Jaguars, Bortles struggle, but get past Bills in AFC wild card

Jacksonville moves on to play Pittsburgh

Jacksonville tight end Ben Koyackspikes the ball after catching a one-yard touchdown pass from Blake Bortles in the third quarter Sunday against the Buffalo Bills. (Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

After a moribund first-half performance, quarterback Blake Bortles put together a 15-play drive in the third quarter that led to the only touchdown of the game and the Jacksonville Jaguars hung on to beat the Buffalo Bills 10-3 in an AFC wildcard game Sunday in Jacksonville.

The Jaguars' recorded seven first downs on the 86-yard drive, which ended with a 1-yard touchdown pass from Bortles to Ben Koyack with less than a minute left in the quarter.

The two teams, which combined for less than 500 yards total offense in the game, traded field goals late in the second quarter and went into the locker room at the half tied 3-3.

Buffalo, which squeezed into the playoffs when Cincinnati upset Baltimore in the last week of the season, settled for Stephen Hauschka’s 31-yard field goal after blowing a first-and-goal at the one-yard line following a Jaguar penalty. But receiver Kelvin Benjamin was called for offensive pass interference in the end zone.

The Jaguars tied the game after taking over at their own 47 yard line with 40 seconds remaining in the half. Bortles scrambled twice for first downs to get within field goal range for Josh Lambo, who connected from 44 yards with 2 seconds left. 

Bortles was 12 of 23 for just 87 yards passing, but had 88 years on the ground for the Jaguars, who finished the regular season at 10-6 and were hosting their first home playoff game since January 2008. 

Appearing in the playoffs for the first time since 1999, Buffalo had a final chance to score with less than two minutes remaining, but quarterback Tyrod Taylor was forced to the sidelines after a hard hit by Dante Fowler Jr. With 1:27 remaining, backup Nathan Peterman came on and ran for 4 yards to pick up a first down. But three plays later, Jalen Ramsey picked off a Peterman pass at the Jaguars' 47 yard line.

The Jaguars ran out the clock and will take on the second-seeded Steelers next week in Pittsburgh.