Thanks to a 45-42 victory over the Steelers today, the Jaguars will face the Patriots in the AFC Championship next week. After jumping out to a 21-0 lead early in the second quarter thanks to three rushing touchdowns, Jacksonville did enough to hold off a five-score, 469-yard game from Ben Roethlisberger and go home with the win.
The Jaguars built their early lead on Leonard Fournette, who had two touchdowns when he temporarily exited with an ankle injury in the second quarter. But the Steelers closed the deficit to 14 points at halftime with a 36-yard touchdown pass on fourth down, and a third-quarter score let them make it a one-touchdown game heading into the fourth quarter. Another touchdown from Fournette, back on the field after being treated for his ankle, took that away—but Pittsburgh narrowed the gap once again with some more fourth-down power on another touchdown that made it 35-28 with nine minutes remaining to play:
But a series of weird decision-making and poor clock management in the final minutes left them stranded. After Le’Veon Bell rushed it in for a touchdown to make the score 42-35 with a little more than two minutes remaining, the Steelers opted for a truly ugly onside kick that let the Jaguars start their drive within the 40-yard line and easily get a field goal. Pittsburgh’s remaining touchdown drive took essentially all the time off the clock.
And here we are: next week, Blake Bortles vs. Tom Brady, hell yeah.