It is evident that the Jacksonville Jaguars look like a completely different team when Leonard Fournette is on the field. However, even in Fournette’s return to TIAA Bank Field on Sunday, he couldn’t do enough with the Jaguars to defeat the Pittsburgh Steelers.
It was a game that came down to the final seconds. As the Steelers got the ball with under two minutes to play and down by three. Pittsburgh headed down field easily. It looked as though the Jaguars still had a chance remaining after a dropped pass by Pittsburgh near the end zone denied the Steelers a chance for a win. But with seconds remaining, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger had a one-yard run that gave the Steelers the only lead that they needed all game to get the win in Jacksonville 20-16.
Jacksonville coach Doug Marrone said that the result of the game could have been changed by one first down.
Last season, the Jaguars went 2-0 against the Steelers. Jacksonville remains the only team in NFL history to defeat the Steelers twice in Pittsburgh in a single season. In the teams’ match up last season, the Jaguars won 30-9 in Week 5 and 45-42 in the AFC Divisional round. The Jags accomplished this in both their 2007 and 2017 seasons.
This season though, the two teams match up looked much different. Pittsburgh (6-2-1) entered the game against the Jaguars (3-6) on a five-game win streak. The Jaguars entered Sunday’s game on a five-game losing streak.
Jacksonville depended on their run game in the first half and found success early on. In the first half, the Jags rushed for 141 yards but only 38 yards in the second half.
Fournette suffered a hamstring injury in September and his first game back was last week against the Colts when the Jaguars lost 29-26. In that game, Fournette led the team rushing with 53 yards. Fournette contributed in a big way today with 74 yards in the first half and ran for 95 yards in the game. Carlos Hyde also contributed in the Jaguars offense running for 37 yards in the first half but for only seven yards in the second half.
In the Game
The Jaguars couldn’t find the end zone in the first half but kicker Josh Lambo converted all three of his field goal attempts to give the Jags nine first-half points. Ben Roethlisberger had a tough time completing passes in the first half, going only 8 for 19. Three Jaguars players intercepted Roethlisberger; Barry Church, Telvin Smith and Jalen Ramsey. Roethlisberger found more success in the second half though and completely took over in the fourth quarter. He finished the game throwing for 314 yards and went 27 for 47 through the air.
The second half looked like a much different game than the first. The Steelers finished the game with 340 yards against the Jaguars third-ranked defense in the NFL (allowing an average of 319.1 total net yards per game).
The Steelers held onto their first lead of the game with under 10 seconds left to play defeating the Jaguars in Jacksonville to extend their win streak to six games and the Jaguars’ losing streak to six games.
Thoughts after the game
Doug Marrone said that this loss especially hard. He says that he knows his team will be able to pull it together as it gets set to face Buffalo next week.