The Jaguars limited Gronkowski to one catch for 21 yards before he left the AFC title game late in the first half with a concussion because of a helmet-to-helmet hit from Church.
The Patriots, usually stout on special teams, struggled in the opener.
Either way, the history that has been built on this one game in a short amount of time may be bigger than the matchup itself.
To be sure, the Jaguars boast talent at all three levels on defense, as evidenced by the fact that they had six players voted to the Pro Bowl last season: ends Calais Campbell and Yannick Ngakoue, tackle Malik Jackson, outside linebacker Telvin Smith and cornerbacks A.J. Bouye and Jalen Ramsey. The six-game winning streak is tied for the third-longest in team history and matches Carolina for the third-longest active streak in the National Football League, trailing only Minnesota (seven) and New England (eight).
One week after swapping shirts with New York Giants super rookie Saquon Barkley, Calais Campbell has an even bigger target in his jersey-collecting sights. "We talked about that as a staff".
"I'm going to go out there and do whatever the coach asks me to do", Ramsey said.
"There's going to come a point in the season, possibly even this week, where my number is going to consistently get called", Grant said. "For us to find a way to win, I think it's a good start". And if you like conspiracies, maybe the Jaguars are playing a little mind games with Belichick's Patriots before their Week 2 revenge game.
"Might be insane. I don't care", Ramsey said, as quoted on ESPN. "And you're playing for seeding, you're playing for position, you're playing for homefield advantage". "So I know his body language". "We are nearly an offense on defense". "Because on the stage where it mattered the most, they got the best of us". Whatever the situation, we don't back down. "It's going to be very challenging, tough environment, and we'll see what we're made of".