Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Jaguars Insider: 'Outburst of Happiness' after Upset Win over Pittsburgh

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Jaguars Insider: 'Outburst of Happiness' after Upset Win over Pittsburgh

Article excerpt

Byline:

PITTSBURGH | Last week, after their wild card win over Buffalo, the Jaguars' locker room was a place of relief. Sure they were thrilled to move on, but it was as if the game had drained them to the point where they couldn't enjoy it.

The locker room Sunday afternoon at Heinz Field had a totally different vibe.

A vibe of excitement.

A vibe of confidence.

A vibe of victory.

The thirdseeded Jaguars had just eliminated the secondseeded Pittsburgh Steelers 4542 in an AFC Divisional Round playoff game. They had survived multiple Steelers comebacks to reach the conference title game for the first time in 18 years and climb to within one win of the Super Bowl for the third time in franchise history.

The Jaguars (126) will visit the New England Patriots (143) Sunday at 3:05 p.m. for a berth in Super Bowl 52 in Minneapolis on Feb. 4.

Allow that to sink in.

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The enormity of the accomplishment gripped the Jaguars after they completed a season sweep of Pittsburgh.

"Happiness and joy," nose tackle Abry Jones said. "There was a lot more hugging. Last week, everybody was like, 'Good job, let's go get the next one.' This time, it was an outburst of happiness."

An outburst of points helped the Jaguars build a 287 secondquarter lead. But the happiness was nowhere near immediate. Three times in the second half - 2821, 3528 and 4235 - the Steelers clawed to within a touchdown but couldn't complete the comeback.

The maligned Jaguars offense, limited to three points in Week 17 at Tennessee and 10 points against the Bills, scored five touchdowns (four rushing, one passing) to break out of their slump.

"I can't really explain the feeling I have right now," said tight end Marcedes Lewis, the longesttenured Jaguars player (12th year). "It's amazing."

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Amazing is this Jaguars' season. Let's make that official. They went from 313 to 106 and last place to first place in the division. They outlasted an annoying Buffalo team. But this was different. This was Pittsburgh. This was Big Ben, Antonio Brown, Le'Veon Bell, Heinz Field, cold weather and being the underdog.

This was the secondbiggest win in Jaguars history, behind only the January 1997 win at Denver, also in the Divisional Round.

Playing in frigid conditions (the gametime temperature was 18 degrees), the Jaguars played like the favorite - efficient on offense and opportunistic on defense. First drive - 66 yards in eight plays. Pittsburgh's second drive - a Myles Jack interception that led to the second of tailback Leonard Fournette's three touchdown runs. …

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