This in-game blog of the Patriots and Jaguars will be updated every 30 minutes or when anything happens that is important. Hopefully this insights will help other people with their analysis for their blogs.
In-Game Blog Update
2 minutes into 2nd quarter: 14-0 Patriots
The Patriots are playing an amazing game. Brandon Meriweather has been a beast, making an amazing tackle on Maurice Jones-Drew that held Jacksonville to a 4th & 1 in their own territory.
Jack Del Rio took the Belichickean route and went for it on 4th down, but the play was thwarted as the run play to the right was swarmed by Patriots players who got behind the offensive line. Patriots responded with a Tom Brady pass to Tight End Chris Baker. The play was a little controversial since Baker had pushed away his defender to get to the ball. The pass interference may have been overlooked sinceboth players were pretty physical going down the field.
Tom Brady looks good, the defense looks amazing ( considering Vince Wilfork isn't playing ), and it doesn't seem the Jaguars are doing anything to stop this onslaught.
40 seconds left in 2nd quarter: 28-0 Patriots
There is so little to talk about with the Jaguars because they don't seem to have any answers against the Patriots defense. Tully Banta-Cain has been a beast, pressuring David Garrard.The Pats defensive front seven seem to be holding ground in the middle of the field; this has kept run plays from getting too big with so many people holding their ground in the backfield, and has nullified any successful pass plays in the flat.
3rd quarter 12:54 - Jaguars 4th&1 on their own 37
Jack Del Rio goes for it again after the previous run play on 3rd down was stopped for no gain by another great play by Meriweather. Considering the score, and the playoff hopes on the line, they probably will be going for it on every 4th down for the rest of the game.
3rd quarter 10:35 - Jaguars with ball around Pats 25
David Garrard is still doing very well, considering their offensive line isn't blocking the Patriots real well. The Patriots are extremely weak up the middle, but the Jaguars no longer can exploit since the passing game needs to get some plays going to get back into this game.
The interception in the 1st half changed the game; the lead allows the Patriots to experiment with their pass-rush. No one in the middle of that defense is hitting 250-270; if the Jags can get back in this game, that is a huge weakness they can exploit it.
3rd quarter 0:40 - Patriots Ball at the Jacksonville 25 (28-0 Patriots)
David Garrard had his drive go all the way down to the Patriots 7 yard line. The quarterback pressure by the Patriots defense was very good, but Garrard was efficient, and a couple of run plays up the middle exploited the smallness of the Patriots line.
But Shawn Springs took advantage of a bad throw by Garrard and intercepted the ball next to the goal line. The Patriots go down-field, and the Brady-Moss-Welker complex did its work. Everything culminated with Brady throwing a great pass to Moss, who moved around his defender and lounged his arms to get the ball past the touchdown plane. It was Randy Moss's 3rd touchdown reception of the day.
The play was challenged ( since the ball may not have crossed the plane ), but the touchdown ended up standing. The crowd is ecstatic at this point, as they are chanting "Randy! Randy!" on the extra-point kick.
4th quarter 12:37 - Patriots Ball around midfield (35-7 Patriots )
The Patriots are still playing, but they are involving Fred Taylor in their run packages now that the game is way past over.
He looks real good, and the running back depth that the Patriots will have going to the playoffs looks incredible.
On the previous Jaguars drive, David Garrard scored a touchdown after avoiding the Patriots pass-rush on a collapsed pocket. He went on the sideline to tend to his leg, which he may have injured during the play.
End of game
The Patriots were so dominant in all facets of the game that there wasn't much insight into many of the Jaguars players. David Garrard did play well if you take out the two turnovers; the game would've been much different if these interceptions didn't happen.
The Patriots defense looked really good, but also had the good luck of having the lead, which kept Maurice Jones-Drew from affecting the game much ( 16 carries and 3 receptions ).
Belichick called another amazing game with his ghost defense and blitz packages, and although I think Moss had an "ok" game ( I am a Moss defender, so this isn't maniacal criticism like you witness on ESPN or in Boston the last few weeks ), his bandwagon picked up some passengers today.
Laurence Maroney wasn't in the game much; not sure if there was an injury involved or if they feel they wanted to spread the ball around to the other backs. Maybe he was in the doghouse for his fumble; he does need to be more careful with the ball like he did his first two years with the Patriots.
@Tom Brady, @Patriots Offensive Line, @Patriots Coaching: Don't believe the hype that will occur post-game; this game was pretty easy for Tom Brady. He hasn't had to do a lot of work; the offensive line should get the game ball since he is getting a comfortable 4-6 second-protected pocket. The running game has been effective due to the line as well. The WR of the Patriots are blocking real well, and the running backs are getting a lot of yards once they reach the 2nd level of the defense.
@Mercedes Lewis: left the game early with an undisclosed head injury, and didn't return.
@Brendan Meriweather: He played a great game, made a lot of tackles at the line of scrimmage, had an interception, and covered his zone well. Very underrated part of the Patriots defense; when he shines, the Patriots are usually dominating on D.
The Patriots "Ghost Defense": Belichick is utilizing his "ghost defense" ( where the line is one or two down-lineman with linebackers walking around in no fixed position ), and he is using it more with two down-lineman on the far right and far left gaps ( the five gaps ) with a medley of linebackers in the middle.
This is the newest variation of this ghost defense, where in the past he has used it with one down-lineman in the middle or no lineman at all. I am unsure if this has been used with any other coach in the NFL, although Eric Mangini and Rex Ryan have employed semblances of this defense in the past few years.
It is unclear if this might be a continuing trend; he has done this before when he had healthy linemen, so I don't think this defense has been used the last two weeks only due to the injuries to VinceWilfork and Ty Warren. Wouldn't be surprised if they
Tully Banta-Cain - Great Pass-Rusher: I think it is safe to say that Tully Banta-Cain is a great pass-rusher for the Patriots. He comes off the edges real well, he can get pressure when he is lined up in the middle as well. He is small, but he has the burst of speed and maneuvers to get to the QB. If you told me he was going to be the Patriots best pass-rusher in July, I would've laughed. He has come a long way.
Valuable Information Elsewhere