JACKSONVILLE – It wasn't easy, and that's OK.
When Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone spoke Sunday after a 10-3 victory over the Buffalo Bills in an AFC Wild Card playoff game at EverBank Field, that was maybe the biggest takeaway.
No, the Jaguars' first postseason victory in a decade wasn't easy.
But that didn't concern Marrone.
"Playoff football is about you just going out there to win," Marrone said after the Jaguars produced 230 yards and 15 first downs offensively against the Bills. "No one is trying to win a beauty contest."
Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles rushed for 88 yards, but completed just 12 of 23 passes for 87 yards and a touchdown. Jaguars running backs rushed for just 62 yards on 23 carries, and the offense produced just 230 total yards.
"That's usually not ideal for a quarterback but it is what it is," Bortles said of rushing for more yards than he had passing. "I wanted to make sure that whatever happened today, if we were going to get beat or if something bad was going to happen, it was going to be with us going down swinging, using every option that we could."
Images of the Jaguars Wild Card PLayoff game against the Buffalo Bills.
Despite the defense allowing just 263 total yards, the game remained in doubt until the final series. That was when Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey intercepted Bills backup quarterback Nathan Peterman to secure the victory in the Jaguars' first postseason game at EverBank Field since January 2000.
The Jaguars (11-6) will visit the Pittsburgh Steelers (13-3) in an AFC Divisional Playoff in Pittsburgh next Sunday.
"Each week it's a different story in what you want to do," Marrone said. "It's a difficult time. It's tough football. Each week is going to be geared toward doing the best job you can, but it still goes back to the same thing we've been talking about all year: It's going to be your performance on that day, and what you are able to do, so obviously we're going to have to do some better things going forward."
Bortles and Marrone both mentioned wind as a factor Sunday. It was listed as being 18 mph hour at kickoff, and Marrone said he believed it was a factor for both teams. "It moved the ball a couple of times," Bortles said. "I was trying to figure out the wind a little bit, but it's part of football. When you play outside the weather is going to be a factor. It will be a factor next week, I'm sure, in Pittsburgh so it's not an excuse."
The Jaguars' best offensive drive Sunday resulted in the touchdown that proved to be the difference: a one-yard pass from Bortles to tight end Ben Koyack on fourth-and-1 .The play capped a 15-play, 86-yard drive, with the touchdown coming one play after rookie running back Leonard Fournette's dive over the top on 3rd-and-goal was stopped for no gain. "I actually thought it was going to come in on third down because we had talked about that being our first play down on the goal line," Bortles said of the touchdown to Koyack. "I asked [Jaguars offensive coordinator] Nate [Hackett] why he didn't call it on the first time and I guess Doug had already told him that he had two downs, so he was saving it for the fourth down if we didn't get in." Bortles said the Jaguars installed the touchdown play this week in practice.
"No matter what happens, he [Bortles] finds a way. No matter what happens during the course of a game, he has that belief that he can go down and lead us on any given drive. He wasn't able to get it done in the passing game, but that's on all of us. He made a lot of plays with his legs to continue drives."
--Jaguars WR Allen Hurns
"We get to play again. It's all you can ask for."
"Everything is not perfect. He [Bortles] finds a way to keep fighting through. He blocks out all the noise. It shows you how tough he is. Things aren't perfect but he keeps fighting. He has grit."
--Jaguars CB A.J. Bouye
"There's not a lot of people outside of [12-year veteran] Marcedes [Lewis] that have ever seen the stadium like that. I think for us to run out of the tunnel and see all of those people there and for the first time since I've been here to see the tarps taken off of the upper deck in the corners was special. It was cool to be able to do this in front of our home crowd in Jacksonville, our stadium. Everyone knows it hasn't been done in a long time so it was really special to be able to do that."
"It was emotional going through the national anthem and looking around and you see the playoffs and wild-card logos and I was like, 'Man, all these teams are at home and we're playing.' I remember last year watching the playoffs so this is a blessing to be in and to be able to capitalize on this opportunity and keep going. I think it's a beautiful thing."
--Jaguars LB Myles Jack
"I don't care what people call it. We got a playoff point. We are going to come in here for another week while other teams are sitting home."
--Jaguars CB Jalen Ramsey on Sunday's victory being "ugly"