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Remember When the Patriots Killed the Jaguars Dynasty Before it Began? Leonard Fournette Does. And He is Still Salty About It.

Getty Images.

If you ranked the best non-Super Bowl wins of the Patriots Dynasty era, that list, like Slider's johnson, would be long and distinguished. The 2018 AFC championship win at Kansas City certainly stands out. The two times in the early 2000s when they won on the road at Pittsburgh. The win at San Diego in 2006 when Troy Brown stripped Marlon McCree after he'd intercepted Tom Brady to keep the game-winning drive alive. Of course the Snow Bowl, known to the rest of the world as the Tuck Rule Game, in that same way Antebellum Southerners would call the Civil War the War of Northern Aggression. 

But not to be lost in the hallowed company of these great victories should be the 2017 AFC championship game against Jacksonville at Gillette. 

That Jaguars team was stacked. Especially on defense, as they surrendered the second fewest points and yards, were second in interceptions and total takeaways, and had the lowest passer rating against, with a 1950s-like 68.5. While offensively, they were fifth in points scored, led by Leonard Fournette's 1,000 yards rushing and 302 receiving yards, one of six Jaguars to top 300 in their balanced attack. 

What everyone in New England will remember is the Pats being down 20-10 in the 4th quarter, until two touchdown catches from Danny Playoffs Amendola saved the day. And the season:

Jim Rogash. Getty Images.

That, and the fact that in the practices preparing for that game, Tom Brady nearly had the thumb on his throwing hand severed by Rex Burkhead's helmet on a simple handoff. And it wasn't until after the game we got a look at the severity of the injury:

Here's a graphic look. NSFL.

Anyway, Fournette talke to NFL Network about this game. And he remembers it more than a little differently:

With all due respect to Fournette, who is a hell of an all purpose back and can take a spot on my roster any time: REALLY? This is an issue? Those Jaguars have been carrying this around all these years? This is why they went from 10 wins that season to five the next? And just 15 combined over the next four seasons? Because in the 4th quarter, Myles Jack stripped a ball from Dion Lewis after a 20 yard catch and run and was ruled down by contact? That's what's haunting him and sent his old franchise into a death spiral? 

Color me stunned. I didn't even remember the play until he mentioned it. I had to look it up. In fairness to me, the Patriots have harvested a lot of souls in this era, so it's hard to keep track of them. But to be even fairer to me, why would anyone think that was the key to the whole game? 

Jack was ruled down at the Jacksonville 33, with 13:37 to go and a 10 point lead. A few 1st downs. A eat up some clock. Put some points on the board. And the Patriots path to victory would be a steep climb at least and damned near impossible at most. Instead, they went 3 & out and didn't even burn a minute and a half before giving it back to Brady and Amendola. On their subsequent final three touches, facing that elite defense, the Pats went touchdown-punt-touchdown. And victory. Followed by Lamar Hunt Trophy presentation, trip to Minneapolis for Super Bowl LII. Where, if it's not impertinent to mention, some actual bad calls were made that actually cost them a win they should've had:

But hey, water under the bridge.

I could empathize with Fournette if he had a legitimate beef with that call that's still taking up all the real estate in his head. But I suppose using that one call as an excuse is easier than facing the fact your defense blew a double digit lead to an undrafted receiver and a 40 year old who was a couple of inches from having to play quarterback with a hook for a hand. Whatever gets you through life, I guess. 

And by all means, no hard feelings. I'm happy Fournette brought this up. There's a lot of good memories here that shouldn't be lost among the decades of awesomeness. So thanks for this.