The Jacksonville Jaguars felt overlooked, disrespected and insulted by the consistent chatter of Pittsburgh Steelers players talking about a rematch with the New England Patriots. Jags players took it out on the Steelers on the field, then voiced their annoyance after the game.
The final straw of frustration came after Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell tweeted about a Patriots rematch on Saturday night, which culminated a week of Steelers being quoted about getting back to the AFC Championship Game.
"Coach [Doug Marrone] told us about that this morning," defensive tackle Malik Jackson said of Bell's tweet, via ESPN's Michael DiRocco. "It's disrespectful. It's stupid as f---, to be honest with you. You don't give a team that came in here and smacked you in the mouth ammo to come out here and just be on you all day. We're bullies. We don't need to say we're bullies. We don't need to talk like we're bullies. We're not going to tell you what we're going to do. We're just going to smack you in the mouth, just like we did today.
"They talked. They said they were going to do this. They didn't do anything. They're waiting for the teacher to come break everything up. We stood there, and we smacked them in the mouth. We gave them what they wanted. They wanted us. We gave them what they wanted. Now look at them. They're pissed that they called us out."
Jackson wasn't the only Jags player fired up about the disrespect shown by the Steelers following their 45-42 win, in which they controlled the contest throughout. Even as corner Jalen Ramsey attempted to downplay the chatter -- including Steelers safety Mike Mitchell talking of a Patriots rematch -- he became fired up.
"Excuse my language, but we don't give a f---," Ramsey said. "We really don't care. We knew what we were going to do. We don't really be worried about all that. Y'all bring that to us. That's honestly the first time that we hear about it. During the week, when y'all brought the Mike Mitchell thing to me, that was the first time I heard about it. We don't care about none of that.
"Talking is cool. You can do all the talking you want on Twitter, to the media, all of that, but when you get on the field, you're going to have produce. You're going to have to show us what you're really about. We're confident because we know the work we put in. We know the blessings the Lord has given us. We're going to go out here confident. We're going to go out there swagged up."
But not before getting a few more shots in at Pittsburgh first.
"It's not [Steelers-Patriots in the AFC title game], but can you please ask them to give us the game tape they were watching to prepare for them so that we can use it and get better?" Jackson said. "Just give us their notes. We can really use them.
"For us, it wasn't about getting into talking matches, trying to fight them, trying to do anything. We're just trying to let the clock run out and go home while they go home and prepare for New England that they'll get to play next week in imaginary land."