Patriots Survive Jaguars 23-16
The Patriots overcame another slow start and another double digit deficit to dispatch the Jaguars,23-16.
Tom Brady threw two interceptions in the first quarter, and never truly found his rhythm, but the Pats made enough plays to hang one for the win.
The Jags put up 202 yards in the first quarter, gashing the Patriots defense through the air, but the Patriots flashed a little of the good ole' "Bend Don't Break" and held them to field goals after the two Brady interceptions.
The Jags also missed a field goal after taking a 7-0 lead on a Justin Blackmon touchdown.
The Patriots offense has come out flat for a second week in a row, but once again Danny Woodhead and Wes Welker proved to be the sparks that got the offense rolling, with Woodhead putting up the touchdown to tie it just before the half.
The Jags couldn't put together their early game magic together again to start the second half, but their defense held Tom Brady and the Patriots offense in check inside the red zone.
The Patriots finally broke through early in the fourth quarter, with Wes Welker's 2-yard touchdown reception putting the Pats up by ten.
But the Jaguars were driving at the end of the fourth quarter, down only by a touchdown, when Chandler Jones came through in a big way with a sack that forced an interception. He added another pressure on the next third down that forced an incompletion. Jones had been quiet since returning from an ankle injury so this is a positive sign for him to come through in two big spots.
Patrick Chung sealed the game with an interception in the Patriots end zone as the clock expired. Chung's two interceptions are huge for him. He's struggled and been hurt for most of the year. His good game could be one to build on for him.
The Patriots now wait to see if Cleveland can pull an upset of Denver to propel the Pats back into the second seed. And with the Texans losing to the Vikings the Patriots are just a half game behind them for the other bye.
They'll close the season out at home next Sunday at 1pm EST against the Dolphins.
Patrick Chung picks up his second interception of the day to seal it in the end zone. It was certainly more interesting that anyone thought it would be. Pats win 23-16.
Chandler Jones with another good pressure on third down, but Chad Henne completes a pass on fourth down under duress and the Jags are on the Patriots 30 with :22 seconds left. Pats need one more play.
Chung with a big illegal hit on Cecil Shorts and the Jags pick up a quick 15 yards.
Alualu drills Brady on third down and the Jags will get the ball back with a minute left and no time outs from their own 40-yard line. Patriots defense will need to finish this one.
Chandler Jones gets a hand on Henne as they go for it on fourth down and Chung picks off the deflected pass. Huge play for two players who really needed it. And the Patriots take over.
Jags driving and the Patriots defense is invisible right now at the wrong time. The lack of pressure is glaring, but now they're missing tackles as well.
Jags might score too fast.
Patriots offense with a three and out and their struggles continue. Jags get the ball down a touchdown with over seven minutes left.
This is feeling eerily similar to the Seahawks game. Pats up 10 late but leave the door open for a comeback.
Great hit by Dont'a Hightower on third down to separate the receiver from the ball and force the Jags to take a field goal.
The Patriots offense needs one more score to close this one out. Doing so on the road would be pretty impressive especially given their start to the game.
That's 20 straight points from the Pats who scored 28 straight last week. Yeah, they're kind of streaky.
Wes Welker with a two yard touchdown and the Pats are up ten, 23-13.
Patriots knocking on the door at the one yard line as the third quarter ends. Given Chad Henne's second half struggles a ten point lead would make things tough on the Jags.
Patriots defense with no sacks today, but get a deflection on third down and the Jags are punting again. Patriots defense has forced four straight punts at this point and have kept the Pats in this game.
Back to back sacks on Brady and the Patriots offense is going the wrong way. This one will be a grind down to the end.
Marquis Cole picks off Henne and Brady and the Pats take over.
That was the one thing Henne couldn't do in the second half and he just did it.
Jones back in, looks like the heavy rotation continues for the Pats and really that makes sense. They're as banged up as they've ever been down the stretch. This mix and match defense has forced a punt the last three Jags possessions.
That kick gives Gostkowski 148 pts on the season, tying his career record ('08). Franchise record is 155 by Cappelletti in '64.— New England Patriots (@Patriots) December 23, 2012
Quick three and out for the Patriots in what has become a defensive struggle in the second half.
Jaguars are punting and it seems like Chad Henne has lost any accuracy he might've had on the first few drives.
Patriots offense taking over at their 8-yard line up by three.
Justin Francis is in for Chandler Jones on defense. Looks like Jones is either still not healthy or simply underperforming since his white hot start to the season.
Patriots stopped by old draft pick Jeremy Mincey's pass defensed on third down and forced to kick the field goal to take the lead, 16-13.
Brandon Lloyd had catches of 9, 16 and 14 yards on the drive.
Tom Brady is back on the field and clicking with Brandon Lloyd. If the Pats can get Gronk back healthy the best thing to come out of his injury was the forced development of Brady and Lloyd's chemistry.
Quick Thoughts at the Half
The Patriots came out flat on both sides of the ball to start the game which is a little disconcerting, but not entirely surprising.
The Pats will get the ball to start the second half and they can really take over the game at that point if they come out on offense like they looked to end the first half.
On defense they're rotating a lot of guys in and out which helps game experience, but also mitigates injuries.
The Jags had a good offensive game plan and they need to try and stick to it. Spread the field, go fast and this Patriots team will give up yardage. But Henne cannot turn the ball over. That's the big key and likely what will determine the game.
Unless the Patriots offense kicks it into overdrive this one will go down to the last possession.
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