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At the time the score looked like a misprint.

Jacksonville 30. Pittsburgh 9 .

On the road.

A result so stunningly one-sided Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger stood in the locker room on that gray October afternoon only half-jokingly wondered if he still had ”it.”

Throwing five interceptions Pernell McPhee Color Rush Jersey , two of which the Jaguars returned for momentum-swinging, confidence-sapping touchdowns, will do that.

Yet Roethlisberger insists he’s not out for revenge in the rematch on Sunday when the Jaguars (11-6) visit Heinz Field in the divisional round with a trip to the AFC title game on the line.

There’s too much at stake for him to settle some sort of personal vendetta.

Or so he says.

”I’ll play anyone in the postseason,” Roethlisberger said.

Only Jacksonville isn’t ”anyone.” Not anymore. Not after the NFL’s top-ranked defense proved that breakout performance three months ago was a sign of things to come.

The Jaguars don’t play a particularly pretty brand of football. They also don’t particularly care.

Doubt them all you want. Mock their offense at your leisure.

Last they checked, there will be 24 teams watching the playoffs this weekend and Jacksonville isn’t one of them.

”We’ve just got to score one more point than they do,” Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles said.

”It doesn’t matter who scores it, where it comes from, how we do it, what it looks like, we score one more than them and I’m happy with how we did it.”

Bortles and the other 52 guys on the roster might be the only ones.

The Steelers (13-3) entered the season as one of the favorites to reach the Super Bowl.

Despite a fall filled with drama (much of it self-created) Pittsburgh was really only pushed around once. By the Jaguars.

Take Jacksonville lightly at your peril, something the Steelers found out on Oct. 8.

”Some people come in thinking a team may be easier by their record or tougher by their record, but we know that can’t be on our mind,” Pittsburgh running back Le’Veon Bell said.

”I think that kind of got us in the first game because the Jacksonville Jaguars, they’re normally not a good team but those guys got players this year. They’ve been making plays.”

If the Jaguars can do it for another 60 minutes, they’ll reach the NFL’s final four for just the third time in franchise history.

Yes, really.

Some things to look for as the Jaguars try to pull off a second stunner against a team that believes its season is destined to end with a trip to Minneapolis for the Super Bowl.

AB’s BACK: Pittsburgh All-Pro wide receiver Antonio Brown is expected to play after missing the final 2+ games of the regular season with a left calf contusion. Brown practiced all week, though he was sent home on Friday because of an illness.

Brown caught 10 passes for 157 yards in the first meeting with Jacksonville and his return means all of Pittsburgh’s ”Killer Bs” will be ready to go.

”If he’s out there, I expect him to be AB,” Steelers cornerback Joe Haden said.

LEONARD’S LEAP: Jaguars rookie running back Leonard Fournette hammered the Steelers for a season-high 181 yards in October, including a 2-yard touchdown leap and a 90-yard sprint to the end zone in the final two minutes that sealed it. Fournette’s production has dipped in recent weeks. He’s only averaged higher than 3.9 yards per carry once over the past eight weeks, though Bortles doesn’t think Fournette has smacked into the rookie wall.

”There has obviously been some hiccups and bumps in the road with different things,” Bortles said. ”It’s not on him, it’s on guys up front, it’s on me getting us in the right play, receivers blocking. It’s on everyone.”

CHILL OUT DUDE: Temperatures are expected to be in the teens at kickoff, a decided departure for the Jaguars.

While Jacksonville coach Doug Marrone downplayed the elements, Bell believes he has an advantage when the mercury drops.

A year ago against Miami in the wild-card round Russell Bodine Color Rush Jersey , he pounded the Dolphins for 167 yards and two touchdowns as the temperature hovered around 17 degrees.

”It definitely affects guys who are tackling,” Bell said. ”That’s why when it’s cold outside I take a lot of pride because I know guys don’t want to tackle.”

COACH SHAY: Injured Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier spent some time at the team’s facility this week, getting around in a wheelchair while recovering from spinal stabilization surgery last month following a hit against Cincinnati that left his lower body motionless.

Shazier’s presence has provided the Steelers with a boost, and while his football career is likely over, he remains intent on finding a way to contribute. Shazier, who would get to work as early as 6 a.m. to break down film when he was playing, is now serving as equal parts advance scout and motivational speaker.

”He loves football so much,” guard David DeCastro said. ”It’s amazing to see and just to have the attitude he has after all he’s been through man, it’s pretty impressive. I don’t know if I’d be able to do the same.”



First, it was third-string catcher Kyle Higashioka getting the silent treatment in the dugout after a home run. Then, the same for Aaron Hicks when he hit homer No. 3.

On a 91-degree night with the pennant race heating up, the New York Yankees enjoyed some more yucks against their biggest rival.

Hicks launched three home runs and the Yankees pummeled David Price again, connecting five times in the first four innings Sunday on the way to an 11-1 rout of the Boston Red Sox.

”It feels awesome,” Hicks said. ”I blacked out after the third one. Kind of didn’t know what to do. But I mean, it’s exciting.”

Luis Severino became the first 13-game winner in the majors, cruising through 6 2/3 shutout innings of two-hit ball after the Bronx Bombers quickly built him a big cushion. With the teams trading blowouts all weekend, the Yankees (54-27) took two of three from Boston to regain baseball’s best record and first place in the AL East.

”It’s going to be a dogfight. We have a good team, they have a good team,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. ”A weird series, honestly. It was very weird. Weird games.”

Aaron Judge and Gleyber Torres also homered for New York, which leads the 19-game season series 5-4. The next time the teams meet is early August at Fenway Park.

”I’m sure it’s going to be a fun few months,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said.

The first Yankees leadoff batter to hit three home runs in a game, Hicks connected twice from the right side of the plate and once from the left. He smacked a two-run shot to right field in the second inning and a solo drive to center in the fourth that chased Price (9-6) and made it 8-0.

Hicks pulled his 14th of the season into the right-field stands in the eighth off Hector Velazquez. It was the first three-homer game by a Yankees player since Alex Rodriguez, part of the ESPN broadcast crew Sunday, accomplished the feat at Minnesota in July 2015.

The only other Yankees hitter to go deep three times at the current Yankee Stadium was Curtis Granderson in April 2012 against the Twins.

Judge had three hits and scored three times. Torres socked a three-run shot that gave New York a 4-0 lead in the first, and the Yankees finished with a season-high six homers to boost their major league-leading total to 137, setting a franchise record for before the All-Star break.

Exactly halfway through its season Phillip Gaines Color Rush Jersey , New York is on pace to surpass the 1997 Seattle Mariners’ mark of 264 homers.

”That’s probably as good a night as we’ve had all year,” Boone said. ”Obviously, a big series to grab it on Sunday here. That’s a peak at what we can do.”

Higashioka homered into the second deck in left field off Price for his first major league hit after an 0-for-22 start to his career. Higashioka, wearing No. 66 in pinstripes, received the silent treatment when he returned to the bench before happy teammates finally engulfed him.

”The feeling is indescribable,” Higashioka said at his locker, the team’s championship belt for the night draped over his chair. ”I laughed. I didn’t expect that, but I mean, obviously it was amazing. It was just a great feeling.”

Price was rocked for eight earned runs – matching a career high – and nine hits in 3 1/3 innings, his latest flop against the Yankees. He had never given up more than three homers in a game.

Severino (13-2) lowered his AL-leading ERA to 1.98 and improved to 8-0 at home this season. He walked off to a standing ovation from the sellout crowd of 46,795 and tipped his cap , right on track to become the first Yankees pitcher to start the All-Star Game since Roger Clemens in 2001.

”It means a lot,” Severino said. ”Facing the Red Sox is one of the best things in baseball.”

Boston (56-29) was outhit 16-4 and didn’t score until the ninth.

THE PRICE IS WRONG

Making his 40th career appearance (39th start) vs. the Yankees, Price fell to 2-6 with an 8.43 ERA in nine starts against them since signing a $217 million contract with Boston before the 2016 season. He has faced New York twice this year, allowing 12 earned runs in 4 1/3 innings, and is 0-5 with a 10.44 ERA in his last five starts at Yankee Stadium.

”Honestly, I felt fine. They put some good swings on what I felt like were pretty good pitches,” said Price, who entered 7-1 with a 2.72 ERA in nine starts since being diagnosed with a mild case of carpal tunnel syndrome that caused him to miss a scheduled turn at New York in May. ”I’ve faced the Yankees many times. It’s time for me to kind of go back to that drawing board.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Red Sox: Right-handed reliever Tyler Thornburg is expected back this week after rehabbing from surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome last June.

Yankees: Higashioka started at catcher for Austin Romine, who exited Saturday’s game with tightness in his left hamstring. A precautionary MRI was negative, and Romine was available off the bench. He could return to the lineup Monday night against Atlanta. Romine has been filling in for All-Star backstop Gary Sanchez (groin), who might be able to come off the disabled list right after the All-Star break July 20-22 against the Mets. … GM Brian Cashman said if everything goes well, RHP Masahiro Tanaka (two strained hamstrings) will make a minor league rehab start this week and rejoin the Yankees early next week in Baltimore – perhaps in time to pitch in a July 9 doubleheader.

UP NEXT

Red Sox: Three interleague games at Washington, where RHP Rick Porcello (9-3, 3.60 ERA) faces former Detr
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