Down by 10 with 15 minutes to go and without his favorite target, Tom Brady still found a way to put the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl.
Brady threw for 138 yards and two touchdowns -- both to Danny Amendola -- in the fourth quarter to rally the Patriots to a 24-20 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars in the AFC Championship Game.
Brady, who finished 26 of 38 for 290 yards and two scores, was without tight end Rob Gronkowski in the second half. Gronkowski left the field late in the first half after a hit from Jaguars safety Barry Church, who was flagged for unnecessary roughness on the play. But Amendola, who caught 7 passes for 84 yards, and Brandin Cooks -- six catches for 100 yards -- picked up the slack.
Jacksonville quarterback Blake Bortles led the Jaguars to a 14-10 halftime lead. He was 13 for 15 for 155 yards in the half, including a four-yard scoring toss to a wide open Marcedes Lewis early in the second quarter. Leonard Fournette capped a 10-play, 77-yard drive with a four-yard run to make it 14-3 with just over seven minutes left in the half.
Helped by two Jaguar penalties, the Patriots closed to 14-10 with a six-play, 85-yard drive that ended with a one-yard touchdown run by James White.
Two field goals by Josh Lambo -- one from 54 yard -- gave the 20-10 lead very early in the fourth quarter. The Patriots cut the lead to three with an 8-play, 85-yard drive that culminated in a 9-yard touchdown pass from Brady to Amendola, who also snagged a 21-yard pass on third-and-18 two plays earlier to keep the scoring drive alive.
New England took the lead with just under three minutes left when Brady found Amedola in the back of the end zone from four yards out.
Jacksonville made it to the New England 48 on their final drive before Bortles was sacked for a seven yard loss at the two-minute warning. Two plays later, on fourth-and-5, Bortles missed Dede Westbrook and the Jaguars bid for major upset faded.
Brady, who brought the Patriots back from 25 down in last year's Super Bowl, played Sunday with black tape protecting 10 stitches he received on his throwing hand last week. He'll have two weeks to heal further before the Patriots play the winner of the NFC Championship game between the Philadelphia Eagles and Minnesota Vikings.
Super Bowl LII is February 4 at at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis on Feb. 4.
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