The Jacksonville Jaguars are heading to the AFC Championship Game for just the third time in the franchise’s history following a 45-42 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday.
The Jaguars were underdogs heading into the game, with a lot of the talk throughout the week focusing on the potential — and what most thought would be eventual — conference championship rematch between the Steelers and the New England Patriots.
Jaguars defensive end Calais Campbell had other thoughts.
In fact, the former University of Miami standout actually predicted the score a week ago.
Premium content for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
“We’ll do whatever it takes. We just try to win whatever way we can,” Campbell told NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero. “Playing one play at a time and execute. I’ll take it 2-0 if it comes that way or 45-42 if it comes that way.”
It turns out the latter score was right on the money after the Steelers found life late.
The Jaguars jumped out to a 28-7 lead late in the first half before the Steelers scored 14 unanswered points to make it 28-21 heading into the fourth quarter.
Then the shootout began.
Two touchdowns apiece brought the score to 42-35 Jacksonville with 2:18 left to play. A 45-yard field goal from Jacksonville’s Josh Lambo with 1:45 remaining on the clock gave the Jaguars a 45-35 lead that essentially secured the victory.
A last-second touchdown pass from Ben Roethlisberger to JuJu Smith-Schuster closed scoring at 45-42 with one second remaining.
Just as Campbell predicted it.
Rookie running back Leonard Fournette carried the load of the offense with 109 rushing yards and three touchdowns. Quarterback Blake Bortles completed 14 of 26 pass attempts for 214 yards and another touchdown. The defense sacked Roethlisberger twice and forced a pair of turnovers, including a fumble recovery by Telvin Smith that was returned 50 yards for a touchdown.
“As long as we win,” Campbell said. “I’m happy.”
And one more win puts the Jaguars into their first Super Bowl in franchise history. That win, however, has to come against the New England Patriots. The game is set to kick off at 3:05 p.m. Sunday in Gillette Stadium.