To the victors go the spoils.
Or in this case, the trash talking.
The Jacksonville Jaguars, from the team’s social media manager to the players, are having a field day calling out their detractors in light of their 45-42 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers that has them in the AFC championship for the first time in nearly 20 years.
Steelers safety Mike Mitchell was the target of much of their snark. Mitchell was quoted in a Sports Illustrated story that posted last week that Pittsburgh would beat the New England Patriots if they met them in the AFC title game. Many saw the quote as an indication that Mitchell and the Steelers were looking past the Jaguars, but Mitchell said the words last month, in the days after his team’s December 17 loss to the Patriots, before he knew Jacksonville would be in the way of another Pittsburgh-New England showdown.
But don’t tell the Jaguars that.
From the team’s official Twitter feed comes this major shade:
— z-#Sacksonville (@Jaguars) January 14, 2018
Cornerback Jalen Ramsey wouldn’t even dignify Mitchell with the respect of using his name, calling him “Mike What’s-his-name.” And he wasn’t the only Jaguars corner who used that subtle dig:
AJ Bouye on Mike Mitchell: "He doesn’t really do much over there, I guess, except for talk. So he said we’re going to know his name, I still don't remember his name. I know its Mike something. He’ll be watching us next week."
— Calvin Watkins (@calvinwatkins) January 14, 2018
Although according to Jaguars players, Mitchell stood outside the visitors’ locker room before the game proclaiming, “y’all gonna know my name” (for the record, Mitchell was credited with five total tackles in the game).
But at least one Steelers player was on the record essentially overlooking Jacksonville: late Saturday night, Le’Veon Bell tweeted, “I love round 2’s…we’ll have two round 2’s in back to back weeks…” Two of Pittsburgh’s three regular-season losses were to the Jaguars and Patriots; beating the former would have led to a rematch against the latter.
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
Linebacker Myles Jack said he was “wondering if [the Steelers] got the schedule wrong. I’m not sure they even talked about playing us,” and Barry Church quipped, “We need the notes the Steelers had on the Patriots. They were doing all that advanced scouting. We need all the notes they got.”
But perhaps the most savage takedown was reserved not for a member of the Steelers, but a player from one of the Jaguars’ AFC South rivals, Titans defensive tackle Jurrell Casey. Casey, you’ll recall, said earlier this month that if the game was on the line, Jacksonville quarterback Blake Bortles “is going to choke.”
Bortles didn’t choke on Sunday, and his teammates had his back.
As All-Pro Calais Campbell gave a stock answer about Jaguars players knowing what Bortles is capable of, Jackson spoke up with a message for Casey:
Malik Jackson on Blake Bortles:
"He's a dog. I want to know what Jurrell Casey has to say about him choking in big moments, while you sit at home and watch us next week" pic.twitter.com/TwnZO9dRmF
— Alyssa Lang (@AlyssaLang) January 14, 2018
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