The Pittsburgh Steelers entered their Week 11 game vs. the Jacksonville Jaguars on a five game winning streak. Conversely, the Jaguars entered this home contest on a five game losing streak. Would one of the two streaks end? Or would it be more of the same for these two AFC teams?
After winning the opening coin toss, the Steelers elected to defer their possession to the second half, giving Blake Bortles and company the football to start the game. After Chris Boswell slipped on the kickoff, the Jaguars’ offense was only able to muster one first down before punting the football to Pittsburgh.
After failing to do anything with their first possession, a series of punts by both teams ensued before the Jaguars put together an impressive drive, all driven by the running game. Whether it was Leonard Fournette, T.J. Yeldon or Carlos Hyde, the Jaguars were averaging well over 4 yards per carry, and eating up the clock.
To start the 2nd quarter the Jaguars were well within Pittsburgh territory, but an untimely holding penalty pushed the drive backwards, and forced a 48-yard Josh Lambo field goal to give Jacksonville an early 3-0 lead.
Near midway through the second quarter, the Steelers’ offense had yet to achieve a first down without the assistance of a penalty. On the other side, the Jaguars continued to gash the Pittsburgh defense in the running game. However, the bend, but don’t break, defense was able to hold Jacksonville to another field goal to make the score 6-0 with 8:34 left in the second quarter.
The next possession was more of the same for the Steelers’ offense, as Roethlisberger’s first pass was intercepted by Jalen Ramsey giving the ball right back to the Jaguars. However, Blake Bortles and company still hadn’t hit pay dirt yet, and another Lambo field goal made the score 9-0 with 3:35 left in the second quarter.
Jordan Berry continued to have a tremendous day, but it also meant more and more failed conversions by the Steelers’ offense. After a three-and-out by Jacksonville, the Steelers got the ball back with 1:16 left and no timeouts trying to put up their first points of the game before halftime.
Rather than putting up points, Ben Roethlisberger threw his second interception of the game when Barry Church nabbed the pass intended for Antonio Brown. Nonetheless, Jacksonville wasn’t able to convert the turnover into points, instead punting the ball back to the abysmal Pittsburgh offense.
Despite a dominant performance by Jacksonville, they led only 9-0 heading into halftime, and the Steelers followed suit with their first possession of the third quarter. A three-and-out gave the Jaguars the ball back, but the Steelers’ defense led by T.J. Watt pushed Jacksonville back giving the offense their best field position of the game.
James Conner moved the Steelers inside the red-zone for the first time of the game, but the result was more of the same — a Roethlisberger interception...again by Jalen Ramsey. It was Roethlisberger’s third interception of the game, and took points off the board when the team needed them the most.
How did the Jaguars respond? Try with an 80 yard drive down the field which was highlighted by Bortles moving the ball through the air, and Fournette leaping into the endzone from the 4 yard line to give the Jaguars a 16-0 lead — which felt insurmountable for the dead Pittsburgh offense.
With just under 2 minutes remaining in the 3rd quarter, Pittsburgh’s offense found life when Roethlisberger threw a 78 yard touchdown to Antonio Brown for the first touchdown of the game.
7️⃣ to 8️⃣4️⃣ for 7️⃣8️⃣. pic.twitter.com/Uwx7MBR6SY— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) November 18, 2018
Pittsburgh, down 16, chose to go for the two-point conversion, and failed making the score 16-6 with 1:17 left in the third quarter.
A series of punts eventually led to the Steelers facing a fourth and four on the outskirt of Chris Boswell’s field goal range, and the pass intended for James Conner went through his finger tips giving the ball back to Jacksonville on downs with just under 7 minutes left in the fourth quarter.
Roethlisberger and the offense started to warm up, albeit under 5 minutes left in regulation, and the team was able to put together a drive which resulted in a Vance McDonald touchdown with 2:28 left in the game.
Tremendous throw.— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) November 18, 2018
Tremendous effort. #Vanimal pic.twitter.com/QHuHYBcySl
The Boswell point-after made the score 16-13, and the Steelers had the choice to kick an onside kick, or to kick the ball deep after the McDonald score.
They elected to kick it deep with 2:23 left on the clock, and the Steelers having all three of their timeouts remaining. After forcing a three-and-out, and only using two timeouts, Roethlisberger and company got the ball back with 1:43 left in the game with one timeout and a field goal needed to send the game to overtime.
On second down, Smith-Schuster went up and made a beautiful catch down the sideline to put the Steelers inside field goal range. After James Conner dropped what would have been an easy touchdown, Antonio Brown caught a pass taking the team down to the two yard line. With one timeout remaining, the Steelers ran two plays which were negated by Jaguars’ penalties, leaving the team with just 8 seconds left on the clock.
The Steelers ran a read option, and Roethlisberger kept the ball and was able to reach the ball over the goal line for the game-winning score.
not a cell phone in sight. just living in the moment. absolutely beautiful. pic.twitter.com/K7JVko1qTg— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) November 18, 2018
There were just five seconds left on the clock, and it would be too little too late for the Jaguars. The final score would be 20-16 in favor of Pittsburgh.
The win gives the Steelers their sixth straight win, making their record 7-2-1, as they prepare for the Denver Broncos in Week 12. Stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes regarding this exciting game and what ensues after.