Saturday, January 07, 2006
This game started off slow with the Patriots struggling to move the ball and the Jaguars moving the ball just as well as us. The score was 7-3 at halftime and it looked as if this game would be a repeat of the Tennessee Titans playoff game in '03.
The Pats started the game at their 28 yard line. Brady hit Faulk on a short route for 6 yards but it was called back for holding. A neutral zone infraction by the Jags made it 1st and 15 from the 23. Brady had Watson open but the pass nailed the umpire and fell incomplete. Brady missed Watson again and scrambled for 7 on 3rd and 15. Miller punted and long snapper Lonnie Paxton - who had a good day on special teams - crushed Pearman at the 33 yard line. It was the first of many hard hits.
The Jags had similar difficulties in getting things started. Fred Taylor was held to a 1 yard gain on 1st down. Leftwich hit Jimmy Smith on a line of scrimmage pass play that was sniffed out and stopped by Ellis Hobbs for no gain. Leftwich then threw to Wilford incomplete. The Jaguars punted and we got the ball back at the 22.
On 1st down, Brady hit Faulk for a gain of 12. Faulk then ran off the guard for 19 more to the Jacksonville 47. Brady hit Watson on a TE screen but the play was blown up for a loss of 3. Brady missed Patrick Pass on 2nd down. On 3rd and 13 from midfield, Brady hit a wide open Branch on a beautiful play for a gain of 20. The Jaguars were called for illegal contact which moved the ball to their 25. Faulk ran right for a yard, then Brady was sacked for a loss of 4. On 3rd and 13, Brady missed Watson down the field. Vinatieri came in for a field goal, apparently, but it would have been a 45 yarder which is very difficult in cold weather. Vinatieri took a good direct snap from Paxton - again, great game - and pooch punted it down near the end zone. Paxton downed it at the 4.
Jones started the Jacksonville drive with a gain of 4. Taylor then ran for 3. On 3rd and 3, Leftwich threw to Taylor for 2 yards before being stopped on a great effort tackle by Mike Vrabel. Fred Taylor is a difficult man to tackle one on one in the open field but Vrabel stuck with it and forced a punt. It only went 30 yards and the Pats started on the Jacksonville 43.
Dillon ran up the gut for 5 yards. He was then stopped for no gain. On 3rd and 5, Dillon hit Watson for a gain of 8. 1st and 10 from the 30 and Dillon wa sstopped for a gain of 1. Brady then ran to the left for 2 under pressure. On 3rd and 7 from the 27, Brady was sacked for a loss of 3. The Pats went for it on 4th and 10 because a 48 yard field goal would be very difficult. A bad center/QB transfer resulted in a fumble. Brady picked it up but threw incomplete to Watson. The Jaguars got it back on downs.
On 1st and 10 from his 30, a terrible snap forced taylor to fall on the ball at his 22 for a loss of 8. Leftwich then threw an incomplete pass and was hit HARD after throwing but the play technically never happened because there wasa delay of game penalty. On 2nd and 23 from the 17, Leftwich hit Jones for an 8 yard gain that ended the 1st quarter. On 3rd and 15, Leftwich was sacked by Willia McGinsit for a loss of 7. Hanson punted 46 yards to our 36 yard line. Dwight ran by the sole gunner that made it down field and ran out of bounds after a 27 yard gain to the Jacksonville 37.
Brady threw incomplete to Givens on 1st and 10. Dillon ran for 4, then Faulk ran for 18 to the 15 yard line. Brady missed Brown then Dillon ran for 4 yards. Without a huddle, Brady took the 3rd and 6 snap from the 11 and on play action found Troy Brown in the back of the end zone for a touchdown. 7-0 Patriots.
The drive began with a sack of Leftwich by Roosevelt Colvin. Leftwich then hit Wilford for 15 yards. Taylor ran up the middle for 4 yards. A delay of game penalty made it 2nd and 11 from Jacksonville's 37. Leftwich hit Smith for 19 yards, moving the ball into New England territory. Pearman got a carry to the left and got 4 yards before being greeted by Eugene "The Presence" Wilson. Wilson hit him so hard that the ball popped out. Seymour retrieved the ball and the Patriots had a 1st down.
A 6 yard run by Dillon was called back by a holding penalty. On 1st and 20, Faulk ran for only 2. Brady then hit Faulk on a screen for a 5 yard gain. On 3rd and 13, Brady threw incomplete to Givens. Miller punted and the Jags got it on the 26 yard line.
Leftwich tried a screen for a loss of 1. Jimmy Smith had an 11 yard catch on 2nd down. Then Leftwich hit Wilford for 17. The ball was on the New england 47 and Taylor ran up the middle for 7 yards. A false start penalty brought the ball back to the 40. Leftwich hit Jones for a gain of 9. On 1st and 10 from the 36, Taylor ran for a yard. Leftwich threw incomplete to Jones, then hit Wilford for 11 on 3rd and 9. After the 2 minute warning, Leftwich threw an incomplete, then the Jaguars falsely started. On 2nd and 11 Leftwich hit Williams for 11, but on 3rd and 4 he threw incomplete to Wilford. Scobee grazed the uprights with a field goal. Patriots 7, Jaguars 3.
The Pats weren't able to do anything positively to end the half except a 21 yard reception by Faulk. 7-3 at half-time. The game was about to change, dramatically in the 2nd half.
Leftwich started the 2nd half with a 14 yard pass to Matt Jones. Who? Matt Jones! Three more incompletes and the Jaguars were forced to punt. The Pats got it at their 19.
Dillon ran for a yard then branch got 16 on a pass. Dillon ran for 2 yards, then 2 more. On 3rd and 6 at the 40, Brady hit Watson for 15. Faulk continued his good night with a rush of 6 followed by a rush of 5. 1st and 10 on the Jacksonville 34. After an incomplete, the Patriots tried a little trick play. The snap went directly to Kevin Faulk, who ran across the snap-line in between the center and Brady. Andre Davis came from the wideout spot and took a handoff from Faulk. He got 13 down the right side of the field and had Brady been able to block a 300 pound defensive lineman, he would have gone all the way. On 1st and 10 from the 21, Dillon ran for a yard. Brady hit Watson for 8 yards. Watson lost the ball but Davis fell on it at the 3. Brady then threw to Givens. It was Givens 6th straight TD reception in a playoff game. 14-3 Patriots.
The Jagaurs answered with a 3 and out and were forced to punt.
Dillon ran left for 6, then right for 5. Brady threw an incomplete pass and Faulk was stopped on a run for no gain. Kaczur was called for holding on the play. On 2nd and 20 from the 30 yard line, Faulk caught a short pass for 7. Then came a big play. On 3rd and 13, Brady threw to Watson. Watson shook off the tackle of a player who had his hand in a club-cast and couldn't fully wrap up. But two other Jaguars had no excuse. They couldn't take down Bigger Ben nor could they push him out of bounds. He ran down the sidelines then turned back inside and then into the end zone. It was a 63 yard TD reception and it set the record for the Patriots longest pass play in the playoffs. 21-3 Patriots.
Fred Taylor had a 7 yard run on 1st down. Leftwich was pressured on 2nd and 3 but he found a huge hole and ran for a gain of 18 yards. He didn't evade Willie McGinist on the next play, though, and was taken down for a loss of 5. Leftwich hit Williams for 6 yards down to the New England 36. Pearman ran for 4 yards to end the 3rd quarter.
To begin the final period of play, Leftwich threw a pass to the right. His man appeared open but unbeknowst to Leftwich, Asante Samual would cut back inside off of his man and onto the route and catch the ball in stride like he was Ty Law. Samuel outran Leftwich for a 73 yard interception return for a TD. 28-3 Patriots.
The rest of the game was running out the clock and teeing off on Leftwich. McGinist got his 3rd sack of the game at 11:39 in the 4th which tied him with Bruce Smith for the all-time playoff sack record at 14.5. The Jags would miss a 41 yard field goal attempt after that. Dave Garrard came in and drove down field but the Jags turned it over on downs. Brady made a nice pass from his own end zone with 2 guys in the midst of bringing him down. If not for a questionable spot, it would have been a 1st down. McGinist sacked Garrard with Seymour making himself the sole record holder in playoff sacks.
At 3:03, McGinsit sacked Garrard again and then hilariously took himself out of the game with an NFL playoff record 4.5 sacks in the game and 16 in his career. The Pats let the clock expire after a turnover on downs. Game over.
Tedy Bruschi didn't play, but we didn't seem to need him that much. McGinist, Colvin, and Vrabel did well on the outside and in coverage. We could have used some improvement in the inside of the linebackers but we compensated nicely. It was good to be able to give Bruschi an extra week off.
One of the biggest reasons we won this game was because we were more physical and tougher than the Jaguars. They spent the entire season playing in the NFC Soft Division and playing in warm weather. Then they have to play against guys like Eugene Wilson, Willie McGinist, Roosevelt Colvin, Vince Wilfork, Corey Dillon, and Ben Watson. They were simply beaten up. Their receivers dropped a lot of balls, especially their star WR Jimmy Smith. They were stuffed at the line of scrimmage and couldn't establish dominance or superiority in any facet of the game.
We also won this game on 3rd downs. We were 7 for 14 on 3rd downs and we held Jacksonville to 1 of 12 on 3rd down conversions. We stepped up and made good plays on 3rd downs to get the ball back and stop drves short. The Jaguars were able to get a few nice 10-20 yard pass plays here and there, but we were able to stop them from stringing a few of them together.
We had too many penalties. Too many holding penalties. However, we also forced a good number of penalties on Jacksonville. They were msotly croud noise penalties like false starts, illegal formations, and delays of game. And who says Gillette is too quiet?
Our rushing attack was a good combined effort of 118 total yards. Faulk had 51, Dillon had 40, Pass had 6, Brady had 9, Davis had 13, and Cassel had -1 with the final play of the game. 118 yards on 28 carries is a solid 4.2 YPC and having 28 carries means we were able to keep Jacksonville's defense on the field.
Brady played well after a shaky beginning. He seemed too wary to have balls tipped and was getting too much air under the ball. He settled down and tied his post-season best with 3 TDs and 201 yards.
The defense was phenominal. Willie McGinist led it with 4.5 sacks, 6 solo tackles, and 8 total tackles. Asante Samuel had a good night of coverage capped off by a 73 yard INT returned for a TD. Eugene Wilson forced a fumble and generally spread fear among the Jacksonville receivers. Roosevelt Colvin got a sack and helped create consistent pressure on Leftwich. The secondary played better than I can remember seeing them play. They broke up passes, tackled perfectly, and beat the crap out of the receivers when given a chance.
Jacksonville was simply beaten in the 2nd half. They were outhit, outcoached, outmaneavred, and outplayed. 10th straight playoff win for the Patriots. 68th career win for Brady. The MVP for this game is Willie McGinist with an NFL playoff record 4.5 sacks.
Now it's on to Denver or Indianapolis. Both teams are great, both places are difficult to win in, and both teams have weaknesses. Frankly, I don't care which one we have to play. If we play well, we'll win. We play Denver if Pittsburgh beats Cincinnati. We play Indy if Cincinnati wins.