Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Jaguars Insider: First Trip to Super Bowl Denied after 10-Point Lead Is Squandered

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Jaguars Insider: First Trip to Super Bowl Denied after 10-Point Lead Is Squandered

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Byline:

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. | No matter what the Jaguars say this week or later in the offseason or when they convene for the 2018 season, it will not hide the truth.

How the Jaguars lost Sunday's AFC Championship Game to the New England Patriots will never leave them.

Ever.

Up 10 points with 12 minutes remaining and up three points with five minutes left, a Jaguars team that talked all season about "finishing," was unable to close out a Patriots team that majors in postseason comebacks.

And now the Jaguars have eight months to think about it.

New England quarterback Tom Brady threw two fourthquarter touchdowns to receiver Danny Amendola (nine yards with 8:44 left, four yards with 2:48 left) to lift the Patriots to a 2420 win.

The Jaguars (126) were denied their first Super Bowl appearance and dropped to 03 in AFC title games.

A great ride for the Jaguars? Absolutely. But that will be addressed when the players clean out their lockers and coach Doug Marrone wraps up the season on Monday.

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But also a great collapse? No doubt. That is why the pain cut so deep in the postgame locker room while the hum of the Gillette Stadium crowd celebrating the trophy presentation seeped through the walls.

"It's tough. It stings. It hurts," strong safety Barry Church said. "All wrapped into one. Pretty bad to know we were this close. The closer you get to the Super Bowl, the more it hurts when you lose. Knowing we were that close to being AFC champs and possibly Super Bowl champs, that stings."

Tough: The Jaguars did so many good things to build leads of 143 (second quarter) and 2010 (fourth quarter). They played turnoverfree for the third straight game and had scoring drives of 76 and 77 yards to build an 11point lead.

Sting: The Jaguars' final four drives finished punt, punt, punt and a failed fourth down. The league's top rushing offense gained no traction when it needed to the most (three yards on four carries in the fourth quarter) and the league's topranked pass defense allowed 290 passing yards.

Hurt: Teams not named the Patriots don't make a habit of reaching the cusp of the Super Bowl. Heck, it took the Jaguars 18 years to return to this stage. It may not happen next year. It may not happen for the next five years.

"You just hurt inside," coach Doug Marrone said. "I'm hurting. The coaches are hurting. The players are obviously hurting."

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In a game so close and so important, turning points are plentiful, but one was obvious.

Leading 2010, the Jaguars forced New England into a thirdand18 from the Patriots 25 with 10:49 remaining.

A stop and the Jaguars were one step closer to Minneapolis. …

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