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Steelers opportunistic defense dominates Jaguars in 27-3 rout

The Pittsburgh Steelers entered Week 11 as the only undefeated team remaining in the NFL, and their opponent, the Jacksonville Jaguars, could not be further away on the spectrum. Jacksonville beat the Indianapolis Colts in Week 1, and haven’t won a game since. Nonetheless, records mean very little historically when these two teams meet.

The Steelers were winners of the coin toss and chose to defer their possession to the second half, giving Jake Luton and company the ball to start the game. Luton came out throwing, and a huge completion for 18 yards on the first play of the game opened things up for the Jaguars’ offense. James Robinson picked up big chunks of yardage, but the drive stalled and Jacksonville settled for a Jake McLaughlin 41-yard field goal to make the score 3-0 with 10:57 left in the first quarter.

Jacksonville, with nothing to lose, went for an onside kick on the ensuing play, but the ball was fielded cleanly by Marcus Allen. The Steelers’ first offensive possession started in Jacksonville territory, and despite moving the ball into field goal range, Chris Boswell pulled the field goal left.

Luton and company were not able to add to their lead, and were forced to punt for the first time of the game. After pinning the Steelers at their own 5-yard line, James Conner broke off a 25-yard run to give the offense some breathing room. However, the drive would stall and Pittsburgh would have to settle for flipping the field.

A three and out gave the ball right back to the Steelers to end the quarter. The Steelers were able to put together an impressive drive to start the second quarter. A great mix of James Conner runs and Ben Roethlisberger completions moved the ball near the red-zone; however, when the field shortened the play calling got predictable and Chris Boswell was called on to tie the game 3-3 with 10:50 left in the second quarter.

After a three and out, Pittsburgh’s offense continued to warm up as Roethlisberger started to orchestrate a high tempo attack. Passes to Dionate Johnson and James Washington moved the ball on the cusp of the red-zone, but it was a beautiful pass to Chase Claypool for the touchdown which broke the stalemate.

Chris Boswell nailed the point after, making the score 10-3 with 7:00 left in the first half.

Jake Luton had the Jaguars on the move with their next drive, and when they reached the red-zone, and the field shortened, it was the Steelers’ defense who made a big play. Luton’s pass was tipped by Tyson Alualu and intercepted by Minkah Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick’s return put the Steelers near midfield with 2:57 left in the first half.

Looking to take advantage of the turnover, Roethlisberger completed big passes to Diontae Johnson on two occasions to move the ball to the goal line. On the first play on the goal line, it was Benny Snell Jr. who plunged into the end zone for the second Steelers touchdown of the quarter. Boswell was good for the extra point, making the score 17-3 with 44 seconds left in the half.

The Jaguars weren’t about to sit on the football, and decided to try and move into field goal range in the waning moments of the first half. What resulted from this decision was a Jake Luton interception to Terrell Edmunds with 28 seconds left in the half. With two timeouts remaining, the Steelers get a defensive pass interference call to move the ball into field goal range. However, with 9 seconds left, and a timeout remaining, Roethlisberger’s pass was intercepted in the end zone to end the half.

Receiving the football to start the second half, the Steelers’ offense was not able to even muster a positive yard before Jordan Berry was called on the punt the ball away. Jake Luton continued to show poise in the pocket, but on 3rd and 14 was sacked by Stephon Tuitt to end the threat and force a punt.

After both teams exchanged several punts, the 17-3 score would carry over into the final quarter of the contest. The boring play would continue until the Steelers’ offense made enough plays to get into Chris Boswell’s field goal range. The 47-yard kick was good, giving the Steelers a 20-3 lead with 10:21 left in regulation.

The Jaguars’ next possession resulted in Luton throwing his third interception of the game, a beautiful play by Terrell Edmunds, to give the ball right back to the Steelers’ offense.

The Steelers wasted little time turning the takeaway into points. After a nice completion to Ray-Ray McCloud moved the Steelers into field goal range, Ben Roethlisberge threw a bullet to Eric Ebron down the seam for the touchdown.

The Jaguars, grasping to dear life, couldn’t get out of their own way as Luton was intercepted by Minkah Fitzpatrick. His fourth interception of the game, and Fitzpatrick’s second interception of the contest.

Mason Rudolph entered the game in garbage time, and the Steelers were able to kill the clock en route to the victory.

The Steelers win moves their record to 10-0 on the season as they have to turn the page quickly to the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday night in Week 12. Stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black and gold as they roll through the 2020 regular season.

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