Tom Brady and the New England Patriots produced a stirring comeback to reach the Super Bowl for a 10th time with a 24-20 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars in the AFC Championship Game.
Jacksonville, having stunningly knocked off the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Divisional round, dominated an absorbing contest at Gillette Stadium for long periods and led 14-3 at one point in the first half.
The Jaguars held a 20-10 advantage in the fourth quarter and, with tight end Rob Gronkowski out with a concussion, Jacksonville appeared in prime position to pull off a staggering upset.
But the 40-year-old Brady, whose condition throughout the week had been the subject of much speculation after injuring his hand in practice, led the Patriots all the way back, producing a recovery akin to the 25-point turnaround he pulled off in Super Bowl LI.
First he capped an eight-play drive with a nine-yard strike to Danny Amendola and, after a quick three-and-out and short Jacksonville punt that was returned well into Jaguars territory by Amendola, the same receiver produced a magnificent catch at the back of the endzone to complete a remarkable revival.
Brady completed all six of his passes on the Patriots' opening drive, but they were restricted to a 31-yard Stephen Gostkowski field goal after a third-down sack from Dante Fowler.
But from then on Jacksonville took control, quarterback Blake Bortles leading touchdown drives that were finished off by a four-yard pass to Marcedes Lewis and a four-yard run by Leonard Fournette.
Hope for New England came as running back Dion Lewis crossed for a score following a contentious pass interference penalty on A.J. Bouye on the drive that saw Gronkowski concussed on a hit from Barry Church.
A pair of second-half Josh Lambo field goals nudged Jacksonville further ahead and, when Myles Jack forced and recovered a Lewis fumble, the Jaguars would have been forgiven for thinking their job was almost done.
Jacksonville could not capitalise on that turnover and then allowed Brady to convert on third-and-18 with a 21-yard throw to Amendola, who cut the gap to seven before a leaping acrobatic grab put the Patriots in the lead for good.
The Jaguars still had time to respond but a fourth-down pass from Bortles to Dede Westbrook was brilliantly broken up by Stephon Gilmore, with Lewis then converting a key third down for New England that allowed them to run out the clock and put Brady a win away from becoming the first player to win six Super Bowl titles.
|Fan shows off Monk face tattoo on bottom|
|Bayern Munich chief Hoeness rules out spending spree|
|Fury to take on Albanian Seferi in Manchester next month|
|Mourinho mind games won´t distract from Manchester United´s paused progress|
|My motivation is intact - Ranieri open to offers following Nantes exit|
|Shields would probably have made All Blacks squad - Hansen|
|Willian fuels rift talk by hiding Conte with emojis in cup photo|
|Marquez extends lead at Le Mans as Dovizioso crashes again|
|Top-six mentality a boost to England´s World Cup hopes – Southgate|
|Dominant Svitolina retains in Rome as Halep sustains injury scare|
|I´d play for free! - Fifita desperate for State of Origin call-up|
|Plea satisfied with Nice exit as big changes beckon|
|Boateng open to leaving Bayern for move abroad|
|Napoli slam ´shameful and offensive´ Juventus celebrations|
|Red Star´s open-top bus goes up in flames|
|Klopp rejects Liverpool´s Champions League final underdogs tag|
|Root trusts batting form to ´click´ for England|
|Matic wants Man Utd to back Mourinho in transfer market|
|Walker out with eye socket fracture following Melbourne-Manly brawl|
|Don´t try it at home! - LeBron wows with game three passing|
|Dragons restore two-point lead, Sharks battle past Bulldogs|
|Any club would want Buffon, says PSG president|
|Villarreal renew Calleja contract after Europa League qualification|
|Talisca heading to Premier League, hints Besiktas boss|
|Celtics ´needed to get our butts whooped´ by Cavs, says Rozier|
|Bayern should have had a penalty, admits Boateng|
|NBA great Bill Russell released from hospital|
|When I play I´m Luca, not Zidane – Zinedine´s son distances himself from father|
|Barzagli: Buffon the greatest of all time|
|Indians ace Kluber becomes first in AL to seven wins|
|MLS Review: Two-goal Villa inspires NYC rout, Timbers stay hot|
|Kuznetsov sets Capitals´ playoff points record|
|Stevenson-Jack showdown ends in majority draw|
|Galatasaray win 21st Turkish title on final day|
|Cavaliers rout Celtics to cut series deficit to 2-1|
|Harvick holds off Suarez to win All-Star race and $1m|
|All Blacks name three new faces for France Tests|
|Mo Salah 15 years behind Cristiano Ronaldo – Klopp|
|Jaguares extend winning streak with Bulls thrashing|
|Nobody is bigger than PSG, says Al-Khelaifi amid doubts over Neymar|
|Warrington targets Frampton after Selby upset|
|Zidane says Real Madrid are ready for Champions League final|
|Heynckes: Bayern aren´t bad losers after DFB-Pokal snub|
|Everything was positive - Emery leaves PSG satisfied|
|Wise, Leishman tied for Byron Nelson lead|
|Torres, Iniesta share gift of good decisions - Simeone|
|Arrivederci Buffon - The Juventus´ greats remarkable career in numbers|
|Favre leaves Nice as Dortmund post awaits|
|´Extraordinary´ Juventus deserved Serie A title - Allegri|
|Warrington upsets bloodied Selby to secure world title|
|Sweden batter USA, Swiss roll on to gold medal match|
|Zverev battles past Cilic to extend winning streak|
|It was a penalty - Kovac acknowledges Frankfurt´s good fortune ahead of Bayern move|
|Ligue 1: Depay fires Lyon into Champions League as Troyes go down|
|Tigers tear Rhinos to shreds as Saints stay clear at the summit|
|Mourinho criticises Chelsea long-ball tactics in FA Cup final|
|Caen 0 Paris Saint-Germain 0: Stalemate closes Emery tenure as Caen survive|
|Villarreal 2 Real Madrid 2: Luca´s debut misjudgement costs Los Blancos|
|Conte reaffirms Chelsea commitment and hints at Italy offer|
|Leicester agree €20m deal for Porto´s Pereira|
|Bayern Munich 1 Eintracht Frankfurt 3: Controversial Kovac win denies new club double delight|
|I am a serial winner, Conte declares after Chelsea´s FA Cup glory|
|Courtois delighted to dispel doubts with FA Cup triumph|
|FA Cup win was to save Chelsea season - Cahill|
|Brilliant Hazard ensures Conte´s serial-winner status remains intact|
|Knight Riders cruise into the IPL play-offs|
|Mourinho: I can imagine what people would say if my team played like Chelsea|
|Mourinho: Lukaku chose not to start FA Cup final|
|Hazard shies away from future talk after Chelsea´s FA Cup success|
|Today is your moment - Juventus legend Del Piero pays tribute to Buffon|