The Jaguars shocked the world on Sunday, scoring 45 points against the Steelers at Heinz Field and emerging victorious.
Here's four takeaways from the Jaguars first win in the AFC divisional round since 1999.
1. No one (not even me) expected the Jaguars or Steelers to both eclipse 40 points in this one.
On the Jaguars end big plays and a balanced offensive attack led to their biggest scoring output of the entire season. Blake Bortles played very well, completing 14/26 passes (there were several drops by receivers) throwing 1 TD pass with 0 interceptions. He finished the game with 214 yards passing and a QB rating of 94. The Jaguars scored in a variety of ways on the day and looked like one of the more complete teams in football.
On the other side the Steelers were all about the pass. Le'Veon Bell ran for less then 70 yards on the day, but the Steelers passing attack came alive in the second quarter and was potent for the remainder of the contest. Big Ben threw the ball over the yard and his receivers made some fantastic plays down field. They fought valiantly in an attempt to come back, but Roethlisberger's interception ended up being the difference in this one.
2. The Jaguars once dominant run game returned.
Leonard Fournette found the end zone three times and rushed the ball for over 100 yards, all while averaging 4.4 yards per carry. His day was impressive, especially when he returned to the game after suffering an ankle injury in the second quarter. TJ Yeldon also got in on the action rushing the ball five times and finding the end zone once. Overall the team rushed for 164 yards and averaged 4.7 yards per carry. It was a day to remember for the Jaguars rushing attack. I would be foolish not praise the offensive line for the rushing attack - they held one of the best defensive line's in check for much of the game.
3. Telvin Smith is the heart and soul of the Jaguars defense.
You might be saying "Okay? we already knew that". But he proved today that he is the unquestioned leader and maybe the very best player on the Jaguars "Monstar" defense. He recorded 16 tackles (14 solo), defended a pass, and scored a touchdown on a fumble recovery. It was his second TD against the Steelers this season in as many games.
4. Don't get too concerned over the massive yardage and point totals allowed by Jaguars secondary.
The Jaguars secondary was the victim of some incredible playmaking ability by Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant, and Ben Roethlisberger in this one. On most every scoring play by the Steelers the Jaguars had players in position, but the Steelers playmakers just made better plays - that's not going to happen again. It would be much more concerning if guys were out of position for the Jaguars. The Steelers have a remarkable offense and the Jaguars made enough plays on both sides of the ball to win the game. Don't get too concerned over the big yardage and point totals allowed by the Jags defense.
Stay tuned for more as the Jaguars prepare to take on the Patriots in the AFC Championship.
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