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Jaguars get neither win nor respect

Pats set record for straight wins in postseason with 28-3 victory

Jaguars get neither win nor respect

Isn't that what Southern bumpkins say when A) Their hunting dog gets killed by a bear, B) the price of cigarettes goes up, C) the Jacksonville Jaguars get slapped around by a bunch of city slickers.

The Jags came north looking for respect and a win. They left with neither as Tom Brady, Willie McGinest and the New England Patriots outclassed them 28-3, setting an NFL record with 10 straight postseason victories and sending a warning to the rest of the league.

Brady, who has quarterbacked all 10 of those postseason wins, tied a playoff career high with three touchdown passes, and McGinest set an NFL postseason mark with 4 1/2 sacks.

He and the rest of the defense, even without NFL co-Comeback Player of the Year Tedy Bruschi, who was in uniform but didn't play because of a calf injury, kept Jacksonville from mounting much of a challenge. The Jaguars looked like a team making its first postseason appearance since 1999, and one that faced an easy schedule in compiling such a strong record.

New England's NFL milestone surpassed the nine straight playoff victories by Green Bay in the 1960s and set up a road trip next weekend to either Indianapolis or Denver, depending on the outcome of yesterday's Pittsburgh-Cincinnati matchup.

That the Pats won is a good thing in the big playoff picture. Did we really want to see the Patriots knocked out before the fun really gets started?

It was a darned shame, however, if you've ever wanted to see Ted Kennedy spit up his Scotch and water.

Not that the senator from Massachusetts was drinking Saturday night, or was even spotted in a beer line at Gillette Stadium. But Kennedy epitomizes the Eastern snobbishness that occasionally needs its nose tweaked.

"Everyone north of yahoo Jacksonville expects New England to win this game," wrote a Boston Globe columnist.

Even the Yahoos weren't giving the Jaguars much of a chance.

Everything conspired against Jacksonville. Las Vegas made it a 45-1 long shot to win the Super Bowl. We knew the weather, history and the cultural elites would be against the Jags. We didn't expect the refs to join in.

Jacksonville was hanging in there until late in the third quarter. Then New England tight end Ben Watson caught a pass, broke two tackles and scurried up the sideline for a 63-yard touchdown to make it 21-3.

The thing Yahoos will remember is cornerback Rashean Mathis screaming at an official after having his jersey almost ripped off. I'm not saying the refs intentionally ignored the holding call, much less that it would have altered the game.

But if you injected Paul Tagliabue with sodium pentathol, he'd have to admit he's relieved the Jags collapsed in the second half. It's not so much that the NFL wanted Jacksonville to lose as it wanted New England to win.

The Patriots going for and unprecedented third straight Super Bowls is a great story.

The Patriots going against Indianapolis or Denver is a great game.

The Jaguars advancing would have been just another excuse for people to break out the Waffle House jokes left after last year's Super Bowl.

The Patriots tried hard not to seem as if they considered Jacksonville a Yahoo team. Their true feelings came out in the final regular-season game against Miami.

A win would have meant they'd have played Pittsburgh.

We don't want to say they tanked the game, but Bill Belichick let Doug Flutie attempt a drop kick for an extra point. It was the first successful one in 64 years, and New England swore it was serious about winning. It even did it with a straight face.

The only downer in losing to Miami was it broke Tom Brady's streak of 19 straight wins when the temperature was below 40 degrees. There were other numbers to consider, like 9-0 in the playoffs. And the fact almost every Patriot has about three Super Bowl rings.

But if you're an underdog fan, the real reason to pull for the Jags was class warfare. Boston is home to Harvard and MIT. Jacksonville is home to Whitey's Fish Camp.

That's the attitude Jacksonville faced from the bookies to the Kennedys. How great would it have been to see the bumpkins rise up and snow on New England's uppity parade? The best they could do was give it a slight chill.

At least the Patriots weren't totally cruel. Flutie didn't come in to try a drop-kick.