Monday, January 22, 2018

Trey Flowers, Pats found way despite losing time-of-possession battle

January 22, 2018

By Mike Reiss

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Without the benefit of film review, an initial look at some New England Patriots “ups” and “downs” from Sunday’s AFC Championship Game:


Danny Amendola -- He finished with seven catches for 84 yards with two touchdowns and added a critical 20-yard punt return to set up his own game-winning score. When the Patriots faced third-and-18 in the fourth quarter, it was Amendola who caught a 21-yard pass over the middle. Last week, tight end Rob Gronkowski nicknamed him Danny “Playoff” Amendola. “You just wait for it. Come the end the season he’s going to make some unbelievable catch on a third-down conversion. It’s going to be a touchdown, it’s going to be something big, and there he was,” left tackle Nate Solder said. “I was not surprised and the guys that know him weren’t surprised. That’s just the way that he is.”

Tom Brady -- Playing with 12 stitches on the inside part of his right hand near the thumb, he finished 26-of-38 for 290 yards, with two touchdowns and no interceptions, as this marked the 54th time in his career that he led the Patriots to victory from a fourth-quarter tie or deficit. “He's the GOAT, man. He did GOAT-like stuff,” safety Duron Harmon said. "It was an injury. Some people didn't think he was going to play but all he did was go out here and show people why he's the best quarterback of all time.”

Trey Flowers -- The third-year defensive end out of Arkansas finished tied for the team lead with nine tackles, adding a sack, pass defended and forced fumble, with some of his best coming in the fourth quarter when he created disruption on several plays. “We put ourselves in a position to come back and just kept fighting. We knew they were going to try to run the ball, but we kept fighting and it was a fourth-quarter football game,” Flowers said.


Dion Lewis -- In a credit to the Jaguars' defense, Lewis was bottled up as a rusher (nine carries, 34 yards) and couldn’t find much space after catching the ball (seven catches, 32 yards). He lost a fumble in the second half, which was his first of the season.

James Harrison -- The outside linebacker wasn’t as consistent setting the edge in the running game (e.g. T.J. Yeldon 12-yard run on second-and-13 with 8:35 remaining in the second quarter) and might have been responsible for some part of the coverage on running back Corey Grant's 24-yard catch-and-run in the second quarter. At one point early in the game, he found himself in a tough matchup in pass coverage.

Third down -- The Patriots were 3-of-12 on offense, while the Jaguars were 4-of-6 in the first half and finished 6-of-15 in the game. One adjustment that seemed to help in the second half was bringing more corner blitzes to speed up Blake Bortles' decision-making process. The Jaguars won the time of possession battle 35:08 to 24:52, as their relative success on third down helped them play keep-away.

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