They were euphoric as they left the field, mockingly waving "Terrible Towels" and celebrating the franchise's first postseason victory in nearly eight years.
Yeah, it was a great victory in a great venue and on prime-time TV. The whole world knows about the Jaguars now. It truly was a great "moment" for a franchise desperate to establish itself in the pro football world.
All right, now take a deep breath. Let's ground ourselves because whatever team is on the Jaguars' immediate postseason horizon will look at the stats of the Jaguars' 31-29 win over the Steelers and ask: Who won that game?
The Jaguars had 14 first downs to the Steelers' 24. The Jaguars converted four of 11 third downs to the Steelers' seven of 14. The Jaguars gained 239 total yards to the Steelers' 340 and the Steelers held the ball six minutes longer than the Jaguars.
How did the Jaguars win this game? For starters, the Jaguars won this game because they made big plays.
• They returned a kickoff 96 yards to the one-yard line moments after the Steelers drove the ball 80 yards in 10 plays on the opening possession of the game.
• The Jaguars got on a three-interception roll in the first half, as Ben Roethlisberger did a second-quarter meltdown that allowed the Jaguars to take a 21-7 lead into halftime.
• They made the game-winning play with the game on the line; a 32-yard run by Garrard on a fourth-and-two play. The whole season was on the line and Garrard put it all on his shoulders and delivered.
The Jaguars also won this game because rookie Steelers coach Mike Tomlin made some critical errors in judgment. After a holding penalty nullified a two-point conversion and moved the ball back to the 12, Tomlin inexplicably ordered another two-point try. Had his team kicked the point, it would've likely led to a three-point lead and a possible overtime period.
Tomlin's most critical mistake, however, was going ultra conservative at crunch time, when the Steelers had the lead and an opportunity to kill the clock. The Steelers were one first down from victory and Tomlin went run, run, run, punt. Bad, bad, bad, lose.
All of this will serve to ground the Jaguars for next weekend's game in New England or Indianapolis. What if it's in New England? Can the Jaguars beat the Patriots? Not if they play as they did against the Steelers. You're not going to beat Tom Brady and the Patriots if your quarterback posts a 41.9 passer rating.
Yeah, this was a great win, but there is work to be done before this team heads into the divisional round of the playoffs. It needs to take an introspective look at the tape of the win in Pittsburgh and make the necessary corrections.
You don't dare count on getting a 96-yard kickoff return. You don't dare rely on a Brady meltdown. Nor should you expect Bill Belichick to make the critical crunch-time errors Tomlin made.