The Jaguars have to get through a formidable Pittsburgh Steelers squad if they want to think about making a serious Super Bowl run, but Jacksonville defensive tackle Marcell Dareus has gotten some sweet revenge in his successful playoff debut in the Jaguars 10-3 Wild Card playoff win over his former team, the Buffalo Bills on Sunday.
Dareus recorded four tackles, including one for a loss, helping Jacksonville to its first playoff win since January 5, 2008 and fifth appearance in the Divisional round. Jacksonville’s defense held Buffalo to just three points and under 300 total yards while forcing two turnovers in a dominant performance.
“This is my first time playing in the playoffs and I’m so grateful to the Jaguars for believing in me and giving me this opportunity,” Dareus told The Shadow League.
Beating the team that traded him in October was a treat.
Buffalo Bills trade defensive tackle Marcell Dareus to Jacksonville Jaguars #Bills https://t.co/apx6tBVNMK
Especially after a deal he signed in 2015 implied he’d be in Buffalo for the long-term. At that point, Dareus had already earned two Pro Bowl nods and had recorded the second-most sacks among all defensive tackles since entering the league in 2011 with 28.5 quarterback takedowns. He also led all NFL defensive tackles in sacks during the 2014 season with 10.
RT @buffalobills: DONE DEAL! Marcell Dareus, long-term Buffalo Bill. Details and highlights: http://t.co/XMUCXzQQ7x
Dareus doubled up on his streak of good fortune this week when his alma mater came from behind to defeat Georgia in thrilling fashion in the National Championship game in Atlanta. In 2010, Dareus led Alabama its first chip of the Saban Era, a 37-21 win over Texas.
OTD in 2010, Alabama defeated Texas 37-21 to win their first National Championship of the Coach Saban era and Marcell Dareus had an interception for the ages. #RollTide See more history, highlights, and heroes at https://t.co/ZTqI6tuiP1 https://t.co/H3AVDo8ETG
Dareus is used to success, but never got to play in the postseason in six seasons with the Bills since being drafted third overall in 2011 before being traded to Jacksonville in October. He was the highest selected defensive lineman in Crimson Tide history, and the highest selected Alabama defensive player since linebacker Cornelius Bennett was drafted second overall by the Indianapolis Colts in 1987. The two-time Pro Bowler relished the special opportunity to battle his former teammates on Sunday.
“I don’t have anything against the Bills organization,” said Dareus. “I had a great run there and enjoyed every moment. Of course, playing against them made it bittersweet, but we won and I’m glad I’m on the winning side.”
Dareus playoff dreams continue on Sunday, January 14th on the road against a heavily-favored Steelers team. Jacksonvilles money defense, anchored by a potent secondary will have its hands full for sure.
“It just feels good,” said Dareus. “It’s been a long year for me so to be able to participate in my first playoff run makes it all worth it. I’m so happy we’re on to the next round, excited to go into Pittsburgh and keep this opportunity rolling for me and all of my teammates.”