Sunday night's AFC Championship Game was a damn good one, with everything that we expected from it and more.
Heading into Sunday, football fans would have wanted to see an interesting game and the Jaguars and Patriots provided, with Jacksonville holding a 14-3 lead midway through the second quarter as Blake Bortles and co started off hot in Foxboro.
Leonard Fournette and Marcedes Lewis reached the endzone to give the start that everyone was hoping for, with the Jaguars taking their New England counterparts apart with the run game looking solid and Bortles being able to drive down the field off the play-action pass that worked so well against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Wildcard round.
But New England did what they always do and came back strong, and underdogs playing at Gilette Stadium in front of a hostile crowd do what they did...Jacksonville honestly bottled it. They didn't get the job done.
The Jags had a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter and it wasn't enough. The pass rush wasn't getting to Tom Brady. Their supposedly elite defensive backs corp couldn't contain a Patriots offense that was missing Rob Gronkowski. And their offensive became predictable, boring, and scared.
To put it simply, they blew it.
A place in the Super Bowl was there for the taking and they froze in the headlights. It's such a shame.
And Blake Bortles knew they blew it. At the closing moments of the game, as the Patriots were kneeling out the clock to make it to their second Super Bowl in a row, the television cameras panned to the sidelines and caught a rather emotional Bortles letting his feelings known.
Like Tony Romo says in the clip, Bortles did actually play rather well. The former UCF quarterback went 23-for-36 for 293 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions. He did better than anyone expected on the big stage, but he still wilted in the heat of the 4th quarter - just like the rest of his teammates did.
Hopefully this won't be the Jags' only real chance at reaching the Super Bowl, or those tears will be remembered for a long time.
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