Pats survive sleepy effort, tip Jags 23-16
Patriots QB Tom Brady walks off the field after his team's 23-16 win over Jacksonville. (USA TODAY Sports)
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Tom Brady overcame two interceptions and three sacks and safety Patrick Chung picked off Chad Henne twice in the final minutes to preserve New England's 23-16 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday at EverBank Field.
The game was in doubt until the Patriots held off the Jaguars on two possessions in New England territory in the last four minutes. Both ended on Chung interceptions, aided by a heavy pass rush on Henne.
The Jags had a first-and-goal from the 6 and then gained five yards in two plays with 4:06 left. 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 at the 1 after being hit by Chandler Jones.
Jacksonville (2-13) forced a punt and Henne hurried the Jaguars from their own 38 to the New England 12 in 51 seconds. With time for two more plays with eight seconds left Henne (29-of-49, 348 yards) overthrew Toney Clemson and was then picked off again by Chung when he had to hurry a high throw into the end zone under pressure from Rob Ninkovich.
"They were dropping eight people so there were going to be tight windows," said Henne of his two late interceptions. "They did a good job. They covered us up."
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 (12-4) a 23-13 lead.
New England, which had already clinched the AFC East and playing without three starters, is now 6-0 lifetime against the Jags in the regular season and 9-1 counting playoffs.
"This is two weeks in a row ... you get very concerned when you don't play well and it was very evident by the way we performed," said Brady. "We couldn't make any plays and they made plenty of them. We were lucky to be in it at halftime."
The Jaguars, going nowhere but a top-three selection in the 2013 draft, got the team's first interceptions ever against Brady, weathered New England's comeback and got within one score in the fourth quarter on Josh Scobee's third field goal of the game.
"I am very disappointed for our team ... I am very, very, very, very proud of this football team," said Jaguars coach Mike Mularkey. "Fifteenth game, they (the Patriots) were playing for a (playoff) bye, we were playing for respect. Our guys, every one of them, showed up today to win that game."