• 68°

Jaguars defense shines in ugly, victory against Bills

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey wasted little time turning his attention to Jacksonville’s next playoff game.

He also knew everyone else wanted to look back at that Week 5 matchup at Pittsburgh.

“I’m sure they’re thinking that game was a fluke,” Ramsey said.

The Jaguars (11-6) will try to prove it wasn’t when they return to the Steel City next week.

Jacksonville’s latest defensive gem — a 10-3 victory against Buffalo (9-8) on Sunday — set up a rematch with the Steelers (13-3).

The Jaguars stunned Pittsburgh in the first meeting, a 30-9 win in which Ben Roethlisberger threw five interceptions, was sacked twice and finished with the lowest passer rating of his career.

“The game was a great illustration on if we play the way we’re capable of playing, then we can beat anybody like that,” Jaguars cornerback Aaron Colvin said.

“We know they’re going to be motivated. Ben said it earlier in the week or whenever that he wanted to see us again, so we know we’re going to get their best shot. But at the same time, they’re to get our best shot, too.

“Whenever somebody gets our best shot, it hasn’t turned out too good for people.”

The Bills experienced that first-hand in Sunday’s AFC wild-card game.

Tyrod Taylor completed 17 of 37 passes for 134 yards, with an interception, against the NFL’s best pass defense . LeSean McCoy carried 19 times for 75 yards, but a third of those came on one run . McCoy also had 44 yards receiving.

Jacksonville’s offense was even more inept.

Blake Bortles completed 12 of 23 passes for 87 yards, with a touchdown. Bortles was off all day, but made up for it with his legs . He ran for 88 yards, becoming the second starting quarterback in the past 25 years to win a playoff game with more rushing yards than passing. Atlanta’s Michael Vick also did it against the St. Louis Rams in the 2004 playoffs.

“That’s usually not ideal for a quarterback,” Bortles said.

It was enough Sunday, at least with a defense this stingy.

“I think we should hold every team to zero because that’s just the kind of defense we are,” Colvin said. “Teams are going to move the ball and make plays, but at the end of the day, we’re the most dominant defense in the league. We’ve got to hold teams to zero.”

They might need to if Bortles and the league’s top rushing offense don’t play better.

Leonard Fournette ran 21 times for 57 yards against a defense that had been giving up nearly 125 a game. It didn’t help that Bortles misfired early and often.

He put together one decent drive, making as many plays with his feet as his arm, and capped it with a 1-yard scoring pass to backup tight end Ben Koyack on a gutsy, fourth-and-goal call.

“Kind of reference it to a pitcher,” Bortles said. “You go out and something is not right, you don’t have a fastball, you don’t have a curveball. You have to find another pitch to be able to land and be successful and get guys out. That’s kind of the same thing playing quarterback.”

Here are some things to know about Jacksonville’s victory over Buffalo:

McCoy goes

McCoy topped 100 yards from scrimmage for the first time in his playoff career. “I’m proud of the way LeSean rose to the occasion,” Bills coach Sean McDermott said. “He battled in there, and it wasn’t easy for him.”

Late chances

The Bills had plenty of chances down the stretch, but a huge penalty against tight end Charles Clay, a dropped pass by Zay Jones and then a tackle that knocked Taylor out of the game ended any threat of a comeback.

Taylor’s helmet slammed hard against the ground after getting thrown down by Dante Fowler Jr. He had to be helped off the field, forcing backup Nathan Peterman into the game with 1:27 remaining. Ramsey picked off Peterman’s third pass, and the Jaguars ran out the clock.

Electric atmosphere

The Jaguars enjoyed a rare packed house for the franchise’s first home playoff game in 18 years, and thousands of Bills fans tailgated outside EverBank Field and crowded into nearby bars. Coach Doug Marrone gave a game ball to the fans. “It was incredible,” Bortles said.

“There’s not a lot of people outside of Marcedes (Lewis) that have ever seen the stadium like that. … Everyone knows it hasn’t been done in a long time so it was really special to be able to do that.”

Comments

China Grove

Reaper’s Realm owners promise beefed-up security after weekend shooting

Business

Contractor expands local footprint, takes on county’s coronavirus projects

News

Home Improvement: Holiday gifts to spark home improvement ideas

Elections

Political Notebook: Local parties will host watch parties for presidential debate

Crime

China Grove man cited for driving through school field

BREAKING NEWS

October closure hearings set for Faith, Enochville elementary schools

Crime

Police say man gave false name after high speed chase, crashing into lumber truck

Coronavirus

Nearly 400 cases considered currently active in the county

Education

Rowan-Cabarrus Community College creates free course to help parents tackle virtual learning

Business

New unemployment claims down in August, could indicate positive trend for businesses

Crime

Salisbury man faces drug possession charges after overdose call

Crime

Police: Man charged after children call 911 from neighbor’s house

Ask Us

Ask Us: Who are people behind sign at City Park playground?

Coronavirus

Prison in Salisbury latest site of COVID-19 outbreak

Crime

Blotter: Salisbury Man charged with felony assault by strangulation

Nation/World

Trump vows quick Supreme Court vote, Biden urges delay for Nov. 3

Nation/World

New rule may strip pollution protections from popular lakes

East Spencer

East Spencer draws crowd for annual community day

Elections

In Rowan’s legislative races, Howard, Warren get off to strongest start in fundraising

Business

From Navy SEAL to Medicare agent, Trent Waller looks to continue serving his community

Elections

In 13th Congressional District race, Budd, Huffman differ on government’s role in COVID-19 help

Local

Rowan County Telecommunications joins new state digital 911 system

Education

School board will consider scheduling public hearings for Faith, Enochville closures

Business

Biz Roundup: Food Lion makes donation to support racial equality and justice