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Historically speaking: Jaguars-Patriots, Overtime in Foxboro Stadium

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Jacksonville Jaguar quarterback Mark Brunell walks off the field late in the fourth quarter during his teams 20-6 loss to New England Patriots during the AFC Championship game at Foxboro Stadium in Foxboro, Mass., Sunday January 12, 1997. (AP Photo/Winslow Tonson)

JACKSONVILLE – The young Jaguars were experiencing normal growing pains early in 1996. A Week 1 win over defending AFC Champion Pittsburgh was followed by losses to Houston and Oakland.

Week 4 didn't change that, but it sure was memorable.

Jaguars Head Coach Tom Coughlin was the storyline headed into a match-up with mentor Bill Parcells at Foxboro Stadium that week. Parcells had the Patriots primed for a deep playoff run while Coughlin was still searching for his second-year team's identity.

There was talent in Jacksonville, but there was more in New England.

The Jaguars missed an early opportunity when New England returner Dave Meggett fumbled the opening kickoff. Jaguars safety Travis Davis recovered at the Patriots 27, but Jaguars kicker Mike Hollis missed a 42-yard field goal wide right.

The Patriots immediately drove steadily on a surface more horse pasture than professional football field. Running back Curtis Martin touched the ball five times on the drive and quarterback Drew Bledsoe evenly distributed the ball to fullback Sam Gash and tight end Ben Coates, whose touchdown reception gave the Patriots a 6-0 lead.

Patriots cornerback Jimmy Hitchcock intercepted Jaguars quarterback Mark Brunell on the ensuing series, with kicker Adam Vinatieri's field goal making it 9-0 and a later field goal by Vinatieri pushing the lead to 12-0.

When Martin scored from four yards out midway through the second quarter and Vinatieri added a third field goal, it felt over.

It wasn't.

Down 22-0 with 1:06 remaining in the first half, Brunell moved the Jaguars from their 26 to their 49. On fourth-and-13 from there, Brunell let loose with a beautiful rainbow pass. Wide receiver Jimmy Smith outjumped Hitchcock for a 51-yard touchdown that gave the Jaguars life – though they still trailed 22-7 at halftime.

Brunell displayed more of the same to start the third quarter, and his 41-yard touchdown pass on third-and-8 to wide receiver Andre Rison – all alone behind the coverage – made it 22-14, Patriots.

Vinatieri converted his fourth field goal to push the Patriots' lead to 25-14 with just over a minute and a half remaining in the third quarter.

The Jaguars' special teams answered with razzle dazzle on the ensuing kickoff. Wide receiver Willie Jackson lateralled to Smith, who ran 28 yards to give Brunell and the offense excellent starting field position.

Brunell dropped to throw from the Jaguars 39, scrambling to his left to fight off the pass rush from Willie McGinest and Chris Slade. His 61-yard strike to Rison got the Jaguars up off the bench – and his two-point conversion run pulled the Jaguars to within 25-22.

The Jaguars took over at their own 38 early in the fourth quarter, overcoming multiple penalties on a drive that ended with a 27-yard field goal by Hollis that made it 25-25.

It was a remarkable rally and 8:26 remained.

Bledsoe answered with a beauty of a drive that began at his own 42-yard line but ended when cornerback Dave Thomas stepped in front of the pass intended for Martin that gave Brunell a chance for a game-winning drive that stalled near midfield.

A failed Patriots drive gave the Jaguars one or two chances at a miracle from their 41.

Brunell dropped to throw with :03 remaining. Jackson reached for the ball and caught it but was stopped short of the goal line.

Those were the old days and the old overtime rules. New England got the ball to start overtime, and Bledsoe methodically moved the Patriots into field-goal range thanks to a pass interference penalty on Thomas and a pretty pass to rookie receiver Terry Glenn.

Vinatieri's fifth field goal of the day gave the Patriots the 28-25 win.

The comeback win wasn't in them that day, but the Jaguars would be back in New England the following January – in the playoffs for another chance to show their championship heart.

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