For the first time since 2000, the Jacksonville Jaguars hosted a home playoff game in front of Duval. The crowd was roaring, the team was hyped up, all that was needed was a playoff victory to go along with it.
Could the Jaguars get the biggest win in the last decade today?
Both teams traded inefficient possessions, neither getting the ball passed midfield. The Jaguars finally got what they needed when Myles Jack tipped a pass from Tyrod Taylor, which went into the hands of Aaron Colvin, who bobbled it, and finally brought it in. It was a hell of a time for Colvin to get the first interception of his career, setting the Jaguars up at the Bills’ 35-yard line.
The offense went onto to go three-and-out on a pathetic play calling drive, with two failed screens. One to Marcedes Lewis, who ran backwards. And another poorly thrown one to Chris Ivory, which was snuffed out by the Bills defense. The unwillingness to attack down the field killed the Jaguars early on.
The Bills continued their domination of time of possession with an over 8-minute drive late in the 2nd quarter. The Jaguars had them stopped on fourth-and-2 from near the goal line, but jumped offside on the potential kick. The following play, Jalen Ramsey made a hell of a play on a fade pass to Kelvin Benjamin, who drew an offensive pass interference. The Bills were forced to settle for a 31-yard field goal, and finally put points on the board with a 3-0 lead.
The Jaguars were able to get good field position late in the 2nd quarter, with Bortles hitting two big runs to put them in field goal range. Josh Lambo hit a 44-yard field goal right before the half, and despite the dominate half by Buffalo, the score was tied at 3-3 going into the half.
The Jaguars finally got something going on offense midway through the third quarter, with Fournette gaining a first down on a toss play, and another in the flat off play action. Facing fourth-and-goal from the goal line, Marrone decided to go for it. This was a gutsy call, but turned out to be the right decision, as Bortles hit Ben Koyack off play action in the back of the end zone. The Jaguars finally found life, and took their first lead of the day at 10-3.
With six minutes left to go in the fourth quarter, and third-and-10, Myles Jack came up with a huge sack of Tyrod Taylor, putting an end to a drive that looked to have some promise for the Bills.
Then on the third down on the next possession with three minutes remaining, Tyler Patmon, in for Colvin who was sidelined, made a huge pass breakup on an out route by Zay Jones.
Tyrod Taylor was knocked out of the game with a concussion, and hometown boy Nathan Peterman came into the game for a last-ditch effort.
On second-and-20, Peterman was picked off by Jalen Ramsey, who pounced on a comeback route to seal the game. In the biggest moment of the biggest game, the Jaguars best player came up big. Jalen Ramsey, the best cornerback in the league, proved his worth in this game, and on that play.
The Jaguars went on to win the game 10-3, their first playoff victory in a decade. The go on to face the Pittsburgh Steelers in the next round, a team they already beat earlier this year 30-9.
It wasn’t pretty. It was gut-wrenching. And it is a damn playoff victory.
That is all that matters.
Also, the crowd was amazing today. Everyone at the game should be proud of themselves. 10 years in the waiting was worth it.
Duval ‘Til We Die, ya’ll. We have one more week of Jaguars football.