They say that football is a game of inches. It actually isn’t always. But it always bears that capability, and we saw that to full effect in a number of different ways yesterday during the Pittsburgh Steelers’ final offensive play, which narrowly resulted in the game-winner score with just five seconds to play.
A designed shovel pass option, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger decided that he didn’t have enough room to pitch the ball to Vance McDonald, by a matter of inches. So instead, he kept it.
Matt Feiler was inches away from sealing off linebacker Myles Jack in the end zone that would have made Roethlisberger’s run that much easier. Jack’s trajectory to Roethlisberger was just inches off of actually making the stop, the quarterback’s knee inches off the ground as the ball broke the plane.
And Feiler was just inches from being in his quarterbacks’ way enough from getting into the end zone at all. “Oh boy”, is all the second-year lineman could remember thinking as he tried to scoot his way out of Roethlisberger’s path, the quarterback’s helmet gently ricocheting off his rear end.
Tell it to Jack, who was the only defender with a chance to make the stop. After the game, he said, “I’ve got to take a better angle on Big Ben to make that play. I’ve got to make that play”.
For the Jacksonville Jaguars, there are a lot of plays that they haven’t been making this season, which is why they are 3-7 on the year. Frankly, that is a more familiar record than their 10-6 they earned for themselves in 2017, their only postseason berth since 2007.
“Yeah, they scored, but guys played hard all the way through to the last minute, so it’s tough to blame is on necessarily the finish”, he said. “They just made the last play. That’s a tough team, and we played them tooth and nail. We fought, played hard, so you’ve got to give credit to them”.
It’s a much different tone from the boisterous boastings of a season ago, particularly from Jalen Ramsey, who spent the offseason going on a media tour to promote his willingness to say what’s on his mind. But the All-Pro cornerback has gotten much more quiet during his team’s six-game losing streak.
Many Jaguars took a more humble tone after yesterday’s loss with regards to the Steelers, crediting them for their successes, including Yannick Ngakoue and Barry Church. And the Steelers were just relieved to get out of there with a win.