FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Myles Jack injured his ankle, was helped off the field and placed onto the back of a cart, which would transport him to the Jacksonville Jaguars locker room, his AFC championship done and over.
Jack had played brilliantly – seven combined tackles, blanket coverage and a fumble both forced and recovered.
Yet for much of the fourth quarter, he had been as ineffective as his teammates, unable to stop Tom Brady and the suddenly, yet predictably, resurgent New England Patriots offense, incapable of defending Jacksonville’s 10-point fourth-quarter lead.
The Jags could feel the avalanche enveloping them as it happened. Yet they had no way to escape.
Now Jack sat on a cart, his ankle throbbing as he watched Brady find Danny Amendola in the back of the end zone with 2:48 remaining to complete another comeback for the ages and end the Jags’ Super Bowl dream. As Jack was taken into the tunnel, Gillette Stadium rocked all around him.
“It was just like, ‘Damn,’ ” Jack said. “It was lonely. It was a lonely feeling.”
This is what it’s like to be on the other side of a Tom Brady comeback, slowly watching three-plus quarters of excellence get washed away like a sandcastle to the sea. That prize that was so close, can quickly move so far away.
Myles Jack is 22. He was 6 when Tom Brady first did this, leading the Patriots on a final-minute drive to beat the St. Louis Rams for the Super Bowl in February 2002. Jack has spent his entire football-playing life knowing this is who Tom Brady is, this is how he torments, this is the secret to his success.
You think you’ve got him. You don’t.
Now it was happening to him and the Jags. Jacksonville had a 20-10 lead with 10:49 remaining. The Jaguars had the Patriots in a third-and-18 from their own 25-yard line. They had forced five punts and one turnover. They needed just another stop or two to shock the NFL. Rob Gronkowski was
Jacksonville had been great. Jacksonville had been better. If not now, when?
Then Brady happened.
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady talks after a close victory against the Jacksonville Jaguars in the AFC Championship Round.
pe=”text” content=”Twenty-one yards to Amendola.