Jaguars withstand late rally, topple Steelers 45-42

Leonard Fournette ran for three touchdowns, Telvin Smith returned a fumble 50 yards for a score and the Jacksonville Jaguars beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 45-42 in the divisional round of the AFC playoffs at Heinz Field on Sunday.

Jacksonville advanced to the AFC Championship for the first time since 1999 and will face New England, which dominated Tennessee 35-14 on Saturday.

Fournette finished with 109 yards on 25 carries. He left in the second quarter with an ankle injury but returned in the second half.

Steelers receiver Antonio Brown made his first appearance since Dec. 17 when he injured his left calf against the Patriots. He still managed to lead the league with 1,533 receiving yards despite missing the final two games of the season.

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Brown finished with 132 yards on seven receptions with two touchdowns.

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was 37-of-58 and set a franchise playoff record with 469 yards. He also threw for five touchdowns with an interception.

The game was a rematch from Week 5 when Jacksonville dismantled Pittsburgh 30-9, also at Heinz Field. This time, Jacksonville led by 21 points twice in the first-half lead and then withstood a late rally.

The Steelers pulled to within 28-21 on a 19-yard touchdown pass from Roethlisberger to Le'Veon Bell with 9:09 left in the third quarter.

The Jaguars regained the momentum by forcing an incomplete pass on a 4th-and-1 at their own 39 early in the fourth quarter. Blake Bortles threw a 45-yard pass to Keelan Cole to the 3-yard line, setting up Fournette's third touchdown of the game.

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Jan 14, 2018; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette (27) carries the ball past Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Sean Spence (51) during the fourth quarter in the AFC Divisional Playoff game at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 14, 2018; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown (84) celebrates after scoring a touchdown during the fourth quarter against the Jacksonville Jaguars in the AFC Divisional Playoff game at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 14, 2018; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Keelan Cole (84) catches a pass between Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Artie Burns (25) and Steelers cornerback Joe Haden (21) during the second half in the AFC Divisional Playoff game at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 14, 2018; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette (27) carries the ball to score a touchdown against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the second half in the AFC Divisional Playoff game at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 14, 2018; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Eli Rogers (17) catches the ball over Jacksonville Jaguars outside linebacker Telvin Smith (50) in front of Jaguars free safety Tashaun Gipson (39) during the first half in the AFC Divisional Playoff game at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 14, 2018; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette (27) carries the ball past Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Sean Spence (51) and Steelers outside linebacker T.J. Watt (90) during the first half in the AFC Divisional Playoff game at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 14, 2018; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) prepares to throw the ball as Steelers offensive tackle Marcus Gilbert (77) blocks Jacksonville Jaguars defensive tackle Malik Jackson (97) during the first quarter in the AFC Divisional Playoff game at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 14, 2018; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars tight end Ben Koyack (83) carries the ball as Pittsburgh Steelers inside linebacker Vince Williams (98) and Steelers cornerback Artie Burns (25) defend during the first quarter in the AFC Divisional Playoff game at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 8, 2017; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell (26) rushes the ball against Jacksonville Jaguars strong safety Barry Church (42) during the third quarter at Heinz Field. Jacksonville won 30-9. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 14, 2018; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette (27) carries the ball to score a touchdown past Pittsburgh Steelers free safety J.J. Wilcox (27) during the first quarter in the AFC Divisional Playoff game at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 14, 2018; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown (84) catches the ball in front of Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback A.J. Bouye (21) to score a touchdown during the first half in the AFC Divisional Playoff game at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 14, 2018; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles (5) prepares to throw the ball during the first quarter in the AFC Divisional Playoff game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
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The Steelers would not go away, and Roethlisberger threw a 43-yard touchdown pass to Brown on a 4th-and-5, cutting the margin to 35-28 with 9:05 left in the game. Bortles answered with a 14-yard touchdown pass to Tommy Bohanon.

Pittsburgh refused to quit, and a lateral by Roethlisberger to Bell set up an 8-yard score that pulled the Steelers to 42-35. The Jaguars recovered the onside kick and sealed the game on a 45-yard field goal by Josh Lambo.

Roethlisberger rounded out the scoring with a 4-yard pass to JuJu Smith-Schuster with one second left.

Bortles completed 14 of 26 pass attempts for 214 yards with the touchdown.

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The Jaguars took a 7-0 lead on the game's opening possession on a 1-yard run by Fournette on a 4th-and-goal. An interception by Myles Jack set up an 18-yard touchdown by Fournette, stunning the sell-out crowd.

Jacksonville stuffed Bell for a 4-yard loss on a 4th-and-1 at the Jaguars' 25 on the ensuing drive. This led to a 4-yard scoring run by T.J. Yeldon, boosting the lead to 21-0 with 11:31 left in the half. Pittsburgh finally got on the board on a 23-yard touchdown pass from Roethlisberger to Brown.

The Jaguars regained the momentum when Yannick Ngakoue strip-sacked Roethlisberger and Smith picked up the loose ball and ran 50 yards for the score and a 28-7 lead. Roethlisberger answered on the next drive with a 36-yard touchdown pass to Martavis Bryant on a 4th-and-11 that cut the margin to 14 at the half.

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