Jacksonville’s improbable bid for an AFC playoff spot took a giant hit with a terrible showing in New England. A 35-7 loss clinched the AFC East crown for the Patriots and dropped the Jaguars to 7-8.
Jack Del Rio’s team finishes up at Cleveland next week, and an 8-8 season would be considered a big success in light of the rebuilding the team’s done.
At Gillette Stadium, the Jaguars were undone by the sort of star power they so need to develop or find themselves.
Tom Brady simply shredded the Jacksonville defense, completing 23 of 26 pass attempts for 267 yards and four touchdowns. Randy Moss accounted for three of those scores, while Wes Welker caught all 13 balls throw his direction for 138 yards.
David Garrard, meanwhile, threw two interceptions and no touchdowns while the Jaguars' best offensive player, Maurice Jones-Drew, was held to 63 rushing yards and didn’t make a play of more than 17 yards.
The Jaguars are not officially eliminated, but it would practically take an act of Congress for them to get into the playoffs now. In the wild-card hunt, they trail Denver and Baltimore as well as Houston and Pittsburgh, with the Jets’ status still to be determined in a late-afternoon game in Indianapolis.
Jacksonville has still never won at New England, and while it measures itself first and foremost against AFC South foe Indianapolis, the Jaguars' inability to beat the Patriots has to be in the formula for them too as they look to build a winner.