Jaguars show steel to defy the odds

File image of Jaguars.

American Football

Jacksonville Jaguars defied the oddsmakers to overcome the Pittsburgh Steelers 45-42 last night ot reach the AFC championship game.

Rookie running back Leonard Fournette enjoyed a night to remember, running for 109 yards and three touchdowns, Quarterback Blake Bortles added 214 yards passing and a vital fourth-quarter score as the Jags stunned the Steelers to set up a date with reigning SuperBowl champions New England Patriots.

The figures show what a shootout this game was: Steelers quarteback Ben Roethlisberger threw for 469 yards and set a franchise record with five touchdown passes, but was also intercepted once and had a fumble returned for a score. The third-seeded Jaguars (12-6) will face the Pats next week in Foxborough.

The Patriots are heading to their seventh straight AFC Championship game after brushing aside the Tennessee Titans 35-14.

Marcus Mariota found Corey Davis for a 15-yard score in the first quarter, but the Patriots then scored five touchdowns on the bounce to put the game out of reach.

James White had one in the air and one on the ground within four second-quarter minutes, and Tom Brady hit Chris Hogan with a four-yard pass to give the Patriots a 21-7 half-time lead. Brandon Bolden scored on a two-yard rush and Rob Gronkowski caught a four-yard pass from Brady, with Davis getting an 11-yard consolation touchdown with two minutes left.

Meanwhile the Philadelphia Eagles’ defence held firm as they booked their place in the NFC Championship game after beating last season’s SuperBowl finalists the Atlanta Falcons 15-10 on Saturday.

The two sides shared a pair of touchdowns and field goals in the first half — but a missed extra point gave the Falcons a 10-9 lead going into the second half.

Jake Elliott would atone for his miss with a pair of field goals from 37 and 21 yards in the second half.

Atlanta had given themselves a lifeline when Matt Ryan found Julio Jones with less than four minutes to play.

The Falcons progressed to the Eagles’ two-yard line but could not break through on fourth and goal — a pass to Jones slipped through his hands.


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