Blake Bortles threw four touchdown passes, three in the first half, and the Jacksonville Jaguars beat Tom Brady and the New England Patriots 31-20 Sunday in a rematch of last season’s AFC championship game.
Bortles connected with Donte Moncrief, Keelan Cole and Austin Seferian-Jenkins for scores in the first 30 minutes, the second time he’s done that in his NFL career. Bortles completed 29 of 45 passes for 377 yards, with the four TDs and an interception. It was the best game of his five-year career.
It was the Jaguars’ first win over Brady. They entered the game 0-8 against the Patriots quarterback.
The Patriots (1-1) trailed 24-3 in the third quarter before finally showing signs of life. But Dante Fowler, returning from a one-game suspension, stripped Brady for one game-changing play, and second-year receiver Dede Westbrook added another to seal the victory.
Westbrook took a short pass on a crossing route, made one defender miss and then outran another down the sideline for a 61-yard score. He got a key block from Cole.
Cole finished with seven receptions for 117 yards and a score. He made a spectacular, one-handed catch on Jacksonville’s second drive and beat Eric Rowe for a 24-yard touchdown three plays later.
Jacksonville led 14-0 at that point, but unlike the game eight months ago — which had much more at stake, of course — coach Doug Marrone didn’t sit on the lead.
The Jaguars (2-0) kept throwing even with an 11-point lead in the final minutes of the game. They now have their best start since 2006.
Marrone was widely criticized for getting conservative in the title game. The Patriots trailed 20-10 in the fourth quarter of that one before rallying to win 24-20 and get to the Super Bowl.
Brady never looked comfortable in the rematch. He completed 24 of 35 passes for 235 yards and two touchdowns, both to Chris Hogan. He was sacked twice.
The Jaguars improved to 4-0 in two seasons without running back Leonard Fournette. Fournette sat out while recovering from a sore right hamstring he tweaked in the season opener at the New York Giants.
T.J. Yeldon started in his place and ran 10 times for 58 yards.
Patriots rookie Sony Michel, a first-round draft pick from Georgia, carried 10 times for 33 yards in his NFL debut. Michel is expected to give New England some much-needed help in its running attack.
Patriots: Defensive end Trey Flowers and safety Patrick Chung, two of the team’s top defenders, were ruled out with concussions. Flowers was injured in the first quarter when he collided with teammate Keionta Davis. Chung was injured in the second half.
Jaguars: Left tackle Cam Robinson left in the first quarter after injuring his left knee and was later ruled out. Receiver Donte Moncrief, who caught a touchdown pass on Jacksonville’s opening drive, left with a knee injury in the third quarter. Defensive end Calais Campbell, questionable to play because of a sore right knee, left after getting poked in his right eye. He later returned.
Patriots: Play at Detroit, where former New England defensive coordinator Matt Patricia is now the head coach.
Jaguars: Host AFC South rival Tennessee in the second of three straight home games.
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