Pittsburgh jumped out to a 17-0 lead in the first half but the Jaguars battled back, only to see poor clock management and missed offensive opportunities thwart them yet again.
Jacksonville had the ball with 1:01 left in the game and zero timeouts remaining. It was obviously a difficult situation for rookie Blaine Gabbert to be in to begin with, but the team’s lack of experience and talented playmakers was compounded when defensive Brett Keisel burst past the Jaguars’ all-rrokie left side of the offensive line and sacked Gabbert. That took 20 seconds off the clock and Gabbert was eventually forced to heave a 50-yard Hail Mary as time expired. The ball soared behind his wide outs and the Steelers knocked the ball down to the ground, ending the Jaguars’ comeback bid.
Another precious 20 seconds was lost in the previous series when head coach Jack Del Rio waited to call a timeout with 2:25 left in the game. The Jaguars eventually forced the Steelers to punt the ball following a Matt Roth sack, but the time lapse put the team in too big a divot.
The Steelers scored touchdowns on their first two possessions of the game, with Rashard Mendenhall running for an 8-yard score in the first quarter and Ben Roethlisberger connecting with Mike Wallace on a 28-yard touchdown early in the second.
After Shaun Suisham’s 21-yard field goal gave Pittsburgh a 17-0 lead late in the first half, Josh Scobee responded by making his 9th and 10th fields goals (45 and 46 yards, respectively) of the season in as many tries.
Jacksonville then benefited from a roughing the kicker call on a Nick Harris punt and capitalized with an 18-yard touchdown toss from Gabbert to Jason Hill in the third quarter.
It was one of Gabbert’s few strong passes of the game, as he went 12-of-26 for 109 yards. He was also sacked five times, largely because starting tackles Eugene Monroe and Eben Britton were out with injuries. Guy Whimper started at right tackle while undrafted rookie Cameron Bradfield started
at left tackle.
Jacksonville’s defense had another solid outing, despite the slow start. Pittsburgh had 370 yards of total offense but didn’t score a point in the second half. The Jaguars sacked Ben Roethlisberger three times in the fourth quarter.
The Jaguars are now 1-5, which ties the 1995 and 2003 squads for the slowest starts in the team’s history.
Tags: Ben Roethlisberger, Blaine Gabbert, Football, Jack Del Rio, Jacksonville, Jacksonville Jaguars, Jason Hill, NFL, Pittsburgh Steelers, Rashard Mendenhall
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