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The Boston Globe

Sports

Patriots defense stepped up when it mattered

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Any procrastinating Patriots fans considering a last-minute run to the store to finish (or start) their Christmas shopping probably figured they’d be able to confidently ditch Sunday’s game with the Jaguars by halftime.

It doesn’t always work out that way. Halftime turned into the third quarter, which turned into the fourth quarter, which turned into the game’s final play. The Patriots’ defense, caught off guard with a few body blows in the first 15 minutes, needed to come up with not one but two red-zone stops down the stretch to preserve a tougher-than-expected 23-16 win over the hapless Jaguars.

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