The Patriots rolled over the Jacksonville Jaguars 51-17 on Sunday, turning in their most complete victory of the young season. But despite the final score, there were actually a few sluggish moments during the first half when the home team couldn't seem to put things together.
New England's offense was sharp for the most – the group scored on all nine of its possessions during the game – but Tom Brady & Co. uncharacteristically had to settle for a pair of field goals early on. One of those Stephen Gostkowski kicks was a 20-yarder, an indication of the frustrations that come when not being able to get the ball in the end zone from the 2-yard line.
Despite the occasional hiccups, the Patriots were leading 13-3 and seemed very much in control of the game. But despite getting outplayed, the Jags had the ball late in the first half and one solid drive could have provided life for the overmatches visitors heading into the locker room.
Things started well enough as Blake Bortles moved his team 33 yards from his own 22 into Patriots territory, starting with a 230yard completion down the sideline to Brian Walters. The picked up another first down and just after the two-minute warning the Jaguars had a first-and-10 at the Patriots 45. That's when the game for intents and purposes ended for the upset-minded visitors.
Bortles tried to hit tight end Marcedes Lewis deep down the seam but he overthrew him badly. Lewis was open inside safety Patrick Chung but the throw sailed well over everyone – everyone, that is, except for Devin McCourty. McCourty raced over to his left and snatched the ball out of the air showing terrific hands before returning the pick 27 yards to the Patriots 43.
Eight plays later the Patriots finally found the end zone and upped their lead to a healthy 20-3. They then got the ball to start the second half and soon tacked on another field goal to make it 23-3 early in the third quarter. Just a few minutes earlier the Jags hoped to climb within a score with a last-second drive, but instead McCourty's pick dashed all hopes of a competitive second half.
It turned out to be a laugher at 51-17, but perhaps things would have unfolded differently had Bortles not misfired and McCourty not been there to make him pay.
That's just the kind of play we like to feature in Take Twos-day.