Jags still lament loss to Pa­tri­ots

Orlando Sentinel - - PAGE 2 - By Gene Frenette

It took 113 days to pass by be­fore Ma­lik Jack­son fi­nally forced him­self on Mon­day to look at the tape from hell: the Jaguars’ 24-20 AFC Cham­pi­onship loss to the New Eng­land Pa­tri­ots.

“I couldn’t bring my­self to watch it be­fore then,” said Jack­son. “You look back and say, ‘We should have beat those guys. We were bet­ter.’ It took me a long time to get over it.”

Ev­ery mem­ber of the Jaguars’ or­ga­ni­za­tion would rather erase that gut punch from their mem­ory bank. They were on the brink of the fran­chise’s first Su­per Bowl ap­pear­ance, but failed to shut the door on Tom Brady and the Pa­tri­ots.

On the rip-your-heart-out scale, that AFC ti­tle set­back must have felt like the Cleveland Browns’ ver­sion of the Earnest Byner fum­ble and John El­way’s “Drive” rolled into one.

For Calais Camp­bell, it took him back to his rookie year (2008) with the Ari­zona Car­di­nals when they couldn’t stop the Pitts­burgh Steel­ers from march­ing 78 yards in the fi­nal two min­utes, los­ing Su­per Bowl XLIII 27-23 on San­to­nio Holmes’ re­mark­able 6-yard TD catch with 35 sec­onds re­main­ing.

“That [Pa­tri­ots’ loss], I’m al­ways go­ing to be sick ev­ery time I see it,” Camp­bell said at his Tues­day night char­ity bowl­ing event to ben­e­fit the Charles Richard Camp­bell Foun­da­tion. “It’s like the 2008 Su­per Bowl, ev­ery time I see it, I get sick to my stom­ach.”

Ul­ti­mately, New Eng­land over­came a 20-10 deficit in the last 12 min­utes through bril­liant ex­e­cu­tion, some lessthan-in­stinc­tive re­ac­tions by the Jaguars’ de­fense, and — as no black-and-teal fan can forget — an of­fi­cial pre­ma­turely rul­ing line­backer Myles Jack down af­ter he ripped the ball off the hip of Pa­tri­ots’ run­ning back Dion Lewis on the cra­zi­est fum­ble re­cov­ery the NFL post­sea­son.

But in or­der to move for­ward and use that game as fuel for 2018, it’s best for the Jaguars to ac­knowl­edge their short­com­ings of the most ex­as­per­at­ing de­feat in fran­chise his­tory.

Camp­bell has seen the tape three times and in­tends to review it one more time be­fore the Jaguars start OTAs on Tues­day.

The Jaguars’ de­fense needed one more stop on the last two Pa­tri­ots scor­ing drives to seal the out­come, so there’s al­ways go­ing to be a night­mar­ish play or two they’d like to have back. For Camp­bell, the 10-year vet­eran pass-rusher, it’s what came af­ter New Eng­land took the lead that both­ers him most: a 16-yard run on third-and-9 by Lewis to put the Pa­tri­ots in vic­tory for­ma­tion.

“I should have known bet­ter that it was go­ing to be a run,” Camp­bell said. “A lot of us were think­ing pass in that scenario, but with Tom Brady, you have to be ready for ev­ery­thing. In my mind, I should have taken a bet­ter an­gle.”

Truth­fully, there wasn’t much Camp­bell could do since he was lined up on the op­po­site side away from the play. Lewis ran out­side of the left tackle (Jack­son lined up at the other DE spot), find­ing a big open­ing when full­back James De­velin sealed off safety Tashaun Gip­son.

“I hated not giv­ing Blake [Bor­tles] an­other op­por­tu­nity to get the ball and have a chance to win,” said Camp­bell.

For Jack, he has sev­eral nightmare plays he can’t get out of his head, start­ing with the whis­tle blow­ing the play dead on his fum­ble re­cov­ery.

“I knew I wasn’t down,” said Jack. “So I’m scream­ing at the ref, like, ‘Why the — are you blow­ing the play down when I know it’s not down?’ When I know it’s com­ing, I fast for­ward through [the tape]. I don’t even watch it. It’s so emo­tional for me.” of

SAM GREEN­WOOD/GETTY IMAGES

Jaguars de­fen­sive end Calais Camp­bell says he’s still sick to his stom­ach over the team’s play­off loss to the Pa­tri­ots.

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