The Jacksonville Jaguars played the role of spoiler Sunday in a 45-42 upset of the Pittsburgh Steelers that sent the Jaguars to the AFC Championship for the first time in 18 years. But the Jaguars players are pissed off that anybody thought of them as underdogs in the first place.
After all, this was the same Jaguars team that traveled to Pittsburgh in October and handed the Steelers a 30-9 loss.
The Steelers felt plenty confident after winning 10 of their last 11 games in the regular season. So much so that a few Pittsburgh players seemed to glance right past the Jaguars and instead looked forward to a rematch with the New England Patriots.
Jags CB Jalen Ramsey: “I was wondering why they were so confident. We stung their ass last time.” ...Were they mad about the disrespect? “We don’t give a f***. We really don’t care.”— Jeff Darlington (@JeffDarlington) January 14, 2018
After the win, the Jaguars let the world know that they saw all of the Steelers’ comments.
Mike Mitchell had a lot to say before the game
The feelings of disrespect seemed to stem most from comments made by Steelers safety Mike Mitchell. In an interview with Sports Illustrated, Mitchell sounded like a player who dismissed any chance of the Jaguars pulling off the win and keeping Pittsburgh from a rematch against the New England Patriots.
“We’re going to play [the Patriots] again,” Mitchell told SI. “We can play them in hell, we can play them in Haiti, we can play them in New England. . . . We’re gonna win.”
He also got the Jaguars fired up when he talked trash in front of the team’s locker room before kickoff Sunday.
Steelers S Mike Mitchell stood outside Jags locker room before game talking smack: "Ya'll gonna know my name," Jags players reported he said.— Calvin Watkins (@calvinwatkins) January 14, 2018
After the game, Jacksonville players were yelling out for the safety on their way to the locker room. Defensive lineman Malik Jackson led the charge with shouts of “Where’s Mitchell?! I want to see Mitchell right now!”
This team is GASSED. UP.— Alyssa Lang (@AlyssaLang) January 14, 2018
And there’s someone Malik Jackson would like to see...... #Jaguars pic.twitter.com/BOVjUeoSDt
Even the Jaguars’ official Twitter account got in on the fun.
You can play them on @EAMaddenNFL all offseason. #DTWD https://t.co/ykG44quI7d— z-#Sacksonville (@Jaguars) January 14, 2018
It wasn’t the greatest game for Mitchell, who was on the receiving end of a huge block from Jaguars running back T.J. Yeldon. Three months ago, he was run over by the Jaguars’ Leonard Fournette.
Sunday was a day to forget for Mitchell, but he wasn’t the only one who disrespected the Jaguars.
Le’Veon Bell’s tweets didn’t go unnoticed
Like Mitchell, Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell was also looking forward to another shot at the Patriots.
I love round 2’s...we’ll have two round 2’s in back to back weeks...— Le'Veon Bell (@L_Bell26) January 14, 2018
That tweet was apparently passed around the Jaguars locker room with a few defensive players mentioning it after the game.
Calais said they all saw Le’Veon Bell’s tweet last night about Round 2 after #Patriots win. “You’ve got to earn it.”— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) January 14, 2018
Myles Jack on whether he saw Bell’s tweet: “Oh, for sure. Yannick (Ngakoue) had actually screenshotted it for me.”— Sean Gentille (@seangentille) January 14, 2018
The Jaguars’ mascot even chimed in.
Delete your account https://t.co/7Y5IbDqLFn— Jaxson de Ville (@JaxsonDeVille) January 14, 2018
Bell finished with 67 rushing yards, 88 receiving yards, and a pair of touchdowns, so it wasn’t a poor showing for the All-Pro running back. But he’ll have to wait until next year — if he plays — to hope for another chance at the Patriots.
The Jaguars took out their frustrations on the whole Steelers team
The win Sunday was the Jaguars’ second of the season at Heinz Field — a feat that only the 2007 Jaguars have ever accomplished before. And they didn’t have many nice things to say about the Steelers after the game.
Malik Jackson--"For them to talk like we didn't smack them in the mouth the first time, it meant a lot to us and it disrespected us."— Tim Benz (@TimBenzPGH) January 14, 2018
More from Jackson--..."They received an ass kicking and acted like they didn't get their asses kicked so we did it again. Now they are gonna have a long offseason & worry abt how the Jags kicked their ass."— Tim Benz (@TimBenzPGH) January 14, 2018
#Jaguars nose tackle Marcell Dareus listening in on Calais Campbell interview talking about beating #Steelers: “Stop saying great. You can’t say they a great team cuz they got their ass whooped today.”— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) January 14, 2018
Jacksonville and Pittsburgh will meet again in 2018, although it’ll be a home game for the Jaguars.
The Jaguars have had a chip on their shoulder all year
The Steelers weren’t even the only team in the crosshairs of the Jaguars after the win, though. Defensive lineman Malik Jackson interrupted an interview with Calais Campbell to bring up comments made by Tennessee Titans defensive tackle Jurrell Casey, who said Blake Bortles will “choke” if the game is in his hands.
Great quote from Jackson/Campbell sticking up for Bortles.— Alyssa Lang (@AlyssaLang) January 14, 2018
(Jaguars asked me to remove video per team policy. No locker room video on social media ) pic.twitter.com/nZAzYD2INf
Riding an underdog wave isn’t a story unique to the Jaguars. The Philadelphia Eagles felt disrespected too and used those feelings as fuel to beat the Atlanta Falcons on Saturday.
But the Jaguars were already one of the most emotional teams in the league that plays with an “us against the world” mentality.
Telvin Smith was fired up as we spoke on the field after the #Jaguars stunned the #Steelers: “All the doubt — it’s fueling us. It’s fueling us. Bring it! More doubt!” @nflnetwork pic.twitter.com/VDmc9lk9Nv— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) January 14, 2018
The last thing the Steelers needed to do was throw more gasoline on that fire.
It’s on to New England next where the Jaguars will be an even bigger underdog in the AFC Championship. But Jacksonville is feeling confident. Jalen Ramsey even told Jaguars fans Sunday night that the Lombardi Trophy is only a few weeks away.
"We goin' to the Super Bowl. AND we gon' win that b---h"— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) January 15, 2018
-- Jalen Ramsey to the crowd of Jaguars fans at EverBank Field pic.twitter.com/fE2jSx3Pj1
Patriots probably won’t make the mistake of poking at the already spicy Jaguars.