The Pittsburgh Steelers stand at 2-2 after trading wins and losses through the first quarter of the season. Their last result was a loss, meaning they should be due for a win against the Jacksonville Jaguars, but of course the one consistency about trends is that they inevitably end.
The Steelers regain the services of Ramon Foster, but there’s no help for the depleted defensive unit. The Steelers won the coin toss and chose to receive, looking to get off to a fast start after the dud of a finish last week. Of little surprise is the fact that the opening kickoff was not returned.
Le’Veon Bell got the call on first down for five yards up the middle. Ben Roethlisberger threw to Darrius Heyward-Bey on second down for his first catch as a Steeler, but he gained nothing. On third and five, Markus Wheaton could not hang on to an arcing pass to the sideline. Brad Wing punted about 55 yards with a short return.
Arthur Moats and others got pressure on Blake Bortles on first down, forcing an overthrow that gave William Gay a chance at picking it off. On second down, Allen Robinson‘s reception gained eight yards. Toby Gerhart went up the middle for the conversion.
Bortles rolled out on first down and found his tight end for 13 yards. Gerhart found two yards on the next play. On third and two, Bortles muffed the snap, but he picked up the ball and ran for the first down marker, coming up just short. Bortles finished the job with a sneak on fourth down.
Bortles executed another rollout, but it looks like Jason Worilds may have gotten a piece of it. On second down, Lawrence Timmons was there to tackle Dennard Robinson for no gain. On third and long from the 35, Bortles took off running for the first down.
The Jaguars got a big run on the next play, but were flagged for holding, which negated most of the yardage gained by Bortles’ scramble. Moats was held on the play by the left tackle.
Allen Robinson picked up seven yards on first down. Stephon Tuitt was among those there to bring pressure, with Jason Worilds recording the sack on Bortles. Sean Spence was able to stop the screen pass on third down to force a field goal. The attempt was successful, and it was the Jaguars’ first opening drive points of the season.
Dri Archer finally returned a kick and it backfired after Robert Golden was penalized for holding.
Starting from the 13, Roethlisberger threw to the sideline to Archer for seven yards on first down, which was his biggest gain of his career. Bell picked up four yards for the first down.
Bell got the ball once again, picking up another four yards. He looked to be stopped for no gain on second down, but was able to twist his way for about two and a half yards. He came off the field for third down as the Steelers went four wide. The bubble screen fell incomplete to Antonio Brown with Heath Miller missing his block and forcing another punt. Wing booted it to the 18 on a 53-yard punt, with Terence Garvin making the tackle at the 22.
Troy Polamalu helped force an incompletion on a downfield pass on first down for Bortles. On second down, Polamalu wasa blocked out on a screen for nine yards. Before the third and one, Bortles had to call his second timeout, still in the first quarter. The pass off play action as a bit high and off the hands of the tight end after pressure from Worilds.
Brown was able to return the punt about six yards close to the 30. Roethlisberger threw to Brown on first down on a low pass. The connection was made on second down for 14 yards after spinning out of a tackle.
Bell burst through the hole on first down for 28 yards, his fourth explosive run of the season. The first half ended with an incomplete pass to Brown at the right sideline. After play action, Roethlisberger held and scrambled, finding Brown coming back to the ball to set up first and goal for over 20 yards.
On first down, Brown caught the bubble screen, but for no gain. The ball went to Brown again, but the pass was high and he couldn’t secure it inbounds. On third and goal, Roethlisberger scrambled and faked the throw, but took the sack. Shaun Suisham tied the game at 3.
After a baffling series of rekicks on the ensuing kickoff, Suisham’s third attempt was a poor one that was fair caught beyond the 20-yard line. The Jaguars were penalized for holding–twice–however, on first down to back them up.
Bortles found his rookie receiver on first down for 21 yards, dragging his toes out of bounds, but the Jaguars were penalized again. On first and 28, the screen pass went for no gain. On second down, Bortles launched one down the field, but Cortez Allen was able to get in front of the receiver and pick it off, giving the Steelers good field position.
LeGarrette Blount got a series for the Steelers on the drive. He got the ball on first down, but gained less than a yard. Blount caught the pass–his first of the year–on the next play, however, and weaved his way for the first down.
From the 41 now, Roethlisberger held on to the ball for far too long as the pocket collapsed, and he was sacked again for no particularly good reason. Ben looked for Brown down the field on third down, but the linebacker got in front of it for a deflection. Wing’s punt went for a touchback.
Gerhart got the carry up the middle on first down for three yards to the 23. On second down, Bortles’ receiver dropped the ball for no good reason to set up third and long. Ace Sanders‘ reception was short of the first down, forcing a punt.
Roethlisberger found Heath Miller was an arcing pass down the field all the way to the Jaguars’ 43 for 27 yards, his longest reception of the season. Will Johnson came up with the catch down to the 31. Blount was good for nine yards on the next play after cutting back, but a false start on Ramon Foster made it second and six.
Blount gained about four yards on second down to set up third and two. With the hurry up, Roethlisberger quickly fed Blount again, running off left guard for the first and more.
Blount caught his second pass, but it was held for a short gain after David DeCastro fell off his block. On second and eight, Bell made the first man miss on a reception for first and goal.
Roethlisberger escaped a sack and fired to Brown in the front of the end zone to Brown, but the corner recovered to break up the pass. On second and goal, Miller caught the ball down to the one-yard line. Roethlisberger threw the ball to Michael Palmer for the score.
The Steelers allowed a couple of open receivers for the Jaguars just before the half to allow them to cross midfield with 52 seconds remaining. From the 38, Allen was able to break up the first down pass. On second down, four yards out of bounds made it third and six to the 34. Bortles found Allen Robinson for 17 yards, however, to get well within field goal range.
Bortles spiked the ball with Polamalu trying to beat the snap, but he was penalized as a result, putting the Jaguars on the 12 instead.
Bortles’ first pass was too high for his receiver with Gay in coverage in the end zone. On second down, Allen batted the ball away for another deflection. Bortles was flagged for a delay of game before the third down play. Bortles’ pass was thrown away, or so it seemed, settling for a 10-6 halftime deficit. The Jaguars get the ball to start the second half.