Tom Brady threw short touchdown passes to Danny Woodhead and Wes Welker while the defense stiffened after a shaky first quarter as the Patriots kept their hopes of a first-round bye alive with a 23-16 win over the Jaguars at EverBank Field in Jacksonville. Patrick Chung's second interception of the day in the end zone as time expired preserved the victory for the Patriots, as they improve to 11-4 on the season.
The Texans lost at home to the Vikings, meaning the Patriots can still wind up with a first-round bye if they beat the Dolphins and the Texans lose next week in Indianapolis. If that scenario holds, and Denver loses once, the Patriots can clinch the top seed with a win next week.
The Jaguars appeared ready to march in for the game-tying touchdown with three minutes left in the fourth quarter. The Jaguars had first-and-goal at the New England 1 but then the Jaguars committed a false start to move the ball back five yards. Dont'a Hightower sacked Chad Henne back at the 10. Then, on fourth-and-goal from the Patriots 10, Chandler Jones hit Chad Henne, forcing an interception by Chung at the goal line, New England's NFL-leading seventh forced turnover in the red zone.
Welker had 10 catches, his 18th game with double figure receptions, passing hall of fame receiver Jerry Rice.
The Patriots started off miserably on both sides of the ball. After winning the coin toss and deferring to the second half as they normally do, the Patriots defense allowed the 31st ranked offense to march right down the field, going 78 yards in nine plays. The drive was capped by a 3-yard TD pass over the middle from Chad Henne to Justin Blackmon.
With starting linebacker Brandon Spikes and cornerback Alfonzo Dennard out with injuries, the Patriots were force to juggle the defensive starting lineup. Patrick Chung started at safety, Rob Ninkovich started at middle linebacker and Devin McCourty moved from safety to cornerback. With confusion abound, Jacksonville managed to rack up a franchise-record 202 yards in the first quarter.
Brady was intercepted twice in the first half but the Patriots escaped serious harm, as the Jaguars converted the two rare Brady miscues into a pair of field goals. Coming into the game, Brady was 5-0 lifetime against Jacksonville, including a pair of playoff wins while throwing 11 touchdowns and no interceptions. Brady also felt pressure early and often in the first half, taking a pair of big hits from star defensive end Jason Babin, one of which left Brady shaking his right hand.
But Brady and the offense finally found their rhythm. Brady used an effective effort from Stevan Ridley on the ground and Danny Woodhead as a receiver out of the backfield to get the offense back on track. Brady's two biggest plays of the first half were to Woodhead. A 24-yard screen pass set up a 49-yard Stephen Gostkowski field goal. Brady found Woodhead for 14 yards in the left flat, and Woodhead made a juggling catch and ran in for a game-tying touchdown with 18 seconds left in the half.
The Patriots opened the second half with their third straight scoring drive, capped by a 38-yard Gostkowski field goal that gave the Patriots their first lead of the day, 16-13.
Brady and the offense went three-and-out on their next series and Brady was hit hard on the next possession, winding up on the ground on three of the four snaps he took. The Patriots defense did their job, allowing just 83 yards total over the second and third quarters.
Brady engineered a 59-yard drive on nine plays, finished off when he found Wes Welker on a swing pass in the right flat. Welker fought off a tackle and extended the ball over the goal line for a touchdown with 14:20 left in the fourth quarter, putting the Patriots up, 23-13. Josh Scobee hit a 42-yard field goal to end a string of 20 straight New England points, making it 23-16 with 8:42 left in the fourth.
Picard and Price give their predictions for SB50 later today.
Danny and Price react to the HOF class that was announced last night. They get into the names and legacies, especially a questionable one in Tony Dungy.
Danny and Price chat about Cam Newton and the Panthers' offense this season leading into the Super Bowl. Both think he was deserving of the MVP award, but they differ a little on Cam's 2015-16 season compared to the history of other QB's in the league.
Danny had just hit the air as it looked like the Celtics would drop a close game to the Cleveland Cavaliers, ride along as Danny goes on the emotional roller coaster of the final 7.5 seconds of the game
Danny Leroux of Real GM and Sporting News joins WEEI’s Sam Packard and CLNS Radio’s Jared Weiss to dive into the Celtics trade potential and the reemergence of the three guard lineup. They answered your Twitter questions and Danny proposed his idea for drastic reforms to the NBA Playoffs system. Subscribe to the WEEI Celtics Podcast on iTunes and Stitcher today!
Sam Packard and Jared Weiss soak in the craziness in Cleveland after the Cavs fired David Blatt and Tyronn Lue is calling out LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love. They also discuss Blake Griffin punching out his homies, Kelly Manbun Olynyk becoming a vital part of the Celtics' recent success, and more potential Celtics trades. Subscribe to the WEEI Celtics podcast on iTunes and Stitcher today!
With Rob Bradford back from a pre-Spring Training trip to Ft. Myers, the guys discuss Rob's chat with Clay Buchholz and his calling 2016 a "make or break year"
Ken Laird & Ryan Hannable debate who should be on WEEI's Top Ten Red Sox prospects' list, with only Yoan Moncada grabbing consensus as the number one talent in the pipeline
Mut and Tomase are holding things down in the studio tonight, Bradford is on assignment in Fort Myers. They talk about Rick Porcello, who is already down in Fort Myers and the strength of the pitching staff.
DJ, Pete and Ken continue their discussion about the direction of the Bruins and how some of their moves are ambiguous and tough to figure out their thinking. Are they going for it all or rebuilding. Again, DJ appropriately calls it a "soft rebuild." They talk about acquiring Beleskey as well as Brett Connolly's recent play. Also, the boys talked with Arpon Basu about the spiraling Montreal Canadiens.
Arpon Basu calls the boys to talk some Canadiens hockey and why they have been on the downward spiral for quite some time now. He talks about the malaise around the team in the locker room and the fan-base, his thoughts on the NHL Playoffs and the state of the Bruins vs where Montreal finds themselves. Arpon goes as far as to say that today may be a "make it or break it" game for them against Carolina.
Ryan Spooner sat down with DJ to discuss his over-achieving and the direction of the Bruins as the trade deadline approaches.
After a few big wins over Cleveland and Sacramento, the Celtics sit in the 3 seed in the East, but are they as good as their place in the standings say they are?
The Cleveland Browns could lose a draft pick after reports came out that they lied about Johnny Manziel having a concussion and that he showed up drunk to practice.
Cam Newton spoke to the media today and didn't back down or apologize for his immature interview after the Super Bowl. Glenn, Lou and Christian talk about Newton's attitude and listen to his comments.
Dale, Michael and Jerry discuss Cam Newton doubling down on his post-game tantrum, and the latest in the Johnny Manziel situation, which is less about football and more about his life at this point.
We discuss the return of Milan Lucic to Boston as an LA King, and whether or not the Bruins got enough or made the right move to trade him away.
We look at four of the biggest sore losers in recent sports memory.
Mikey and Bradfo talk about the strange things that went on during the Super Bowl
Mikey and Rob Bradford talk about the big game
Jim Hackett and Pete Davidson weigh in on the Super Bowl, breaking down the game in a spirited debate on how it will fall. Newton, Manning, Stewart, Olsen, Norman, Kuechly Kubiak and the Denver Defense fuel the conversation. A quick look back to the Patriots vs. Broncos AFC Title game sews the seeds for what we will see on Sunday and in the off-season ahead. The League, Concussions, The Super Bowl and the Fantasy Football Off-season positional groups and scouting are covered in a comprehensive edition of “The Fantasy Guys Podcast.”
DJ Bean and Ken Laird discuss Thursday's 3-2 comeback, shootout win in Buffalo as the Bruins take hold of 3rd place in the Atlantic Division
After another solid week of college hoops, Anthony and Austin are hoping on the Virginia band wagon, and take a deeper look into Texas A&M's win over Iowa State and debate whether UNC's lack of shooting will prevent them from being a title contender.
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NFL commissioner Roger Goodell held a press conference during Super Bowl week where he answered mostly staged questions. Tom E. Curran actually got to ask a real question about the new PSI testing data, but Goodell didn't bother to answer him.More from this show