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Rapid Recap- Jaguars outfight Bills to win ugly AFC Wildcard game

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Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

This one was history for a lot of reasons for the Jaguars: first playoff game of any kind in 10 years, first home playoff game in 18 years, and playing the Bills, who hadn’t been in the playoffs themselves in 18 years.

However, the Jaguars 10-3 win over Buffalo Sunday at Everbank Field will not go down in NFL Playoff history, as one of the more memorable battles.

No, it was anything but, memorable.

Still, Jacksonville will take it and move on to the AFC Divisional Playoff round against the Pittsburgh Steelers next Sunday.

QB Blake Bortles one yard TD pass on 4th and goal to backup tight end Ben Koyack late in the third quarter and it was the difference in this one.

That play capped off a methodical 15 play 86 yard nearly nine minute drive, which turned out to be the biggest of the game.

It was the lone bright spot for Bortles who finished the day with a paltry 87 yards passing on 12-23 attempts.

The Jaguars defense did the rest throughout the day holding the Bills to just 263 total yards and three points. They forced the Bills to punt on their first four possessions of the second half. The fourth of those coming with 3:09 remaining in the Game.

Buffalo coach Sean McDermott elected to kick with one timeout and the two minute warning remaining to stop the clock, hoping to get the ball back one last time. The Bills did get their “three and out” stop and forced the Jags to kick it back to them at the Buffalo 37 with 1:51 left.

The Bills ran two plays and then on the third down, QB Tyrod Taylor was hit by Dante Fowler by scrambling and slammed backwards to the turf, where he hit his head hard and had to leave the game.

Backup QB Nathan Peterman came in, scrambled for a first down on the fourth down to keep the drive alive on the next play. However, he threw an interception two plays later to DB Jalen Ramsey, which clinched the game.

The play was reviewed, as Ramsey appeared to bobble the catch going to the ground, but the replay wasn’t conclusive and the league command center in New York upheld the interception call to let the Jags kneel on the ball.

The Bills LeSean McCoy (above) did play with his injured ankle and had 75 yards on 19 carries and also caught six catches for 44 yards in the game, but it wasn’t nearly enough.

As for the Jaguars, they will now travel to Pittsburgh to rematch the Steelers who they defeated by 21 points in week five.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

NFL officially suspended Jaguars DE Dante Fowler one game Friday

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Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The Jaguars got the bad news Friday afternoon, as the NFL made it official and suspended defensive end Dante Fowler for the opening game of the season against the New York Giants.

As we have been writing about, including last week, Fowler was almost certainly going to be suspended for at least a game for having entered a no-contest plea in March to assaulting St Petersburg man in an apartment complex parking lot last July.

The league notified Fowler of his punishment and the Jaguars released this statement.

This is not the first incident for Fowler, since joining the NFL He also pled-out an assault charge from 2016 in Dade County, but, did however escape NFL punishment for that incident.

Interestingly, Jacksonville had decided not to pick up Fowler’s fifth year option on his rookie contract earlier this off season. Instead, they publicly challenged him to continue to be not only a quality player, but better off the field.

Fowler blossomed during Jacksonville’s playoff season of 2017. The former #1 pick, had a breakout season with eight sacks, as the Jaguars defense was the top one in the NFL at rushing the quarterback. And, Jacksonville went on to win the AFC South and make the AFC Championship Game.

Fowler missed his entire rookie season of 2015 due to an ACL injury in rookie mini-camp just after being drafted that year. He’s a former All-SEC performer for the Gators, and is part of the young nucleus of players that the Jaguars are centering their defense around.

As with any players suspended by the NFL, Fowler will still be allowed to participate in training camp and in preseason games. The suspension will be the week of the opening games of the NFL season, and Fowler can have no contact with the coaching staff or any team activities.

 

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars “cornerstone” player for 2018?

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Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The third installment of our “cornerstone” players series takes us to North Florida. And, as the Jaguars get ready to start up 2018, we wondered which impact player would be the one to build around.

You could make arguments for last year’s top free agent acquisition defensive tackle Calais Campbell, or lock down corner Jalen Ramsey, as being that player. However, it’s a player on the offensive side of the ball that appears to be everything that Jacksonville could have hoped for in a running back. That running back is Leonard Fournette.

Fournette, whom the Jags took fourth overall in the draft, is fantastic physical talent at 6’0 230lbs. with a blend of speed and power. And in his debut season, repeatedly showed why you would want to have your offense centered on his ability pound on a defense.

He made a tremendous impact from the beginning of the Jags breakout 2017 with a 100 yard game in the opening win at Houston, and three more 100 yard games in the first nine.

There was lull in Fournette’s productivity due an ankle injury and he also missed a game in Indianapolis due disciplinary reasons, but eventually, Fournette got back on track. He ran for 109 yards and 3 TDs in Jacksonville’s statement win over Seattle in December that clinched the first playoff spot for Jacksonville in 11 seasons.

Then, in the post season Fournette was just okay against the Bills in the AFC Wildcard game with 57 yards on 21 carries. However the next week in Pittsburgh, Fournette set the tone early and often with two first quarter TDs. He finished with 109 yards and 3 rushing TDs, and Jacksonville stunned the Steelers to advance to the AFC Championship Game.

The Jags sledgehammer back scored another early TD and finished with 76 yards rushing as the Patriots rallied to win 24-20 scoring in the final three minutes to knock the Jaguars out of the Superbowl.

Of course there will be great scrutiny on the play of quarterback Blake Bortles, and rightfully so.

However, much of the Jaguars success offensively, the identity of what they want to do, will be centered around Leonard Fournette.

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Why is Jalen Ramsey Twitter feuding with NFL Network analyst?

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Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

There is no mistaking that Jaguars defensive back Jalen Ramsey is talented, and in 2017 he was named as an All-Pro by his peers and most recenlty in the player polled “Top 100.” So, that’s a validation that doesn’t need a whole lot else.

Yet, an NFL Network analyst and a former NFL defensive back himself, is questioning part of his game.

And, Jalen Ramsey got annoyed. Like, really annoyed.

It all began when, Bucky Brooks, who hosts a successful podcast and appears regularly on the NFL Network questioned another player, DB Casey Hayward of the Chargers, and whether he was a “transcendent talent” in coverage.

The exchanges with Hayward on Twitter Thursday went on for a bit and then, Ramsey jumped in here:

 

And, when Brooks tweeted about Ramsey and why he was drafted two years ago in the top five by Jacksonville, things cranked up on social media:

Next, Ramsey questioned whether Brooks believes Ramsey is only a product of the Jaguars “defensive system” and not of his ability to shutdown the opposing team’s top wideout, one on one:

Brooks referenced former fellow Noles All American and Pro Football Hall of Famer, Deion Sanders as one of those rare “lock down” corners, and of course, that someone that Ramsey, two years removed from FSU, wants to be compared to with his own game.

Brooks then explained further about his own analysis and teams/GMs/personnel executives thinking:

In the end, Ramsey, who is not bashful about expressing his opinions on or off the field, finally gave some props to Brooks for having an informed opinion:

The bottom line is that analysts get paid to analyze. And the good ones are always soliciting the opinions of others, who are actually coaching and working in the NFL Front office.

And further, if Ramsey keeps “locking down” the likes of the Texans DeAndre Hopkins, and the Colts T.Y. Hilton, who he sees twice a year, then he will continue to get the respect he wants. And, he’ll get the second contract dollars that come with it, too.

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