In his 16th year in the league and in the same offensive system, 38-year old Tom Brady is better than ever. Have you noticed when Brady goes back to pass that when he throws the ball, you’re expectation as somebody watching is that a Patriots receiver will snap it up. There are few quarterbacks in history that you have that feeling about when the ball leaves his hand.
That’s why it was no surprise when Brady took the Patriots on their first possession down the field for a TD, making it look a little too easy to grab a 7-0 lead. The Jaguars started three-and-out with the opening drive and Brady mixed the pass and run against the Jaguars defense to take an early lead.
Watching the Jaguars they looked a step behind on both offense and defense but it was more about the veteran status of New England and their ability to react to situations rather than bad play by the Jaguars.
While the defense made a couple of good stops, the Patriots running game gashed out big chunks of yardage enroute to a 10-0 lead after a field goal.
What the Jaguars needed was a ball-control drive to slow down the Pats offense and they got that. 17-plays and a field goal by Jason Myers to pull within 10-3.
But again Brady went to work, marching the Patriots right down field, using Rob Gronkowski up the seam in the middle of the field to grab lots of yardage. Another FG gave NE a 13-3 lead.
Blake Bortles and the offense went to work, gaining some yardage behind T.J. Yeldon and a couple of nicely designed plays by Greg Olsen, looking sharp and moving into good field position before the half. But Bortles overthrow to Marcedes Lewis lead to an interception and the 2 minute drill by Brady and company .He finished it off with a TD pass to Eric Amendola to take a 20-3 halftime lead. It was the 400th TD pass of Brady’s career, 4th all-time.
Receiving the second half kickoff, the Pats when right back to work scoring again on a FG to take a 23-3 lead. And when the Jaguars couldn’t do much with the football, Brady and company scored on their sixth straight possession, all of them into the third quarter to take a 30-3 lead. Two long pass interference penalties accounted for most of the yardage. The Jaguars were playing with all backups at that point in the defensive backfield. James Sample and Peyton Thompson were getting a lot of playing time because of injuries, and then add Nick Marshall to that group and Tom Brady had a lot of places he could attack.
Finally the offense got untracked, scoring on a 59- yard seam pass from Bortles to Allen Hurns. Nice throw and catch for Hurns first TD of the year. Six plays, 80 yards and the Jaguars were down by 20, 30-10.
You don’t think of Brady as much of a scrambler but he does create time in the pocket while he’s looking for receivers. The Patriots scored on their 7th straight possession, another TD pass for Brady for a 37-10 lead.
Oftentimes, Gus Bradley talks about it being a “precision league” and that’s what it takes to win in the NFL. While the Patriots and Tom Brady looked very precise, the Jaguars were anything but. Bortles wasn’t sharp and that hurts when you know you have to respond to what the opposing offense is doing. They didn’t do that across the board. Some of it is personnel, some of it is veterans on the field but somewhere, the Jaguars have to find some of what the Patriots seem to bring every week.
Without much offensive production in the second half, the Jaguars tried some trickery with a fake punt but New England was waiting for it and took over inside the Jaguars 30. Three plays later the Pats scored to make it 44-10, almost exactly the opposite of what the Jaguars were trying to accomplish going on the road after the home win last week.
A late score made it 51-10, with the Jaguars responding in the final 2 minutes with a TD to Clay Harbor to make it 51-17. A complete blowout and perhaps a few more questions raised than answered for the Jaguars. While they have their share of injures, the Patriots scored on all NINE possessions against the defense, perhaps the most unexpected result of the day.
Coming out of New England without further injuries could be called a small victory. If the Jaguars get a bit healthier with Julius Thomas, Luke Joeckel, Jonathan Cyprien and most of the defensive backfield returning, it’s probably best to not dwell on this game and look forward to the next two weeks at Indianapolis and Tampa Bay.
The only thing we learned this week is that New England is very good.