Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Jaguars Ran out of Miracles

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Jaguars Ran out of Miracles

Article excerpt

FOXBORO, Mass. -- The IOUs on all those lucky breaks, all those

fateful bounces, all those near-flawless performances came due

yesterday. The magic was replaced by misfortune, and destiny

called in sick with a cold.

As a bitter north wind howled and whined like a crying coyote,

the Jacksonville Jaguars dug deep down into their bag of

miracles and pulled out mistakes instead. This time, there was

no Morten Andersen, no Vinny Testaverde, no Hail Mary . . . and

no Super Bowl.

And so this wonderfully wild Jags to riches story is finally

over . . . a fractured fairy tale with the final chapter ended

by a litany of mistakes and miscalculations. On the same day the

lights inexplicably went out at Foxboro Stadium, the Jaguars

suffered a power outage of their own. An offense that had burned

so brilliantly during this magnificent playoff run began to hiss

and smoke yesterday before finally short-circuiting.

"The very things that brought us here left us today," Jaguars

coach Tom Coughlin said after the 20-6 loss to the Patriots in

the AFC Championship Game. ". . . We just made too many

mistakes."

Miscues, in fact, led to all of New England's points. There

were two interceptions by quarterback Mark Brunell. A James

Stewart fumble that New England returned for a touchdown. Two

special teams blunders that led to 10 Patriots points. And Drew

Bledsoe's last-gasp 38-yard pass to Shawn Jefferson at the end

of the first half that set up a field goal. At the time, the

Jaguars had seven defensive backs on the field.

Mistakes weren't just limited to Jacksonville's players either.

During the game, a Jaguars fan in the crowd held up a misspelled

sign that read: "We Belive."

Somehow, though, you could just sense this type of performance

was in the works. For the first time during these playoffs, the

Jags didn't pack away unseasonably warm weather for the trip to

Massachusetts. They were greeted at kickoff by a wind-chill

factor approaching zero degrees, much colder than previous stops

at Buffalo and Denver. …

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