Marcedes Lewis

Jaguars enter playoffs with little postseason experience

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) Malik Jackson has a Super Bowl ring at home and eight playoff games on his NFL resume.

Few others in Jacksonville’s locker room can say the same.

The Jaguars (10-6) are short on postseason experience heading into Sunday’s AFC wild-card game against Buffalo , with 11 guys having played a combined 42 playoff games. Jackson (eight) and fellow defensive lineman Calais Campbell (nine) have accounted for nearly half of those games in January and February.

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By comparison, the Bills (9-7) have 20 players with a combined 80 postseason games. And that doesn’t include quarterback Tyrod Taylor, who didn’t play in any games but won a Super Bowl as Joe Flacco‘s backup in Baltimore in 2013.

Jackson believes having “been there, done that” matters and plans to do all he can to help his teammates get a grasp on what to expect.

“It’s definitely a big deal,” Jackson said Monday. “I think being able to have playoff experience just to pass that knowledge to the younger players and to people who haven’t done it is important. This can be overwhelming for some. We have a lot of guys that haven’t been here before, so it can be overwhelming.

“We just have to understand to take it day by day and treat it just like the last 16 or 17 weeks. I think we’ll be good.”

Like Jackson and Campbell, punter Brad Nortman (six) and linebacker Lerentee McCray (four) played in more than three playoffs games before joining the Jaguars.

Cornerback A.J. Bouye and safety Barry Church played in three postseason games elsewhere. Running back Chris Ivory, right tackle Jermey Parnell and cornerback Tyler Patmon have played in two, and tight end James O'Shaughnessy has one.

The lone holdover from Jacksonville’s last postseason run is tight end Marcedes Lewis, who played at Pittsburgh and at New England in January 2008.

“Back when I was a young buck,” Lewis recalled. “A lot has happened between then and now.”

The Jaguars were an NFL-worst 17-63 over the previous five seasons. They enjoyed one of the league’s best turnarounds this season even though they went 3-3 down the stretch and enter the postseason with a two-game losing streak.

Still, the won the AFC South and earned their first postseason berth since 2007 and first home playoff game in 18 years.

“This is the start of a different type of season,” coach Doug Marrone said. “This is 12 teams, six in the AFC and six in the NFC. Every one of those teams has overcome something during the year and has earned the right to be here. Every one of those teams is dangerous, and it comes down to how you perform on that Sunday.”

Like most of his roster, this will be Marrone’s first playoff game in three full seasons as an NFL head coach. He was offensive coordinator for New Orleans in 2006 when the Saints made it to the NFC championship game.

“Anytime you have experience of something, it’s good,” Marrone said. “This way, as you’re up there as a coach or you’re trying to make sure you have your team focused in the direction you want to go, when you’re not around your team and the player sitting next to someone, `Hey, what is this like and that?’ You have that experience in your locker room. I think that’s important.”

Jackson hopes to answer those questions as much as possible this week.

“If anybody wants to listen,” he said. “We have a lot of guys that have at least been to one playoff game, so I think we’ll be able to pass our knowledge down and it’ll be heard very well.”

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Jaguars beat Seahawks 30-24, take outright lead in AFC South

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Blake Bortles threw two perfect passes for touchdowns, Jaydon Mickens set up another score with a 72-yard punt return and the Jacksonville Jaguars beat the Seattle Seahawks 30-24 on Sunday.

The Jaguars (9-4) intercepted three passes by Russell Wilson, including two on deep balls, and won for the sixth time in their last seven games. This victory, coupled with Tennessee’s loss at Arizona, moved Jacksonville atop the AFC South.

It’s the first time since 2010 that the Jaguars have had the outright division lead this late in a season.

The loss didn’t sit well with the Seahawks (8-5), who had two players ejected in the final minute. Defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson was ejected for throwing a punch during a melee that included defensive tackle Michael Bennett and Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette.

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More pushing and shoving occurred after the next play, and defensive end Quinton Jefferson was tossed. Jefferson tried to climb into the stands after getting hit with what looked like a plastic bottle. Seattle coach Pete Carroll also got flagged for coming onto the field. Carroll walked into Seattle’s huddle, possibly to calm his players down.

The ending did little to ruin Jacksonville’s celebration, which had a lot to do with Bortles and the league’s top-ranked defense.

Coming off one of the best games of his career, a 30-10 victory against Indianapolis, Bortles was equally efficient and effective against the Seahawks.

Two of his better throws ended up in the end zone. He floated an 18-yarder early in the third quarter to rookie Dede Westbrook, the first for the 2016 Heisman Trophy finalist. Bortles’ second one was even better, a deep pass that hit Keelen Cole in stride and went for 75 yards.

Cole’s second touchdown in as many weeks came on the ensuing play after Wilson connected with Doug Baldwin for a 26-yard score that tied it at 10.

Jacksonville’s third-quarter surge wasn’t done. Mickens zigzagged through the middle of Seattle’s coverage team and ended up getting stopped at the 1-yard line. Leonard Fournette handled it from there, scoring for the ninth time this season.

That was enough – just barely – for Jacksonville’s defense.

Trailing 27-10, Wilson avoided a sack and hit Paul Richardson for a 61-yard score. Down 30-17, Wilson connected with Tyler Lockett for a 74-yarder.

Wilson had a final chance to rally his team, but he failed to convert a fourth-and-9 pass from the Seattle 43.

Fournette iced the victory by gaining 13 yards on a third-and-11 play with less than 2 minutes remaining.

RARE MISTAKES

Wilson’s early mistakes left Seattle in a huge hole. It was the first time this season and the fourth time in 105 career games that Wilson threw three interceptions. It was his first game with three or more picks since throwing five against Green Bay in December 2016.

INJURIES

Seahawks: All-everything LB Bobby Wagner left the game in the third quarter with a hamstring injury and did not return. … LB K.J. Wright (concussion) left the field late in the third quarter and was ruled out. … RB Mike Davis (ribs) was knocked out briefly but returned.

Jaguars: RB Corey Grant injured his right shoulder while fumbling a kickoff. … TE Marcedes Lewis jammed a finger on his left hand. … WR Larry Pinkard left in the second quarter while being evaluated for a concussion and was ruled out at halftime. Jaguars played without speedy LB Telvin Smith (concussion).

UP NEXT

Seahawks: Host the Los Angeles Rams in game that could help determine the NFC West champion.

Jaguars: Wrap up a three-game homestand against Houston.

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