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Marrone: 'It's sad'


JACKSONVILLE – Doug Marrone summed up the day in a few words:

"What you feel is the end. It's sad."

Marrone, the Jaguars' head coach, was talking about the aftermath of a 24-20 loss to the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts, Sunday.

On Monday, as players cleaned their lockers a day after the Jaguars' first title-game appearance since January 2000, Marrone discussed a game in which the Jaguars led by 10 points in the fourth quarter before the Patriots rallied for a second consecutive Super Bowl appearance.

"When you come so close and you know it's right there and you have the ability to take it … it's tough," Marrone said. "Even when you come back, and we came back last night, we had a ton of fans here … The support of them, at the end of the day, it just hurts even more that you feel like you let – I know, personally – I feel like I've let so many people down."

Marrone during a half-hour meeting with the media Monday afternoon discussed numerous details of Sunday's loss. Among them:

*Cornerback Jalen Ramsey's comments after the game that the Jaguars playing zone defense instead of man-to-man coverage hurt the second-half pass defense.The Jaguars played extensive man coverage in the first half, with both of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady's touchdown passes coming in the fourth quarter. "I think that's frustration," Marrone said of Ramsey's comments. "Sometimes after a game, my experience has been when players say that, it's just frustration. When you go back up to them, they're like, 'oh, I get it. I know about it.'''…

*Running back Corey Grant's second-half role. Grant caught three passes for 59 yards on swing passes in the first half, then rushed once for two yards on his only second-half touch. "Corey's catches were on some of the read stuff to get it out there [toward the sidelines]," Marrone said. "We thought they switched some things to take it away, forcing us to hand it rather than to that run-pass option for us." …

*A delay-of-game penalty late in the second quarter that negated a 12-yard, first-down-converting pass from quarterback Blake Bortles to tight end Marcedes Lewis. The Jaguars would have moved into field-goal range with the pass; instead, they punted to the Patriots, who drove for their first touchdown just before halftime. The penalty came after a Patriots timeout, with Marrone calling it "a lapse on our part" and adding "We just figured once we called the play and broke the huddle, we were fine. They started the clock earlier than we anticipated, which they have the right to do; it was just a lapse of taking something for granted. I really believe that." …

*On kneeling out the clock after the Patriots' second-quarter touchdown. With first-and-10 at their 25 with :55 remaining before halftime, the Jaguars kneeled two plays to end the half after a touchback on the kickoff. "We had the lead and they had just scored," Marrone said. "I didn't think it was a great situation that we had been great at during the year. I thought the risk and reward for us at that moment in time was, 'Let's go in and make our adjustments. Let's get ourselves going and let's take this lead into halftime.' That is exactly how I thought, right or wrong." …

*On officials referees whistling a fumble recovery by linebacker Myles Jack dead. On perhaps the game's most controversial play, Jack stripped the ball from Patriots running back Dion Lewis and recovered the ball. Jack got up and was running free down the sideline when the play was whistled dead. Replays determine that Jack indeed had stripped the ball and recovered, but replays also seemed to show that Jack was not being touched by a Patriots player while on the ground and therefore the play should not have been ruled dead. Once a play is whistled dead, it is over and cannot be reversed by replay. "It's about the fourth one we have had this year," Marrone said. "I thought they try to let plays go. That's what I was assuming. You know that when you assume, it makes an ass out of you and me." …

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