Jaguars make emphatic statement with upset of Steelers

There wasn't a lot of chatter about the Jacksonville Jaguars' chances in their first playoff appearance since the 200...

Posted: Jan 15, 2018 5:13 PM
Updated: Jan 15, 2018 5:13 PM

There wasn't a lot of chatter about the Jacksonville Jaguars' chances in their first playoff appearance since the 2007 season.

In fact, it even appeared that at least some of the Steelers, despite losing to Jacksonville 30-9 in Pittsburgh in Week 5, might have been looking past the Jaguars and ahead to a potential AFC championship showdown against New England.

Jaguars reach the AFC championship game for the first time since the 1999 season

They have never reached the Super Bowl

"We're going to play (the Patriots) again," Steelers free safety Mike Mitchell told Sports Illustrated. "We can play them in hell, we can play them in Haiti, we can play them in New England ... we're gonna win."

Running back Le'Veon Bell also added fuel to the fire, tweeting on Saturday, "I love round 2's ... we'll have two round 2's in back-to-back weeks."

But after dismantling the Steelers 45-42 on Sunday in the AFC divisional round, it's the Jaguars who are a game away from reaching Super Bowl LII. And they're also having their say.

"We showed up," Jaguars defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. said. "We didn't talk with all the trash talk they were doing this week. We were quiet. We didn't say anything. Real people are quiet, and then they throw the first punch."

It's the first time Jacksonville has been this far since the 1999 season. Should the Jaguars reach the Super Bowl for the first time in franchise history, they're going to have to do it on the home turf of the defending champs. Jacksonville will face the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on Sunday.

"I'm just happy to win," said quarterback Blake Bortles, who has been subject to criticism throughout his career. "I have no animosity against anyone who said anything. I'm happy to be able to come here and do this with this team.

"There are a lot of guys home on the couch watching this. I'm sure they are wishing that they could play. I know in years past I have been. So, having the opportunity to be able to continue to play feels awesome."

Meanwhile, defensive back Barry Church didn't hold back after the win in Pittsburgh.

"We did it the first time," Church said. "We knew we had this team's number. All we did was feed on the fuel that everybody was providing.

"The media, everybody was talking about how it's not going to be like last week, Blake Bortles this, Blake Bortles that. All he did was dominate their defense. All we did was do what we do every week, that's play ball and create takeaways and score. That's what we did and we dominated.

"We are on to the next round, and we need the notes that the Steelers had on the Patriots. They were doing all that advanced scouting. We need the notes they got for the Patriots. It is time to roll, New England baby."

"We're not done yet"

After Sunday's win, the Jaguars returned to EverBank Field in Jacksonville, where an estimated 10,000 fans welcomed them. It was their turn to make bold predictions.

"We're not done yet," defensive end Calais Campbell said, according to the team's website. "This is just the beginning, baby. All the hard work is for this moment, right here. We're going to the Super Bowl. Let's go."

Added cornerback Jalen Ramsey: "We're going to the Super Bowl, and we're going to win that (expletive)."

The Jaguars' reach extends beyond Jacksonville. In 2012, the franchise became the lone NFL team to make a multi-year commitment to play in the NFL London Games. This agreement has been extended to 2020.

But they hadn't been an easy watch over the last several years, winning just 17 games from 2012 to 2016.

Still, heading into this season, even though the Jaguars had gone 3-13 the year before, Campbell said he knew a turnaround was possible with the help of returning talent, leadership in executive vice president of football operations Tom Coughlin -- who defeated the Patriots in two Super Bowls when he was the Giants head coach -- and head coach Doug Marrone and signings during off-season free agency.

"We know when we all come together and do it right we are a tough team to beat," Campbell said. "We're hard to beat. We can beat anybody."

The results: a 10-6 record and one of the top defenses in the league. And there is at least one more game to go.

"We've got a lot of work ahead of us," Marrone said to the EverBank Field crowd. "We've got a lot of work ahead of us."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 69374

Reported Deaths: 1989
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds5700119
DeSoto371031
Harrison260136
Madison245569
Jackson231444
Rankin230735
Jones193159
Forrest182656
Washington170142
Lee152142
Lauderdale141592
Neshoba128892
Lamar123115
Bolivar113635
Oktibbeha113339
Warren112535
Lowndes109239
Panola106816
Sunflower105625
Scott101120
Lafayette98719
Copiah96228
Leflore94966
Pike94037
Holmes91049
Grenada85123
Pontotoc8429
Yazoo84113
Lincoln83442
Monroe82155
Simpson80631
Leake79526
Coahoma78113
Wayne78021
Tate74330
Marshall7129
Marion68420
Union66216
Adams63225
Winston62916
Covington62214
George5956
Pearl River55940
Newton54511
Tallahatchie54111
Attala52725
Walthall50221
Chickasaw47619
Noxubee46112
Tishomingo4377
Alcorn4355
Calhoun4259
Prentiss42310
Claiborne40914
Smith40613
Hancock40214
Clay40114
Jasper3949
Itawamba38710
Tippah37414
Tunica3587
Clarke33626
Montgomery3295
Lawrence3238
Yalobusha31610
Humphreys29712
Quitman2691
Carroll26111
Greene25612
Perry2428
Amite2376
Webster23712
Kemper23314
Jefferson Davis2336
Wilkinson21513
Stone2115
Sharkey2045
Jefferson1957
Benton1451
Choctaw1354
Franklin1312
Issaquena272
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 100801

Reported Deaths: 1814
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson13366246
Mobile10581212
Montgomery6825151
Madison546934
Tuscaloosa426979
Unassigned392566
Baldwin367029
Shelby333437
Marshall319438
Lee270847
Morgan241819
Etowah218034
DeKalb183414
Calhoun181918
Elmore176039
Walker154465
Houston142813
Russell13892
St. Clair136320
Limestone135913
Dallas133624
Franklin129722
Cullman123012
Colbert121517
Lauderdale119020
Autauga116222
Escambia108817
Talladega105414
Jackson10264
Tallapoosa87579
Chambers84738
Dale84329
Clarke82610
Chilton8189
Blount8165
Butler77036
Coffee7656
Covington74021
Pike7137
Marion58226
Barbour5796
Lowndes57124
Marengo56616
Hale48526
Bullock48111
Winston45711
Perry4454
Bibb4445
Washington44412
Wilcox43410
Monroe4236
Pickens4089
Randolph40211
Conecuh39310
Sumter36618
Lawrence3542
Macon33914
Crenshaw3326
Choctaw28912
Cherokee2768
Clay2675
Geneva2652
Henry2643
Greene25211
Lamar2302
Fayette2235
Cleburne1291
Coosa1053
Out of AL00
Tupelo
Clear
79° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 75°
Feels Like: 82°
Columbus
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 72°
Feels Like: 73°
Oxford
Few Clouds
75° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 75°
Starkville
Clear
70° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 70°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather