Following the Patriots 24-20 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, the latest conspiracy theory began. What was it this time? The officiating! The Jags were called for six penalties for 98 yards. The Patriots were called for one penalty for ten yards. After the game, the Jaguars players complained about the calls and the impact the calls made on the game.
Typical. Another team that came into Gillette Stadium and failed. Another team that did not take accountability. Bill Belichick and his staff give this team a clear edge both with the game plan and with the mental part of the game. The Patriots are always two steps ahead of their opponents…and their opponents coaching continues to be absolutely dreadful. Sunday was no different.
Do you want to know the real reason why you lost the game, Jacksonville? Because like most teams, your game plan and strategy against the Patriots was terrible. Ask the Atlanta Falcons. Ask the Houston Texans. Those teams had already learned this the hard way. To beat the Patriots, you need to keep your foot on the gas pedal for 60 minutes. There are no comfortable leads. There is no “our defense will win the game”.
Despite giving up a touchdown with 55 seconds to go in the first half, the Jags held a 14-10 lead and they had the ball. Rather than trying to score, the Jags kneeled twice and gladly went into halftime with a four point lead.
Game. Set. Match. New England Patriots – AFC Champions!
As soon as Doug Marrone decided the kneel, he sent a message to his team. That message was loud and clear.
I do not have confidence in my quarterback.
Rather than going into halftime with momentum and feeling good, the Jags players ran to the locker room thinking that their coach didn’t think his quarterback could make plays to win the game. Is there a worse feeling as a player? The Jags continued their conservative play into the second half and their defense had no answers for the Patriots offense in the 4th quarter. It was already too late. The Jags had lost their confidence. They had to go up against a team that has done this over and over…and a coach and quarterback who know they will in these situations.
It’s simple. It’s a winning attitude vs. a long one and it was on full display in Foxboro last night.
The Jaguars followed the Atlanta Falcons Super Bowl playbook with a lead. They put the brakes on and hoped that the Patriots would give in. The playbook they should have followed was the Kansas City Chiefs from Opening Night. The Chiefs never slowed down. They kept playing as if they were playing from behind. That is the formula to beat the New England Patriots at home.
When a team plays the Patriots at Gillette, the odds are very slim…and you better believe that the Patriots are going to get calls in their favor. That’s what happens with all time great franchises. It happened, with the Lakers, Celtics, Bulls, Cowboys, 49ers, Canadiens, and Yankees over time. Like it or not, that’s how it works. But, if you think for one second that the reason the Jaguars lost that game is because of penalties, you’re a fool.
The Jaguars lost because their coach had a losing mentality and sent a message to his team that he had no faith in his quarterback. Bill Belichick has sent the exact opposite message to the New England Patriots for the past 16 years.
Keep crying, Jags. In the meantime, congratulations on being added to the list of teams who prepared to lose at Gillette Stadium. Congratulations on your halftime lead. You had your chance and you blew it. Take accountability for your losing approach.
Will the next team learn? Don’t count on it. On to Super Bowl Championship #6…