JACKSONVILLE – Up next for the Jaguars: Steel town.
The Jaguars will play the Pittsburgh Steelers in an AFC Divisional Playoff game Sunday, a game that on Monday quickly became the focus in the wake of the Jaguars' first postseason victory in a decade.
The recent words of Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who last week said he wanted to play the Jaguars in this round of the postseason.
"Be careful what you wish for," Jaguars cornerback A.J. Bouye said Monday, a day after the Jaguars beat the Buffalo Bills 10-3 in an AFC Wild Card Playoff game at EverBank Field.
"This is what he said he wanted, so this is what he's going to get."
Sunday was the Jaguars' first postseason victory in a decade, and set up a matchup of the third-seeded Jaguars (11-6) and second-seeded Steelers (13-3) at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh Sunday at 1:05 p.m.
"It only gets harder," Jaguars defensive end Calais Campbell said. "It's not easy. That's why whoever is crowned Super Bowl champion at the end of the year, you have so much respect for those guys. You know how hard it is. No matter who it is, at home or on the road, in the playoffs the games are tougher each and every week."
The Jaguars beat the Steelers, 30-9, in Week 5 with Roethlisberger in that game throwing a career-high five interceptions. Roethlisberger told a radio show last week he wants to play the Jaguars to prove the performance "wasn't me."
The Jaguars returned two of those interceptions for touchdowns and Jaguars rookie running back Leonard Fournette rushed for a season-high 181 yards and a 90-yard touchdown.
"At the end of the day, in the playoffs it's a whole different ball game," Campbell said. "The first game doesn't matter any at all. They know that and we know that. It's going to be interesting."
The Jaguars game was by far the Steelers' most-one-sided loss of the season. The Steelers also lost 23-17 in overtime to Chicago and 27-24 to defending Super Bowl champion New England.
The AFC North Champion Steelers have won 10 of 11 games since losing to the Jaguars. The AFC South Champion Jaguars have won eight of 12 games since that meeting.
"Making it to the playoffs wasn't enough for us," Jaguars wide receiver Allen Hurns said. "It was a huge accomplishment. We haven't been in a while. But we feel like if we don't go all the way it will be a disappointment."
*Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue on Monday said he stood by a tweet sent Sunday night regarding Bills guard Richie Incognito. In the tweet, Ngakoue said "… 64 (Incognito), you going to have to come harder than some weak racist slur." Said Ngakoue on Monday, "I've been playing this game, what, 12 or 13 years – and I've never encountered nothing like that." Ngakoue declined to specify the word Incognito said, saying "He knows what he said; I don't have to repeat it" and adding, "I'm not shocked. Look at the world we live. I'm not shocked. It is what it is." …
*Campbell said while he didn't hear what Incognito said, the Bills' offensive linemen on Sunday "were really trying to get us to lose our cool. There were a lot of guys talking as if it was coached to try to get us to lose our cool so we would get a 15-yard penalty. I think that's what we're going to have to deal with because we've shown we can be a little too aggressive at times. That can go too far, though. I understand wanting to give yourself an advantage, and trying to egg [an opponent] on to get a penalty. I understand that. But there are boundaries. You don't go to racial slurs. That's not OK." Campbell was asked if Bills linemen directed slurs toward him. "No," he said. "I don't think guys expect me to lose my cool." …
*Campbell said there was more trash-talking than normal from Bills offensive linemen. "It was multiple players in the third quarter. I believe they were trying to antagonize us to get a penalty," he said, adding that Ngakoue did an admirable job avoiding a penalty: "I was very impressed with him keeping his poise. He's really matured a lot over the year.'' …
*Center Brandon Linder said the offense remains confident despite producing just 230 yards and one touchdown Sunday. The Jaguars' No. 1-ranked rushing offense rushed for 155 yards Sunday, but 88 of those yards came on 10 runs by quarterback Blake Bortles. "It was kind of a weird game," Linder said. "Blake was able to pull it out and start running with his feet. It was one of those games where you didn't know what was clicking. But on to the next week." …
*Defensive tackle Abry Jones on how he spent Sunday evening: "I stayed up until like one in the morning watching ESPN reruns. Not many times you hear the word 'playoffs' and 'Jaguars.' I lit that up for the whole night. I woke up and realized we've got another week, so that made me feel better." …