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Five key plays: Patriots 50, Jaguars 10

1.02 5 Key Plays

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Senior writer John Oehser examines five key plays from the Jaguars' 50-10 loss to the New England Patriots in a 2021 Week 17 game at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., Sunday

  1. Methodical. The Patriots needed no dramatics to gain momentum Sunday; instead, they were methodical and consistent – taking a 7-0 lead on a 70-yard, 11-play drive on their first possession. The Patriots faced adversity early in the drive but converted a first down after a holding penalty gave them a 2nd-and-13 from their 39. Quarterback Mac Jones converted that first down with a 12-yard pass to running back Damien Harris and a six-yard pass to wide receiver Jakobi Meyers. Jones then converted third and five from the Jaguars 38 with a 14-yard pass to Meyers. Harris capped the drive with a two-yard run to give the Patriots a 7-0 lead with 5:49 remaining in the first quarter.
  2. Perfect placement. The Jaguars' offense has struggled all season to create big plays in the passing game. They created one early Sunday – one of their biggest of the season – and it kept them relatively close to the Patriots in the first quarter. On 1st-and-10 from the Jaguars 42 with 4:17 remaining in the quarter, Jaguars rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence – under pressure from Patriots defensive lineman Davon Godchaux – threw deep to veteran wide receiver Laquon Treadwell. Despite good coverage by Patriots defensive backs Myles Bryant and Jalen Mills, Lawrence's pass dropped into Treadwell's arms, and he caught it for a 40-yard gain. Kicker Matthew Wright's 29-yard field goal made it 7-3, Patriots, with 2:18 remaining in the first quarter.
  3. More methodical. The Patriots took few chances and needed no dramatics Sunday – and they continued their routine control of the game on their second drive. They drove 66 yards on nine plays on the possession, taking a 14-3 lead on Harris' seven-yard touchdown run up the middle. The lone play longer than 10 yards on the drive: a 17-yard pass from Jones to tight end Hunter Henry that gave the Patriots 1st-and-goal at the Jaguars 7. The Patriots following that drive had 10 first downs and 146 yards on two drives – and they had rushed for 73 yards and passes for 73 yards.
  4. Another drop, another interception. The theme for Sunday's game was clear: The Patriots at 10-6 are just much better than the 2-14 Jaguars – and the Jaguars clearly weren't helped by multiple players on COVID-19 Sunday. That all allowed the Patriots to approach Sunday with a low-risk game plan that was brutally effective from game's beginning. The Jaguars also continued their season-long trend of making a key mistake to help the opponent. On Sunday, one such mistake came in the second quarter when running back Ryquell Armstead dropped a high, hard pass from Lawrence. Bryant intercepted for New England, returning it 33 yards to the Jaguars 33. Jones passed to wide receiver Kristian Wilkerson for a six-yard touchdown pass seven plays later, giving the Patriots a 21-3 lead with 4:40 remaining in the second quarter. "The problem was the turnovers," Interim Head Coach Darrell Bevell said of Lawrence's three interceptions Sunday. "You could see that we had some continuity in our drives. We were moving the football, but when one ball goes through our hands and we throw them another one, it makes for a tough day."
  5. And another interception … The Patriots didn't need help Sunday to control the game against the outmanned Jaguars. The Jaguars helped them anyway – and it was the Jaguars' second turnover in as many possessions that effectively ended any remote chance the Jaguars had Sunday. On the possession following Jones' touchdown pass to Wilkerson, Lawrence on 2nd-and-6 from the Jaguars 40 threw to his left to veteran wide receiver Tavon Austin. Patriots cornerback J.C. Jackson broke on the pass, intercepted and was immediately ruled down for a New England first down at the Jaguars 43. A roughing-the-passer penalty on Jaguars defensive lineman Jihad Ward negated Ward's sack, giving the Patriots a first down at the Jaguars 16. Jones' four-yard touchdown pass to Meyers capped the drive for a 28-3 Patriots lead with :48 remaining in the half. New England at that point had scored touchdowns on all four of its possessions.

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