Defense showed exactly why the Jacksonville Jaguars are a difficult playoff matchup


The game on Sunday was far from flashy, but the Jacksonville Jaguars still made a major statement in the playoff win.

No one will argue that the wild card battle between the Jacksonville Jaguars and Buffalo Bills lacked explosiveness. It was a 3-3 tie at halftime, en route to a 10-3 final score. The game will not be mistaken for a offensive masterpiece any time soon.

But within the low scoring affair, Jacksonville proved exactly why the team is a daunting matchup in the postseason. The Jaguars defense put together one of the most impactful postseason performances you will ever see, carrying the team to the victory over the Bills.

Buffalo wasn’t particularly known for a potent offense, but the Jacksonville defense completely suffocated the Bills, despite being on the field for the majority of the game with little support from the Jaguars offense putting together extended drives. Even with making quick returns to the field, and having to defend eleven Buffalo drives, the Jaguars allowed no touchdowns and just three total points.

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Even when the team backed themselves up to the edge, they never folded. In the second quarter, the Bills had a first-and-goal from the one-yard line with the chance to go up 7-0. The Jaguars rose up like they have done all season, and turned the first-and-goal into a field goal attempt from the 13-yard line. The defense just never gave-in. Never relinquished.

The unit finished the commanding performance with two sacks, six tackles for loss, seven passes defensed, and two interceptions. It was only right that the game ended with the defense slamming the door shut. Jalen Ramsey, who was one of many Jaguars to have a standout game on defense, reeled in a diving interception with under a minute to go to close the book on the 2017 Buffalo Bills.

The smothering showing by the Jaguars defense on Sunday is the exact reason Jacksonville is a nightmare opponent in the playoffs. Even with an absolute no show by the offense, the defense took the game completely over.  The unit is relentless, and knows that they are the best group on any field. The defensive line stays at the quarterback’s neck, the secondary flies to the ball. Jacksonville just makes the opponent’s margin for error as minuscule as it can possibly be.

Perhaps no team knows that better than this week’s opponent. In week five, the Jaguars dismantled the Steelers offense, in the form of five interceptions, including two taken to the house for touchdowns, in a 30-9 blowout win. It was the worst game of Ben Roethlisberger‘s long career. The two teams face each other again on Sunday, with significantly more on the line in this one. As Jacksonville has already proven this season, the team does not fear Pittsburgh, and that certainly isn’t changing in the divisional round.

Will the team need far better production from the offense moving forward to be successful? Without a shadow of a doubt. But the Jacksonville Jaguars defense is feasting, and proving why opponents are in for a brutal 60 minutes of football.