The Jaguars Were Too Much For Buffalo As They win Their First Home Playoff Game Since 2000: The Takeaway
Jacksonville, FL — The Jacksonville Jaguars (10-6) played their first playoff game at home in 17 years. The Jags beat the Buffalo Bills (9-7) in low-scoring affair led by their stout defense.
In a game where Jags’ quarterback Blake Bortles’ was sub-par, running back Leonard Fournette found little room to run; it was Bortles’ legs that sparked the offense at times.
Jacksonville’s defense played lights out, giving up just three points as they stifled they Bills over and over.
The Jags will head to Pittsburgh next week, in a rematch from week five. Last time out, Jacksonville had five interceptions, which contemplated Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to think about retirement.
Jacksonville is Confident in Bortles
Bortles struggled throughout the game Sunday vs. the Bills. 12-23 for 89 yards is not what you want out of your franchise quarterback in the playoffs.
However, in the most crucial point of the game; a fourth and goal from the one-yard line, Jacksonville elected to throw after three straight runs. Bortles threw a touchdown to Ben Koyack. The Jaguars trusted him to make a play in that spot, which says a lot about their confidence in Bortles.
The fourth-year quarterback was able to spark the offense with his running ability. He outran Bills’ quarterback Tyrod Taylor and had more rushing yards than passing yards.
Has Fournette Hit The Rookie Wall?
Fournette had a refreshing rookie campaign, 1,049 yards to go with nine touchdowns. He helped spark Jacksonville’s franchise into a force, leading them to the top rushing team in the NFL.
But, the rookie was unable to find a rhythm against the Bills’ 29th-ranked run defense. Buffalo was able to bottle Fournette up, making Jacksonville one-dimensional.
Most noteworthy, over his last three games Fournette is averaging 58 yards per game at three yards per carry.
The Jags will need a lot more production vs. the Steelers next week to advance to the AFC Championship.
If Jacksonville aspires to get to the Super Bowl, they will be carried by their defense. The Jags defense is the best unit in the NFL, flexing their muscle against the Bills.
The Jaguars did a very nice job of mixing man and zone coverages, confusing Taylor. Jacksonville slowed down Bills running back LeSean McCoy and limited Tayor to 17-37 passing and a game-sealing interception by Jalen Ramsey.
It’ll be hard to duplicate the five-interception performance from week five. But Steelers’ receiver Antonio Brown will not be 100 percent.
No one wants to face the Jags’ defense right now; they can disrupt the backfield with their front four while playing excellent coverage on the backend.
Up Next: Jacksonville won their first playoff game since 2007 where they beat the Steelers. The Jaguars will now play at Pittsburgh next Sunday with a berth in the AFC Championship Game on the line.