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Jaguars 31, Patriots 20: 10 quick thoughts from frustrating loss

Ryan Hannable
September 16, 2018 - 7:27 pm
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Jaguars hyped Sunday's Week 2 rematch of the AFC championship as a huge game, and they backed it up on the field.

Jacksonville and its crowd were into it from the start and handed it to the Patriots early on, jumping out to a 14-0 lead before the Patriots could even blink. Although the Patriots made a slight comeback bid in the second half, the Jaguars really did dominate the game from start-to-finish, making it tough for the Patriots to do anything and came away with a 31-20 win.

Blake Bortles led the way going 29-for-45 with 377 yards, four touchdowns and an interception.

Here are 10 quick thoughts from the game.

Related: Watch every Patriots game live online this season at fuboTV

1. It was not the best performance for the Patriots, especially on defense as the Jaguars offense had its way with them for most of the game. There will be plenty to criticize this week as there was a lack of pass rush, as well as some poor play in the secondary. Jacksonville had a great game plan coming in and it executed it almost to perfection. The Patriots coaching staff will have plenty of coaching points this week and look at some current players' roles. It also seemed the body language was not what it should have been towards the end of the game on the field.

2. It was a very frustrating start for the Patriots offense as the first three series went missed field goal, punt, punt, and that got offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels fired up on the sidelines. McDaniels gathered the entire offense and ripped them until he was red in the face. While it is not unheard of, it’s very rare to see McDaniels so emotional like that on the sidelines in a negative way. The poor start offensively, especially the first drive, set the tone for the entire first half for New England.

3. The Patriots secondary did not have a good day and Eric Rowe may have been at the top of the list. After giving up several big plays, including a touchdown, he was pulled for Jason McCourty. Rowe returned in the second half due to injuries elsewhere and was immediately burned for a big gain up the sideline when he was beat once again. The Jacksonville offense did a nice job with scheming plays, mostly crossing routes, but the defense itself didn’t do much to stop it.

4. Tom Brady was frustrated all game long, and the Jacksonville front had a lot to do with it. The quarterback finished 24-for-35 with 234 yards and two touchdowns. He was under pressure for the majority of the contest and didn’t get much time at all in the pocket to throw. There were several offensive line breakdowns, which led to some throwaway passes. The rush also got to him for a strip-sack early in the fourth quarter, which swung all the momentum back on the Jacksonville side of the field.

5. Hats off to the Jacksonville defense as Rob Gronkowski was taken completely out of the game. The tight end had just two catches and was the main focus of the defense. They were physical with him and took him off his game. We didn't get much of the anticipated Jalen Ramsey matchup, as Jacksonville did a bunch of different things against him. Unlike the Texans last week, Jacksonville made sure Gronkowski would not beat them.

6. In a bit of a surprise, Bill Belichick and co. were out-coached by Doug Marrone and co., as Jacksonville out-schemed the Patriots on both sides of the ball. The Patriots didn’t have any answer. It was clear the Jaguars knew they could have some success with crossing routes on offense, and the Patriots couldn’t find a solution. On defense, the Jacksonville front-seven was able to frustrate Brady all game long.

7. Running back Sony Michel made his NFL debut and showed some positive signs. Given he missed a lot of training camp and the entire preseason, this was his first NFL game and he performed quite well given the circumstances. He probably played more than the Patriots would have liked in his first ever NFL action, but that was mostly because of the current situation at running back. If he continues to trend upwards, Michel has the tools to turn into the Patriots' best back by the end of the season.

8. There were a few notable injuries. Trey Flowers left the game with a concussion early in the first quarter and was ruled out to open the second half. In addition, Patrick Chung suffered a concussion in the first half and did not play a snap in the second half. These are two of the Patriots’ most important defenders so they cannot afford to lose them for significant time.

9. Before his injury, Chung was the main punt returner. Once he went down, both Hogan and Cordarrelle Patterson were deep. Kenjon Barner, who many expected to be the primary returner, was inactive. This could change as soon as next week, as Chung may be forced to miss some time with his concussion.

10. At 97 degrees, it was the hottest game in Patriots franchise history. The previous record was 94 degrees at the Cardinals on Sept. 29, 1991. It was interesting that as the home team the Jaguars decided to go with their teal uniforms and allowed the Patriots to wear their typical road whites. The home team gets to decide on the jersey colors.

The Jaguars' 18 first downs were tied for the second-most in the first half in franchise history.

Related: Watch: Josh McDaniels loses his mind on sideline