Jaguars tight end Ben Koyack spikes the ball after scoring...

Jaguars tight end Ben Koyack spikes the ball after scoring on a 1-yard pass against the Bills in the second half of an AFC wild-card playoff game in Jacksonville, Florida. Credit: AP / Stephen B. Morton

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — With the game on the line and the prized rookie running back standing behind the maligned quarterback, there really was only one choice to be made on fourth-and-goal from the 1. Did anyone think the Jaguars wouldn’t put the ball in Leonard Fournette’s hands?

As Blake Bortles barked signals in the final minute of the third quarter, the expectation was unmistakable: Fournette was about to get a third straight try to punch the ball in and break a 3-3 tie with the Bills in Sunday’s AFC wild-card game at EverBank Stadium.

And then it happened.

Bortles faked a handoff to Fournette, then found tight end Ben Koyack near the back of the end zone. Bortles delivered a strike between two defenders and Koyack, who caught only five passes in the regular season, held on for what turned out to be the winning touchdown in Jacksonville’s 10-3 win.

“We put it in this week, and it worked a couple of times [in practice],” Bortles said after his playoff debut. “We had talked about that being our first play down on the goal line, but we didn’t get it.”

There was no way the Jaguars weren’t going for it all at that point. Doug Marrone, in his first full season as their coach, was using all four downs to score a touchdown rather than settling for a field goal in the last minute of the third quarter.

“We knew if we got down there by the goal line, we were going to call it,” said Bortles, who threw for only 87 yards but ran for 88. “Ben did a good job selling it, and everybody up front did a good job of selling it. He made a good play in the back of the end zone.”

They were all the points the Jaguars would need, as their No. 2-ranked defense did a splendid job. The Bills never got past the Jaguars’ 48 in the second half as quarterback Tyrod Taylor struggled badly. Taylor suffered what was called an injury to the head and neck area with 1:17 to play, and cornerback Jalen Ramsey intercepted Nathan Peterman at midfield on the Bills’ final play.

“Even if I didn’t get that pick, we would have held,” Ramsey said. “That’s the confidence I have in our defense.”

The Jaguars will face the Steelers in the divisional round Sunday in Pittsburgh, where they beat the Steelers, 30-9, on Oct. 8.

Defense has been at the heart of the Jaguars’ first playoff appearance in 10 years, and it shined again in their first home playoff game since 1999. Jacksonville allowed only 263 yards and made two interceptions. The first was a first-half grab by cornerback Aaron Colvin, who tipped a deflected pass in the air, dived and caught it.

“I feel like any time we hold them to three, the offense will take care of the rest,’’ Colvin said. “We’re the best defense in the league, so that’s kind of expected.”

Tackle Malik Jackson said there’s no limit to how good Jacksonville’s defense can be. “I think we can climb to the moon and further,” he said. “The stars are the limit for us. Our defense, we understand that the stats, paychecks, trying to get the accolades, doesn’t matter anymore. It’s about playing as a team, getting these Ws like you saw today and keep pushing our team to the next level. That’s what we’re about, and that’s what we’re going to try and keep doing.”

It was a disappointing ending to the Bills’ first postseason game in 18 years. Their only score was a field goal late in the first half after they squandered excellent field position.

After getting to the 4, the Bills had seven cracks at the end zone but couldn’t get in. On fourth-and-1 at the 3, Stephen Hauschka lined up for a field goal, but a neutral-zone infraction gave the Bills first down at the 1. On the next play, Taylor threw incomplete to Kelvin Benjamin, who was called for offensive interference. Buffalo ended up kicking a 31-yard field goal for a 3-0 lead.

“We did everything but score,” said tailback LeSean McCoy, who had 119 total yards despite a severe ankle sprain suffered last week. “We have to do our job and make plays, and we didn’t do that. We had this game. I can confidently say we had this game.”

In the end, it was the Jaguars who had it, thanks to a punishing defense and an offense that did just enough, especially when it mattered most on fourth-and-goal.

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