Dante Fowler is realistic about the Jacksonville Jaguars’ 31-20 victory against the New England Patriots Sunday.
Although it was a rematch of the teams in the 2017 AFC Championship Game, the winner did not advance to the Super Bowl.
‘It was definitely a little bit of a revenge there’
As gratifying as it was for Fowler and his Jaguars teammates to come out on top, they know that even at 2-0, they still have a long road ahead to try to achieve what they fell just short of doing last January — and that, in fact, is getting to the NFL title game.
“It was definitely a little bit of revenge there, but at the end of the day we knew that it was the second game of the season and it was our first AFC game,” the defensive end told SiriusXM NFL Radio’s Zig Fracassi after the game. “So we knew we had to come out here and we wanted to start strong and we did and we got the win. It was definitely a confidence boost when you can beat a great team like this.
‘We just wanted to go out there and make a statement’
“We knew, if we win this game, we weren’t going to go to the Super Bowl. We just wanted to go out there and make a statement and let them know that we’re here.”
One of the biggest ways the Jaguars made that statement was not falling apart when the Patriots began rallying from a 21-point deficit. Fowler came up with a huge player by stripping quarterback Tom Brady of the ball, and the Jaguars cashed in on the turnover with a 61-yard Blake Bortles touchdown bomb to Dede Westbrook midway through the fourth quarter.
‘We knew that it was going to be a hard game’
“That’s just momentum, staying focused, knowing that we had it,” Fowler said. “It’s the full 60 minutes that you have to play. That didn’t hurt us. We knew that it was going to be a hard game. We knew that they were going to make plays, too. They’re a great team, too. Those guys are professionals over there as well.
“But we know that we just have to keep our heads together and stay focused and do what we wanted to do, and that was win.”
‘I’ve worked very hard all my life to get here’
Fowler couldn’t have been happier to have been on the field Sunday, after missing the season-opener while serving a one-game suspension for violating the NFL’s personal-conduct policy.
“Just being able to go out there and play the game that I love, being able to be back out there with my teammates, seeing the fans, seeing kids having a good time, something that I cherish and something that I won’t take (for granted) again,” the defensive end said. “This is the best sport in the world. I’ve worked very hard all my life to get here and I want all of the benefits of it.”
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