Rainbows and revenge: What Jacksonville is saying after the Jaguars’ win over the Patriots
"Bye-bye, Belichick. Bye-bye, Brady. At least, bye-bye for now."
The Jaguars entered the Week 2 matchup with the Patriots attempting to gain a measure of revenge for last year’s AFC Championship game loss.
The memory of disappointment from the January loss – in which Brady and the Patriots rallied in the fourth quarter – lingered in the minds of Jacksonville fans throughout the offseason. There was even a pregame flyover banner referencing it.
All of this made Sunday’s 31-20 win over the Patriots that much more rewarding for Jaguar fans. This was reflected in media coverage.
“I couldn’t believe what I was watching,” said Andrew Gibson on 92.5 Jax Sports Radio. “The Jacksonville Jaguars dominated the Patriots for the better part of that game today. It was really fun to watch.”
“This was personal. It was personal to the Jaguar fans, it certainly looked personal to the players,” said Ryan Green on 92.5. “They all, we all, feel like one got away on January 21st.”
One player who was singled out for special praise was quarterback Blake Bortles.
Blake Bortles now has more career wins Vs. the @Patriots (1) than Tom Brady (0). pic.twitter.com/qP6FAq8hjM
— Blake Bortles Facts (@BortlesFacts) September 17, 2018
“Maybe now his days as a favorite quarterback punching bag will finally cease and desist, or at least go on hiatus for a while,” wrote Jacksonville.com’s Gene Frenette.
“How’s this for a narrative change? In arguably the biggest regular-season game in Jaguars history, it was Bortles who performed like vintage Tom Brady,” said Frenette. “Meanwhile, the greatest quarterback of all-time was the one looking rather ordinary, losing to the Jaguars in rather convincing fashion for the first time in nine career games.”
Echoes of the AFC Championship made their way into postgame analysis. Phillip Heilman’s recap of the game for Jacksonville.com offered a major takeaway from the Jaguars’ perspective: the offense stayed aggressive.
This, as Heilman explained, could have lasting implications:
Analysts speculated. Reporters theorized. In a newly written book, Philadelphia Eagles coach Doug Pederson bluntly questioned the Jaguars’ decision to kneel on a 14-10 lead with 55 seconds remaining in the second quarter despite having two timeouts.
On Sunday, the Jaguars flipped the script. In doing so, they stated their case as maybe the most ferocious, dangerous and well-balanced team in a conference that might finally be ready for a changing of the guard.
And having conquered the Patriots in a regular season clash, Jacksonville now looks to the future.
“The Jaguars exorcized the AFC Championship Game demons by winning 31-20 in the hottest Jaguars game ever.” wrote Hays Carlyon for 92.5’s website. “Bye-bye, Belichick. Bye-bye, Brady. At least, bye-bye for now.”
And the flyover banner wasn’t the only aerial observation that Jacksonville media made. A rainbow appeared during the game, reportedly at the critical juncture when officials reviewed a first down spot that the Patriots had initially been given on a James White reception. As Carlyon noted:
Amazingly, [Jaguars coach Doug Marrone] won the challenge. Perhaps it was the Football Gods paying the Jaguars back for last season’s “Myles Jack Wasn’t Down” agony.
During the break, a glorious rainbow broke out over TIAA Bank Field. It was easily dismissed at the time. The crowd of 68,527 were much more focused on whether the Patriots would break Jacksonville’s heart again.
But immediately following the rainbow’s appearance, the Patriots punted and the Jaguars promptly scored a 61-yard touchdown to make it 31-13.
U can have rainbows and butterflies… I’ll take rainbows and @TelvinSmith_22 for a Jags win!!! @Jeff_Moore11 @BrentASJax pic.twitter.com/gJwvMrJosE
— Messina Straw (@sinastraw09) September 17, 2018
“I’ll always remember the rainbow,” said Carlyon, “as will anyone in the stands wearing teal and black on Sunday at TIAA Bank Field.”