AFC Playoff Wrap-up: Wildcard Weekend

Jacksonville Jaguars 10
Buffalo Bills 3

Sunday, January 7 th , 1:05 pm EST.

I don’t want to pour salt in the wounds of the Bills Mafia, who were celebrating in all their wing- stained, beer-drenched, table-crushing glory before this game played out as the defensive slobber-knocker we expected, but seriously, this game could have gone either way. The Bills defense did exactly what it needed to do. They held Blake Bortles to eighty-seven yards passing (and weirdly, eighty-eight yards rushing) and Leonard Fournette to under sixty yards on the ground. With those numbers, I’d expect the Buffalo coaches would like their chances. The Jaguars defense just did the same exact thing, only slightly better. It might not have been a pretty offensive show, but it was tense, and it was dramatic. If not for a twice-tipped, insanely athletic interception by Jaguars cornerback Aaron Colvin and the bewilderingly aggressive
fourth-and- goal TD pass to Jaguars TE Ben Koyack, we’re very likely having a different conversation.

“Who’s Ben Koyack?”; you might ask if you haven’t been following the Jaguars this season.

“Who? I have no idea.”; Responded every single Jags fan and probably some of the executives in their offices.

Ben Koyack is a second-year tight end out of Notre Dame that the Jaguars selected with the 229 th overall pick of the 2016 draft. The game-breaking touchdown was his first this year, and only the second of his career. In fact, despite playing in every game this season, Koyack has only caught six passes…including the one-yard TD on Sunday afternoon.

Translation: The Jaguars lined up on that fourth-down play and were going for broke. It was a move that took absurd amounts of bravado, which is odd, since the offensive game plan all day was clearly “Don’t let Blake ruin this for the rest of us”.

I picked the Bills to win this one if LeSean McCoy was himself, and I think it’s clear that while he managed seventy-five yards on the ground and forty-four catching passes out of the backfield, his ankle wasn’t at full strength. He was visibly limping at times and lacked any real burst outside of a few plays. It’s a shame too, because the Bills-faithful have waited a good long time to see their team compete at this level. I think they’re only a piece, or two away from a return to the playoffs next year. The only problem might be that one of those pieces is likely to be quarterback.

Jacksonville will go on the road now and attempt to recreate their week five demolition of the Steelers. I think it’s likely that they’ll find a bit more resistance this weekend.

 

Image source: twitter.com/Jaguars

 

Tom Capo

 

Tom Capo writes about sports, parenting, food, wine and travel; but seldom all at once. He’s currently working on his first novel and collection of shorter fiction. He lives in the Bay Area with all of his girls; wife Allison, daughter Liliana and dog Artemis.

 

 

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