Jacksonville Jaguars defeat Pittsburgh Steelers in shootout to advance: Quick Notes

PITTSBURGH, PA - JANUARY 14: Tommy Bohanon
PITTSBURGH, PA - JANUARY 14: Tommy Bohanon /

The Jacksonville Jaguars found some fortitude and managed to stave off multiple comeback attempts in a 45-42 win to advance to the AFC Championship.

What a game.

Is what I would say if I didn’t just have multiple panic attacks.

The Jacksonville Jaguars looked in control early and appeared to be heading to a blowout win, but they had to fight tooth and nail for 60 minutes to defeat the Pittsburgh Steelers and earn a trip to the AFC championship game.

Here are some quick notes from one of the biggest wins in Jaguars history:

  • If you had told me the Jaguars would score 45 points in Pittsburgh, I would’ve assumed they blew the Steelers out of their own building. Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on your perspective), the Jacksonville defense uncharacteristically gave up 42 points and made the game significantly closer than it needed to be. The Jaguars surged to a 21-0 lead immediately and it looked like it was going to be a laugher, but the Steelers fought bought to make a it a game for a full 60 minutes. This was a concerning performance by the defense, but an unbelievable game by Blake Bortles and the offense.
  • Yes, Blake Bortles may not have had the stat line Ben Roethlisberger had, but he played just as big a part in the win today. When the Jacksonville defense was faltering and giving up big plays, the team needed to the offense to respond and Bortles did. His long pass to Keelan Cole and the touchdown throw to Tommy Bohanon were the biggest plays of his career. He quieted the critics for at least one week and he has a chance to shock the world next week in New England.
  • Going back to the defense –  this was a rough performance but you have to credit the Steelers for making some absolutely amazing plays on offense. Antonio Brown showed why he isn’t just the best wide receiver in the league, he’s one of the best receivers of all time. Every single touchdown by the Steelers came on some type of spectacular play: the two 4th and long touchdowns, the amazing catch by Antonio Brown, and the super odd lateral play in the fourth quarter to Le’Veon Bell. The Jaguars played good defense throughout the day, they just happened to be playing the most talented offense in the league.
  • The coaching staff also deserves credit for giving Bortles more freedom today because quite frankly it won them the game. They took a few deep shots that didn’t work out early on, but they kept at it finally hit a big play to Keelan Cole. The coaches know this season with end with Bortles for better or worse.

We’ll talk more throughout the week, but this is one of the biggest wins in franchise history. They can knock this one down the rankings if they win again next week.