The New England Patriots are going to the Super Bowl. Again.
The Patriots’ 24-20 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars in the AFC Championship Game wasn’t pretty and required a late fourth quarter comeback, but Tom Brady, Bill Belichick, and Co. are making their eighth Super Bowl appearance in 17 seasons, and that’s all that matters.
Initially, it was the Jaguars who looked like the team that had been here so many times before, jumping out to a 14-3 lead as the first quarter drew to a close. In the second quarter, with their offense struggling to gain momentum, the Patriots lost tight end Rob Gronkowski for the rest of the game to a concussion after colliding helmet-to-helmet with Jaguars safety Barry Church.
All the while, the Jaguars’ 25-year-old quarterback Blake Bortles was matching – if not outplaying – 40-year-old Brady, and rookie running back Leonard Fournette was carving through the Patriots’ defense.
The Patriots went into the half down 14-10, but by the time the second half began, it was clear the Jaguars were in serious trouble.
Matt Patricia’s defense sprung to life and paralyzed the Jaguars’ running game, leaving Bortles with no choice but to keep throwing the ball. He never found the endzone again, instead settling for two field goals.
Brady then connected with Danny Amendola late in the fourth quarter, putting the Patriots on top for good.
When they take the field for Super Bowl LII, the Patriots will be looking to become the first team to win back-to-back Super Bowls since, well, the Patriots, in 2004 and 2005. They’ll face off the Philadelphia Eagles for the championship title on February 4.
For any other team in any other city, making it to the Super Bowl would be a huge deal. For the Patriots and Boston, however, it’s business as usual.