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Jacksonville Jaguars

Rapid Recap- Jaguars knock off Steelers in Divisional Playoff win

Florida Football Insiders

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Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The playoff rematch between the Jaguars and the Steelers lived up to hype and then some.

And in the end, the Jaguars were clearly the better team for a second straight meeting on the road, in a 45-42 wild win.

The Jaguars established right away, that they were not intimidated, and they were willing to throw hay-makers at the home standing “Men of Steel.”

Taking the opening kickoff and driving 64 yards in eight plays, the Jags elected to go for a 4th and goal from the two and RB Leonard Fournette took to the air:

That one play ignited a tremendous first half that saw Jacksonville lead by 21 points on two different occasions. After intercepting Ben Roethlisberger for the sixth time in just five quarters dating back to the regular season match-up, Fournette took the next play in from 18 yards out and a two score lead.

The Jacksonville defense came up large, again, with CB Jalen Ramsey stopping RB LeVeon Bell on a 4th and one at Jaguars 21 yard line to end their drive. And back on offense, QB Blake Bortles led another long 75 yard drive that bled into the second quarter and then when back up RB T.J. Yeldon got the ball…

The Steelers crowd was stunned, as they should have been, down by three touchdowns.

Bortles continued to play steadily throughout the game finishing with 14-26 for 214 yards and a TD. He also rushed for 35 yards.

Back to the first half and after a Roethlisberger to WR Antonio Brown 23 yard touchdown pass cut the lead to 21-7, the Jaguars defense struck another big blow:

Jacksonville’s Telvin Smith, just like he did with a pick six in the October meeting, picked up the fumble and took it 50 yards to the house for the second 21 point lead at the half.

You wouldn’t expect the Steelers to simply roll over, certainly not with Roethlisberger, Brown and Bell looking to get back in the game.

And, they showed that fight when Roethlisberger floated this one for Bell out of the backfield in the third quarter to bring the Steelers within one score…

Roethlisberger finished with a playoff career high 469 yards and 5 TD passes.

However, the story of the day was the Jaguars maturation almost in front of our eyes, and they would not be denied offensively. Bortles led two more scoring drives of 61 yards, including a long throw to WR Keelan Cole setting up Fournette’s third TD run of the day from three yards out. Then the second scoring drive culminated with Bortles floating this ball in the air for this score:

Tommy Bohanon’s 14 yard TD stretched the lead back to 42-28 for Jacksonville.

Fournette, who limped to the sideline and the locker room to have his ankle checked, did return in the second half and finished with 25 carries 109 yards and 3 TDs.

Meanwhile, Roethlisberger didn’t blink, leading a 75 yard TD drive of his own and then, made this heads up play by throwing the backwards pass to Bell who took it in to trim the high scoring game to 42-35.

However, the Steelers botched the onside kick, that hit their own player first and the Jags recovered with 2:17 remaining.

Jacksonville forced Pittsburgh to use their remaining timeouts, as they moved into field goal range and kicker Josh Lambo iced the game with a 45 yard field goal and a 45-35 lead.

Roethlisberger threw his final TD of the day with :01 left, but it was not enough.

The win puts the Jaguars in the AFC Championship Game for the third time in franchise history, and the first time since the 1999 season.

They will play at Foxboro against the Patriots in two weeks for the right to go to Super Bowl LII.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars QB Bortles doesn’t mind you coming over to his place

Florida Football Insiders

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Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The Jaguars are “riding high” early on in the season after an impressive win against New England. Everyone is obviously loose, because of the success in 2017, and now, back-to-back wins to start this year have given a sense of confidence to the young squad.

An embattled fifth year quarterback Blake Bortles is on a serious uptick in his own playing career. Off yet another surprising game Sunday, where he threw for 376 yards and four scores in the 31 – 20 victory, Bortles has plenty of reasons to smile.

And, unusually, he has plenty of reasons to welcome total strangers who come to his door

Yes. You read that correctly.

Bortles made mention earlier this week about fans and even teammates coming to his house, unannounced, to “say hello,” maybe catch up on some Netflix and of course, talk about the success of the Jaguars.

Okay, we made the Netflix part up.

Still, for an NFL quarterback to make mention that he’s welcoming people to come see him at his home to talk up the team he plays for is definitely unusual.

Bortles elaborated jokingly to the media Wednesday after the Jaguars practice in preparation for their first meeting this season with the Titans:

“It’s a football town that loves their Jaguars, especially when they are playing well. You know, I don’t have a problem having a conversation with somebody at the door.” When asked whether the fans relate to him, Bortles continued, “I feel as though I relate to the city of Jacksonville and the people who live here….I’ve lived in Florida my whole life. I feel comfortable here. I’ve made a lot of friends here. Made a lot of good relationships. Really enjoyed being here.”

It’s a very juicy twist to the Bortles soap opera from a year ago, when Jags fans were ready to not only come to his front door, but pack all of his belongings and put them on a moving truck to get him out of town.

Yet, Bortles played steady and at times great football in the 2017 season, including Jacksonville’s stunning AFC divisional playoff win at Pittsburgh last year. He also played well in the AFC Championship Game resulting in a narrow lost to New England.

So, it’s understandable that Bortles has got the Jaguars fans filling up on his bandwagon, yet again.

However, one thing is for sure, in the NFL everything is fleeting and directly related to what you’ve done, lately. And with the Titans having swept the Jaguars a year ago, Bortles and his teammates know they have to get that corrected starting with Sunday’s home game at TIAA Bank Field.

Otherwise, any strangers at the Bortles home, who are decked out in black and teal uninvited, may not be as friendly coming up the driveway next week.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Look who tops debut of our FFI “Power Rankings”

Jamil King

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Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

With the NFL and college football in full swing, we have had some surprises and shocks.
The whole state of Florida has gone unbeaten in the NFL.

UCF and USF look like they might be the best college teams in the state.

Blueblood FSU has landed flat on their faces, while Miami and Florida each suffered early season defeats.

A few weeks into the season, here are how things are shaping up with our “Power Rankings.”

5. Miami Hurricanes- The Canes came into the season with high expectations after having one of their best seasons in recent memory in 2017. The year didn’t start how they wanted it to with a severe loss to the LSU Tigers, who look like they might challenge the Tide for the SEC West crown. Miami bounced back with wins against Savanah State and Toledo. They will need QB Malik Rosier to improve if they want to win back to back Coastal titles.

4. Miami Dolphins- Surprise number one, so far, are the Dolphins. The Fins are 2-0 for the first time since 2013. The Dolphins have beat the Titans and Jets, so we can’t put them higher than fourth, but the start is impressive. Miami’s defense has been good, and contributions have come from all over, as we wrote Sunday. Ryan Tannehill has been doing a stable job at QB as well. The Dolphins get the 0-2 Raiders this week before two road games against Foe Tom Brady and the also surprising Bengals.

3. UCF Knights- The “National Champions” check in at the number three spot this week. The Knights have cruised to victory twice so far this season. QB Mckenzie Milton looked unstoppable against the UConn Huskies, but wasn’t at his best against South Carolina State. The Knights got unlucky with Hurricanes again this year and lost out on playing an ACC opponent (North Carolina) yet again. UCF will play FAU this week before finally getting to play a power five school in Pittsburgh at home.

2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Surprise again, with Tampa Bay at number two. Can you feel the “Fitzmagic?” The Bucs sure can, as the 14 year vet has shredded the Saints and Eagles. The Bucs are at 2-0 for the first time since 2010. Todd Monken has done wonders for the offense with the playcalling, as well. With a Monday night date with the Steelers can the Bus keep it going on National Television?

1. Jacksonville Jaguars- The Jags claim the top spot this week coming in at 2-0 as well. The Jags are here partly to last season’s success, but not just that. The defense has done its job so far, but Blake Bortles was on fire vs. the Patriots. If Blake can continue to play the way he did against New England, then this team can become even more dangerous.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Report- Jaguars LT Cam Robinson has torn ACL

Florida Football Insiders

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Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

The news is not all good coming out of the Jaguars week two win over the power house Patriots.

Second-year left tackle Cam Robinson suffered a left knee injury in the first quarter and did not return to the game.

And as the NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported first Monday morning, it’s the worst possible news for him:

Tha former second-round pick out of Alabama was anchoring the left side of the line and protecting quarterback Blake Bortles’ blind-side. Jacksonville and coach Doug Marrone were particularly eager to have Robinson develop more with veteran left guard Andrew Norwell, whom the Jags gave a huge contract to in free agency.

Now, Robinson is headed for the IR.

Robinson started all 16 games a year ago, and the first two games this season.

Undrafted four year veteran Josh Wells, took over for Robinson and play the remainder of the game on Sunday.

With the diagnosis of the ACL and Robinson lost for the season, the Jaguars now have to decide whether Wells is the long-term solution, as he’s never started an NFL game before in his career.

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