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Steady as they go


Jack Del Rio was in a subdued mood when he met with reporters on Monday, about 24 hours after the Jaguars' rousing, 29-22 win in Pittsburgh.

"Good, hard-fought victory. We knew it would be physical and it was," Del Rio told reporters.

The Jaguars head coach made sure he presented a focused appearance for this Sunday's game against visiting Oakland, no doubt guarding against a hangover from what is being perceived as the Jaguars' most intoxicating win of the season. It's a win that is causing the Jaguars to be trumpeted nationally as a serious Super Bowl contender.

"There are some things we need to clean up. You have to get a point there; we botched a couple of those," Del Rio said of the Jaguars' two failed extra-point attempts. They allowed the Steelers to tie the game at 22-22 with a two-point conversion.

Another area of special teams in need of clean up is the punting, at which rookie punter Adam Podlesh is ranked 24th in the league with a 35.7 net-punting average. Podlesh struggled with the weather conditions in Pittsburgh, punting five times for a 29.0 gross average and a 26.6 net average.

"He'll learn from the experience. I expect him to be better the next time out in those elements," Del Rio said of Podlesh.

The Jaguars' pride for their performance in Pittsburgh is for the team's ability to dominate the line of scrimmage. The Jaguars out-rushed the Steelers, 224-111, and scored the winning points on a drive that was heavy with running plays.

"We've consciously built a football team that can compete in any environment; can play when it's hot, play indoors, play outside when it's cold," Del Rio said.

The temperature at Heinz Field was 35 degrees at kickoff, and the conditions included wind and snow. They are conditions the Jaguars are likely to face in the playoffs, when they would be likely to play in either Pittsburgh or Cleveland in the first round, and in New England in the second round.

With a win over the visiting Raiders this Sunday, the Jaguars will clinch the fifth seed in the AFC playoffs. Del Rio made sure he put all of his emphasis on the Raiders.

"We've had 14 big games this year. We've been able to win 10 of them. This will be a 15th big game," Del Rio said. "We're getting ready to play the Raiders. We're not going to focus on things we don't have control over. That's how we're going to approach it."

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