Patriots 23, Jaguars 16

The SportsXchange

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Tom Brady overcame two interceptions to rally the New England Patriots to a 23-16 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday at EverBank Field.

The game was in doubt until the Patriots staved off the Jaguars on two possessions in New England territory in the last four minutes. Both ended on interceptions by safety Patrick Chung.

The Jags had a first-and-goal from the 6 and then gained 5 yards in two plays. However, tight end Zach Potter jumped offside on third-and-goal from the 1, linebacker Dont'a Hightower sacked quarterback Chad Henne and on a fourth-and-goal from the 10, Henne was intercepted by Chung after being hit by Chandler Jones.

Henne (29-of-49, 348 yards) moved the Jaguars to a first down at the New England with eight seconds left, but had to hurry a high throw into the end zone under pressure and Chung gathered it in to end the game.

Brady (24-of-41, 267 yards) is now 6-0 in his career against the Jaguars. He threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to Danny Woodhead on the Patriots last offensive play of the first half, then flipped a 2-yard scoring pass to Wes Welker on the first play of the fourth quarter to rally from a 13-3 second-quarter deficit and give the Patriots a 23-13 lead.

New England (11-4), which had already clinched the AFC East and playing without three starters, is now 6-0 against the Jags (2-13) in the regular season and 9-1 counting playoffs.

The Jaguars, going nowhere but a top-three selection in the 2013 draft, didn't lay down for the Patriots in their final home game of a nightmarish season. They scored on their first two possessions for a 10-0 lead, got the team's first interceptions ever against Brady (adding three sacks) and got the game back within one score in the fourth quarter on Josh Scobee's third field goal of the game.

The Jaguars stunned the Patriots from the beginning, going on a nine-play, 78-yard drive to start the game, capped by a 3-yard TD pass from Henne to Justin Blackmon. Henne completed 5-of-6 passes for 44 yards on the drive.

On the third play after the kickoff, Brady laid a soft pass down the sideline within the reach of running back Stevan Ridley. The ball glance off Ridley's hands, was tipped by linebacker Russell Allen and snared by safety Chris Prosinski near midfield.

The Jaguars got a first down to the Patriots' 29 but had to settle for Scobee's 41-yard field goal and a 10-0 lead.

Marching downfield in a no-huddle offense, Brady led the Patriots to a first-and-goal at the Jaguars' 9, highlighted by a 32-yard completion to tight end Michael Hoomanawanui. But the Jaguars' defense held and the best the Patriots got was a chip-shot field goal by Stephen Gostkowski.

An interception by Jaguars' cornerback Derek Cox later set up a 35-yard field goal by Scobee for a 13-3 lead but the Patriots had the last word in the first half when Gostkowski boomed a 49-yard field goal and Brady led a late drive that ended in the TD pass to Woodhead with 23 seconds remaining and a 13-13 halftime tie.

Notes: The Patriots were without three starters, tight end Rob Gronkowski, linebacker Brandon Spikes and rookie cornerback Alfonzo Dennard. They were all downgraded to out before the game. Gronkowski is still trying to recover from a broken forearm in November, Spikes has an injured knee from two weeks ago that limited him against San Franciso last week and Dennard hurt his knee in the 49ers game. ... The other inactives for the Patriots were running back James Develin, offensive lineman Markus Zusevics, defensive end Jake Bequette and defensive tackle Ron Brace. ... The Jagaurs once again were without their two leading rushers, Maurice-Jones Drew and Rashad Jennings. Also inactive were cornerback Antwaun Molden, linebacker Brandon Marshall, running back Jonathan Grimes, offensive tackle Eben Britton and defensive end Austen Lane. ... Brady's first-quarter interception was the first in his career against the Jaguars in four regular-season and two playoff games, covering 155 attempts. Brady entered the game with a .737 completion percentage and 118.41 passer rating against the Jaguars during the regular season. In two playoff meetings (2005 and 2008), Brady has completed .745 of his attempts and has a passer rating of 135.64. ... The Jaguars removed all but one of the tarps they have used for years to hold down the overall capacity of Everbank Field in anticipation of a strong turnout of New England fans from the North and North-Central areas of Florida and Jaguars fans wanting to see the final home game of a long season. The result was a season-high 70,251 tickets distributed.
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