January 22, 2018


Patriots send yet another opponent home frustrated and frazzled (Ron Borges, January 22, 2018, bOSTON hERALD)

How, for example, can a team come out of a timeout and be flagged for delay of game on a third-and-7 situation that negated a 12-yard completion that would have allowed the Jags to keep the ball with 2:33 to play in the first half holding a 14-3 lead?

"Yeah, I just thought out of the timeout we lost track (of the play clock),'' Jacksonville head coach Doug Marrone said sheepishly. Lost track? Your team didn't lose track. It lost the game. Or at least began that process.

On the next play they got both sacked and flagged for holding. Then, after pinning the Patriots at their own 15 with 2:02 left, his defense committed 47 yards worth of penalties on what became a 85-yard touchdown "drive'' that cut the lead to 14-10.

"You know how it is in this league,'' Jacksonville tight end Marcedes Lewis said. "The margin for error is small. We had our opportunities and we didn't make them. They executed better when they had to than we did.''

Yes they did. The Patriots executed their plays. The Jaguars executed themselves.

The Jags were better by far on third down, dominated the time of possession and outgained the Patriots. Well, they did the latter until you add 98 yards in penalties Jacksonville committed. That's nearly the length of a football field ... or the margin of victory when you lose by four points.

What separated these two teams is what has separated the Patriots from their peers for nearly two decades. It's the little things.

Like Blake Bortles missing a wide-open Marqise Lee on first-and-10 from his own 10. The throw went out of bounds and on the next play Bortles was sacked and second-half field position began to tilt in the Patriots' favor. Little by little.

"The game is never over at halftime," Brady said. "You've got to go to the end.'' [...]

Why is this? Why, time and again do the Patriots make the plays and their opponents do not? Why does a defense that was best in the league in defending the red zone give up two touchdowns in that area in the final quarter? Maybe one reason is deciding to run a kickoff back from the goal line and getting stuffed at your own 16 instead of downing the ball in the end zone and starting at your 25? Might that have contributed to the fact Jacksonville's final two drives of the game began at its 16 and 10, the latter resulting in a punt that gave the Patriots the ball at the Jags 30 to begin the winning drive?

Why do the little things add up for the Patriots and not for their opponents? Devin McCourty isn't sure but he has an idea.

"It's so interesting with this team,'' McCourty explained. "Everything we have to go through that we absolutely hate, it comes back (when the pressure is highest).

"First week (James) Harrison was here he said one day, 'More meetings?' Bill drills us on every situation over and over. It's not always what you want to hear. But so many times the situation comes up. When it gets tough, it's calm for us. All week we talked about we got to play from ahead and we played from behind all game. But we kept playing.''

Watching his "peers" mismanage the clock, field position, strategy, etc,, Bill must kick himself for every year he didn't win the Super Bowl. 

Posted by at January 22, 2018 1:23 PM