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Pittsburgh Stunned at Home in Loss to Jacksonville

Jacksonville came out swinging as they pounded the ball often with running back Leonard Fournette, who absolutely had his way with Pittsburgh’s defense back in Week 5. Quarterback Blake Bortles looked to prove all of the critics wrong as he looked sharp on the first drive of the game, hitting various receivers on several play action calls. Bortles’ passing attack helped get Jacksonville get into the red-zone early, and Fournette would get the Jags off to an early lead as he leaped over Pittsburgh defenders to give them a 7 to 0 lead.

The Steelers offense looked stagnant early on in the game, and the Jags defense looked as good as they had all season. Linebacker Myles Jack picked Ben Roethlisberger off on Pittsburgh’s second possession, which in turn lead to another Leonard Fournette touchdown. Jacksonville now leads 14 to 0.

Pittsburgh appeared to bounce back appropriately as Le’Veon Bell ran the ball effectively, Antonio Brown and Eli Rogers each had first downs of their own to keep the offense moving. Unfortunately, an attempt to convert on 4th and 1 did not bode well for Pittsburgh as two failed pitch plays to Bell were bottled up by the Jags defense.

Leonard Fournette continued to run at will against the Steelers defense. This drive eventually led to another Jacksonville touchdown as running back T.J. Yeldon ran the ball into the end-zone, giving the Jags a three score lead over Pittsburgh, 21 to 0.

The Steelers offense finally got things going later on in the half, Le’Veon continued to run the ball well when his number was called. The drive was capped off with an incredible touchdown catch by Antonio Brown from 23 yards out as he was covered heavily by cornerback A.J. Bouye. Brown’s touchdown grab puts Pittsburgh on the board, 21 to 7.

On Jacksonville’s next offensive possession, Fournette suffered an ankle injury that would keep him out for the remainder of the first half. Without Fournette, it didn’t take long for the Steelers to force Jacksonville into a punting situation. As Pittsburgh took over on offense, the ball was moving well as Bell continued his effective play and Ben found Vance McDonald for a first down. Unfortunately, defensive end Yannick Ngakoue put pressure on Big Ben to force a fumble and linebacker Telvin Smith recovered the fumble for a 50 yard Jacksonville touchdown to give them a 28 to 7 lead over Pittsburgh.

Before time expired in the half, Ben found Martavis Bryant on 4th down to cut into Jacksonville’s sizable lead, now 28 to 14. What a play by the offense to put Pittsburgh on the board once again!

Pittsburgh’s offense looked to pick up where they left off in the first half, and the Killer B’s looked sharp. Big Ben connected with Le’Veon Bell on 3rd and 11 for a 19-yard touchdown. Amazing grab by Le’Veon!

The Steelers appeared to look solid on both ends of the ball as they were finally able to bottle up Leonard Fournette on several plays and Blake Bortles couldn’t get anything going. L.J. Fort came up huge with a pass deflection on 3rd down to end the drive for the Jags and give Pittsburgh a chance to even the score.

Pittsburgh’s defense continued their solid play, and most importantly kept finding ways to put a stop to Fournette as Stephon Tuitt and Sean Davis both came up big to stifle the Jags stud running back. Robert Golden made a huge play of his own, as Jacksonville was forced to punt, Golden got a hand on the ball to block it and put the Steelers on the Jags 48-yard line to start their next drive.

The Steelers squandered their great field position, and gave the ball back to the Jags. Blake Bortles found wide receiver Keenan Cole for a 45-yard gain to set Leonard Fournette up for his third touchdown of the game, as he ran the ball into the end-zone with ease. Jacksonville now leads 35 to 21.

Big Ben and the offense looked to answer back, and Roethlisberger got things going with Antonio Brown early on the drive. On 4th and 5, Ben found AB on a 43-yard touchdown connection in which Brown was blanketed by A.J. Bouye. Unbelievable concentration and ability to hold onto the ball to cut into the Jags lead. Steelers trail 35 to 28.

Pittsburgh’s defensive struggles came back to haunt them, as they failed to stop Jacksonville twice on separate third down situations. Blake Bortles took advantage of the struggling defense and connected with fullback Tommy Bohnanon for a 14-yard touchdown. Jags add to their lead, now 42 to 28.

Le’Veon Bell looked to get the Steelers back into the game as he was effective in all aspects on offense. Bell picked up a gain of 22 yards and finished off the drive with an 8-yard touchdown run on a lateral from Big Ben. Steelers still down one score, 42 to 35.

A failed onside kick attempt by Chris Boswell did not help the Steelers’ chances at tying the game, this put Jacksonville in immediate field goal position and Josh Lambocapitalized on the situation. Lambo’s 45-yard field goal conversion put the Jags up by two scores again, now 45 to 35.

As the game was coming to a close, Pittsburgh still looked to give themselves the best chance at pulling out a victory. Martavis Bryant caught a pass for 42 yards and set Juju Smith-Schuster up for a 4-yard touchdown. Unfortunately, it would not be enough to catch Jacksonville, and the Jags would shock Pittsburgh for the second time this season. Final score, 45 to 42.

The offense played amazing football, no doubt. Ben Roethlisberger finished the game with an amazing stat-line completing 37 passes on 58 attempts for 469 yards and 5 touchdowns, but did have 1 interception . Le’Veon Bell led the rushing attack with 16 rushing attempts for 67 yards and a touchdown, as well as 9 receptions for 88 yards and a receiving touchdown. Antonio Brown lead the Steelers in receiving with 7 receptions for 132 yards and 2 touchdowns, Vance McDonald also had an outstanding game as he brought in 10 receptions for 122 yards. The defensive attack was lead by Sean Spence’s 9 tackles. Unfortunately, Pittsburgh did not record a single sack or interception in the game which proved to be detrimental.

Not at all the way Pittsburgh envisioned this game playing out, but Jacksonville definitely came to play and it’s clear they deserve to be where they are. There is a lot to be proud of, the season did not end as we all hoped, but there is a lot of hope and promise in the team we watched today.

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