:48 left. The Jags have all three timeouts. Desperation time now.
Fourth quarter, 4:58, 20-17 Jaguars. The Patriots’ defense has come up huge once more. Fournette was stuffed for a loss on first down, Rowe stepped in front of a second-down pass, and Bortles was hit while throwing on third down.
The punt was short, and Amendola returned 20 yards, it all the way to the 30-yard line. The Patriots are already in field goal range.
Fourth quarter, 5:53, 20-17 Jaguars: The game-winning drive did not come, with the drive stalling out after Cooks drew a 36-yard pass interference penalty to start it. Allen dropped his punt at the 10-yard line, and the Patriots’ defense needs to make another stop.
Keeping the Jaguars from scoring completely is paramount here. A field goal would force the Patriots to need a touchdown on an ensuing drive, but a field goal keeps things a bit easier for the Patriots.
But first, they’ll need a stop.
Fourth quarter, 6:21, 20-17 Jaguars: The Patriots made a stop. Now Tom Brady takes over with a chance to take a lead.
Bortles did complete a 20-yard pass Hurns on that drive, but Gilmore made an excellent pass breakup on a second-and-9 deep shot to Westbrook up the left sideline and then Chung prevented a completion to Marcedes Lewis on third down.
Amendola made a fair catch at the 19-yard line, and the Patriots have 81 yards in front of them for a potential game-winning drive. A field goal would at least lighten the tension a bit, if only temporarily.
Fourth quarter, 8:44, 20-17 Jaguars: The Patriots are resilient. Specifically, Dan Amendola is resilient as heck.
On a third-and-18, after a deep prayer to hogan fell incomplete, Amendola came up with a 21-yard catch over the middle with Gipson draped over his back.
After a flea flicker pass to Dorsett (yes, Dorsett) for 31 yards, Amendola made a ridiculous catch above his head while spinning for a gain of 14 yards.
Liking what he saw out of No. 80, Brady went back to him on the next play, firing a dart to Amendola’s chest and letting Amendola run in from inside the 5-yard line.
Amendola had three receptions for 44 yards and a touchdown on that drive.
And just like that, it’s a 3-point game with plenty of time left. Let’s see how the Jaguars offense responds. That unit has been off and on all day long.
Injury note: Trey Flowers is back in the game.
Fourth quarter, 12:03, 20-10 Jaguars: The Jags weren’t able to turn that turnover into anything, as McCourty and Rowe combined to stop Hurns a yard shy of the sticks on third down.
Amendola made a fair catch at his own 15, and the Patriots start deep in their own territory, needing two scores to either tie or win. There’s plenty of time left, but there’s now almost no room for error.
Fourth quarter, 13:37, 20-10 Jaguars: That was unbelievabe. Brady threw right to Amendola, and he threw it all the way back across the field to Lewis. The running back had a ton of open field and turned it into a big gain. HOWEVER, Myles Jack knocked it loose as Lewis was falling to the ground.
Lewis definitely lost possession but got his hand back on top of the ball. It was ruled a fumble on the field. We’ll see how it is ruled on review.
UPDATE: The call on the field stood as called. Jags take over at their own 33. The first turnover of the game was a huge one. It negated a 20-yard gain and took points off the board for New England.
Fourth quarter, 14:52, 20-10 Jaguars: Bortles’ pass sailed about 15 yards out of bounds, and the Jags settled for a field goal. Lambo drilled the 43-yarder, and the Jags have a two-possession lead.
Update from the Patriots: Rob Gronkowski will not return due to his head injury. It cannot be overstated how huge of a loss that is.
End of third quarter, 17-10 Jaguars: The third quarter draws to a close with the Jags well into field-goal range. It’ll be third-and-8 from the New England 25-yard line to start the fourth quarter.
Way back at the Jacksonville 16-yard line, Lee broke free over the middle with Butler trailing for an 18-yard catch-and-run. On a flea flicker later, Bortles got eight yards to Lee for another first down pickup. Fournette then broke a 14-yard run on a pitch to the left to get the Jags into field-goal range.
It feels like the Patriots can still do this if the Jags settle for a field goal. There’s plenty of time left. But if the Patriots give up a touchdown, things will be tense here at Gillette.
Trey Flowers suffered an injury to his leg on that 14-yard run.
Third quarter, 4:41, 17-10 Jaguars: A quick drive from the Patriots goes nowhere. Brady to Lewis on third down to the right side, but Lewis had no room to run. On fourth-and-2, Belichick didn’t feel like going for it. (After the last Jacksonville offensive drive, who can blame him?)
Jags take over at their own 9-yard line after the fair catch. Allen has been big.
Third quarter, 6:04, 17-10 Jaguars: Huge defensive drive for the Patriots. On first down, Bortles threw the ball about 15 yards out of bounds. On second down, at least three Patirots were in the backfield; Lawrence Guy got the sack. And on third-and-15 from their own 5, the Jags essentially punted on the drive, with an inside handoff for a gain of 3 yards.
Patriots take over at their own 47-yard line after the punt.
Third quarter, 7;31, 17-10 Jaguars: Brandin Cooks is having a good game, but if the Patriots lose this game, his big-time drop on a would-be 30-plus yarder is going to be remembered.
It came on a corner route on first-and-10 near midfield, with Cooks running a corner route to the left side. He gained plenty of separation, and Brady put it in the right spot. But Cooks clanked it off his fingers.
Lewis gained four yards on a swing pass on second down, and oddly on third-and-6 the Patriots went with a quick pass to White, who was only able to gain two yards to bring up a fourth-and-6. That was no good.
Earlier on the drive, Brady stepped up in the pocket to deliver a 17-yard strike over the middle to Hogan on third-and-5 for the Patriots’ first third-down conversion of the day, if you can believe that.
Allen dropped his punt at the 10-yard line, where the Jags will take over. The Patriots really need a three-and-out to shorten the field. Moving the ball has been a chore.
Third quarter, 10:23, 17-10 Jaguars: The Jaguars moved the chains twice, including a 9-yard pass to Yeldon on a third-and-8. But Flowers broke up an attempted pass to the flat on a third-and-4 at the 36-yard line to make a stop.
The Jaguars opted for a 54-yard field goal attempt, and Lambo nailed it. That was an impressive kick right there.
Jags lead by a touchdown. Still no sign of Gronkowski, but this does not look good:
Third quarter, 15:00, 14-10 Jaguars: The second half is underway after a touchback. Jags start at their own 25.
Rob Gronkowski is officially listed as questionable to return with a heady injury. I don’t currently see him on the sideline with the rest of the offense.
Halftime, 14-10 Jaguars: Jacksonville was content to take this four-point lead to halftime. Bortles took two kneeldowns, and this game heads to halftime.
That wasn’t at all how the Patriots wanted the first half to go, and the second half is going to have to start with a defensive stop if they want to seize control of this game. That’s proven to be difficult, largely because of an inability to prevent the running backs from picking up big gains on swing passes to the outside.
It’s worth noting that the Jaguars started to slip at the end of half. With a delay of game, followed by a holding penalty/sack allowed, then followed by the unnecessary roughness penalty and the pass interference penalty for a combined 47 yards on penalties, they let the Patriots close the gap before halftime. Will that continue or will they show some poise to start the second half with a scoring drive? That will be critical.
Second quarter, :55, 14-10 Jaguars: The Patriots took advantage of the 15-yard penalty, as it was followed up by Cooks drawing a 32-yard pass interference penalty on Bouye. Brady went to Cooks on an in cut for 12 yards on the next play, and the Patriots then hurried to the line for a James White touchdown run.
There was some chippiness in the end zone after the score, with Nate Solder taking exception to a late tackle by Myles Jack in the end zone. The Patriots will be rightfully ticked off about that hit to Gronkowski’s facemask by Church, and emotions are high here late in the first half.
But the Patriots have cut it to four. They need a stop here though, because the Jaguars get the ball to start the second half.
Second quarter, 1:23, 14-3 Jaguars: Barry Church just concussed Rob Gronkowski. It drew a 15-yard penalty but I wouldn’t expect to see Gronkowski again today.
Second quarter, 2:02, 14-3 Jaguars: The Patriots’ defense made a stop, thanks to Bortles taking a third-down snap a hair too late. The delay of game penalty negated a perfect strike from Bortles to Cole that would’ve put the Jags in field goal range.
But it didn’t count, and on the ensuing third-and-12, Deatrich Wise drew a holding penalty, and Adam Butler picked up a sack as Bortles ran all over the place with no aim, and the Jaguars had to punt.
Patriots take over at their own 15-yard line looking to get something on the board before halftime.
Second quarter, 5:26, 14-3 Jaguars: The Patriots’ offense is strugg-a-ling.
Brady did hit Gronkowski for a gain of 21 yards on the second play of the drive, but that would be it. Brady tried lobbing a pass across the field to Gronkowski on the next play but overthrew it. He then missed Burkhead over the middle a little bit, and the running back dropped what would have been a short gain. On third down, Brady tried like heck to buy time to wait for someone to get open, but he ended up getting clobbered by Fowler for a sack.
Allen punted again and the Jags take over at their own 25-yard line.
Long way to go, but the Patriots are getting outplayed in all aspects. That drive began with a holding penalty on Marquis Flowers, which set the drive back to the 11-yard line. Ugly all around.
As a side note, Gronkowski became the all-time postseason leader in receiving yards for a tight end, which is a big accomplishment but won’t make many Patriots feel good at this moment.
Second quarter, 7:06, 14-3 Jaguars: The Jaguars just steamrolled their way all the way down the field again, and now have themselves a double-digit lead.
Fournette capped off this drive with a dive up the gut from the 4-yard line. He sliced right through the middle of the defense and made it look easy. He had 23 yards on five carries on that drive.
Once again, the Jags connected for a big gain on a pass to a running back, with Grant breaking a 15-yard gain on the left side to start the drive. He has three catches for 59 yards and has been a huge problem for the Patriots.
The Jaguars are just winning all over the field right now, and the Patriots offense is going to have to wake up before this one gets out of hand.
That drive went 77 yards in 6:07. The Jaguars have 181 yards of offense, compared to the Patriots’ 81 yards.
Second quarter, 13:13, Jaguars 7-3: For the second straight drive, the Patriots have gone three-and-out. This drive actually went backwards.
Brady missed Lewis on a simple pass to start the drive, impacted perhaps by Calais Campbell on the left end of the line. Lewis then ran for a one-yard loss on second down, and Brady had nobody open on third down. He eventually threw to Hogan, but it fell incomplete and was nearly picked off deep over the middle.
Jaguars take over on their own 23-yard line. They’ve got the momentum for sure.
Second quarter, 7-3 Jaguars: It took just two plays for the Jags to find the end zone, and the Jaguars now have a lead.
Corey Grant again made a big gainer on first down, this time for 24 yards. On the next play, Bortles ran play-action, springing Marcedes Lewis wide open on the right side for a simple 4-yard touchdown pass.
And the Jacksonville Jaguars have themselves a lead in the AFC Championship Game in Foxboro.
That drive went 76 yards in 3:36.
End of first quarter, 3-0 Patriots: The first quarter is over and the Jaguars are driving. It started with a quick pass to running back Corey Grant. There was a misdirection play-fake, and it was blocked well to the outside, allowing Grant to burst up the left side for a gain of 20 yards. Four plays later on a second-and-6 from the New England 39, Bortles rolled right and hit Keelan Cole along the right sideline for a gain of 11 yards.
So it’ll be first-and-10 for the Jaguars at the New England 28-yard line to start the second quarter.
First quarter, 2:51, 3-0 Patriots: The Patriots’ second drive was not quite as eventful as their first. Lewis ran for three yards up the gut, and Amendola ran for four yards on a jet sweep, leading to a third-and-3. White ran off the left tackle but was stopped a yard short.
Allen’s punt went out bounds at the Jacksonville 24-yard line, and the Jags will take over there.
First quarter, 5:01, 3-0 Patriots: The Jaguars seemed content to inch their way down the field three yards at a time, and it worked for a bit, as they picked up two first downs. The second came on a mismatch with receiver Allen Hurns on James Harrison for 3-yard reception on third-and-2.
But near midfield on second-and-8, Trey Flowers got a hand in Bortles’ face to force an underthrow to Yeldon up the left sideline. Van Noy was able to catch up and break up the pass. On third down, Butler stuck with Lee to jar the ball loose over the middle, forcing a Jacksonville punt.
Amendola made a fair catch at the 14-yard line. Patriots take over again.
First quarter, 9:21, 3-0 Patriots: Facing a fourth-and-1 from the Jaguars’ 30-yard line, Bill Belichick elected to go for it. After a timeout, the Patriots came out with five wide in a shotgun snap. Brady threw a wheel route perfectly to Amendola for a big gain of 20 yards. The crowd was fired up.
But the Jaguars’ defense stiffened from there, stopping Lewis for a two-yard loss on the next play and then stopping him with an open field tackle by Telvin Smith on the next play. Brady had nowhere to go on third down and ended up taking a sack by Dante Fowler.
So Gostkowski hit the 31-yarder and the Patriots lead. But they definitely wanted more from that drive.
Brady looked more than fine, by the way. He went 6-for-6 for 57 yards on the drive, including a picture-perfect strike to Brandin Cooks for a 31-yard gain on the second play of the game.
First quarter, 15:00: Josh Lambo’s opening kick sailed deep into the end zone, and the Patriots will start this one at their own 25-yard line. Game time!
3 p.m.: We’re just minutes away from kickoff.
The captains met at midfield for the coin toss with referee Clete Blakeman. The Jaguars called heads. The toss came up heads. The Jaguars elected to defer. So it’ll be Brady and the offense starting the game.
2:20 p.m.: Tom Brady is on the field for warmups, and he is not wearing a glove on his right hand. He has a big piece of tape on his right hand, likely covering the stitches, but no glove. He’s throwing the ball fine, and he even shook referee Clete Blakeman’s hand using the right hand. So it appears for now as though Brady is fine. He is wearing a glove on his left hand.
Here’s a look at Brady’s setup on his right hand:
We’ll see what if anything happens when a Jaguars player hits him and knocks him to the turf. But for now, Brady looks like Brady.
1:31 p.m.: Well, no surprise here, but quarterback Tom Brady is going to play in the football game.
Again, that was to be expected, but you can count that as your first exhale of the afternoon. Now we’ll look to see how he looks in warmups.
Here are the Patriots’ inactives:
Mike Gillislee, RB
Jacob Hollister, TE
Alan Branch, DL
Kenny Britt, WR
LaAdrian Waddle, T
Bernard Reedy, WR
David Harris, LB
You’ll note that, as expected, Rex Burkhead is active, giving the Patriots a formidable trio of backs behind Brady.
Jacob Hollister lands there likely because LaAdrian Waddle is out. The Patriots needed to activate Cole Croston as a backup lineman in case Cameron Fleming gets hurt.
For the Jaguars, safety Tashaun Gipson is active. That’s important for that defense, but we’ll see how he looks. Here are the Jags’ inactives:
Chris Ivory, RB
Eli Ankou, DT
Deon King, LB
Carroll Phillips, DE
Chris Reed, OL
Josh Walker, OL
William Poehls, OL
1:12 p.m.: It is truly a magnificent day out there. It feels like springtime. That’s only a slight exaggeration, but it is close to 50 degrees. It should be a good day for throwing the football, as the flags on the goalposts are currently hanging limp.
Inactives are due to be released around 1:30 p.m., so we’ll have that update soon.
9:25 a.m.: It’s a beautiful day for football in New England.
In just about five-and-a-half hours, a pretty darn good football game will be played at Gillette Stadium, as the New England Patriots are hosting the Jacksonville Jaguars. The winner will go on to play in Super Bowl LII, and the loser will wonder what went wrong.
Obviously, most of the 66,000 fans in attendance will be hoping the Patriots can outduel the Jaguars, and in that endeavor, there is some good news early.
First and foremost, all reports indicate that Tom Brady will be just fine, despite the injury scare this week. Additionally, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Rex Burkhead will be active for the game. The Patriots’ running backs figure to play a prominent role in the offensive game plan this week, so the addition of Burkhead to James White and Dion Lewis is quite significant.
We’ll have all the rest of the pregame news right here in the live blog as it breaks, as well as updates and analysis all game long, from the opening coin toss until the final whistle. So check back early and often.