Led by Ben Roethlisberger’s two touchdown passes and a defense that forced four turnovers, the Steelers defeated the Jaguars in Jacksonville on Sunday, 27-3. In the process, the Steelers became the 17th team in the Super Bowl era to start the season with at least 10 consecutive wins.
Trailing 3-0 after one quarter, Pittsburgh scored on three consecutive drives in the second quarter. Following Chris Boswell’s 44-yard field goal, Ben Roethlisberger hit rookie Chase Claypool for a 31-yard touchdown, Claypool’s 10th score of the season. The Jaguars threatened to tie the score before the Steelers’ Tyson Alualu, who was the Jaguars’ first-round pick in the 2010 draft, deflected Jake Luton’s red zone pass that was intercepted by Minkah Fitzpatrick. The pick set up Benny Snell’s one-yard touchdown with less than a minute left in the half.
After a scoreless third quarter, the Steelers scored 10 fourth-quarter points to seal their 10th win in 10 games. Ahead 20-3, Terrell Edmunds’ second pick of the game set up Roethlisberger’s 20-yard touchdown pass to Eric Ebron. The touchdown was the last pass of the game for Roethlisberger, who went 32 of 46 for 267 yards. His favorite target on Sunday was Diontae Johnson, who caught 12 of 16 targets for 111 yards.
Here’s a closer look at how the Steelers were able to stay undefeated.
Why the Steelers won
Pittsburgh received a balanced offensive attack that featured Johnson and running back James Conner, who combined to amass 210 all-purpose yards. The Steelers’ defense contained the Jaguars’ talented receiving duo of D.J. Chark and Keelan Cole, who combined to catch just six passes for 77 yards. Pittsburgh’s pass rush, led by Bud Dupree, T.J. Watt and Stephon Tuitt, was able to apply consistent pressure on quarterback Jake Luton, who failed to complete 50% of his passes.
Why the Jaguars lost
Jacksonville, playing without cornerbacks Sidney Jones and C.J. Henderson and losing linebacker Josh Allen in the third quarter, failed to apply pressure on Roethlisberger, who was not sacked and seldom touched. On offense, the Jaguars were unable to stay on the field, as they were just 4-of-13 on third down. Jacksonville did receive another strong game from rookie running back James Robinson, who had 94 yards on 21 touches.
Instead of allowing a game-tying touchdown before halftime, the Steelers extended their lead to 14 points following Fitzpatrick’s interception. Fitzpatrick, an All-Pro last season after picking off five passes, came up with a second pick of the day (and third in his last two games) with six minutes left.
Play of the game
Claypool’s touchdown catch was impressive, but the game’s best play goes to Johnson, whose impressive 23-yard catch set up Snell’s one-yard touchdown. Over his past three games, Johnson, a 2019 third-round pick, has caught 24 passes for 304 yards.
“The guys are playing hard, and playing fast and collectively well. We’re getting turnovers. But I think, the catalyst for it all is that the guys are playing extremely hard and fast. And I think that creates the frenzy that provides the wave that we ride.” — Steelers coach Mike Tomlin on the play of his defense, which has allowed just four third down conversion over the past two games
“There’s pressure in our business. I don’t know if you call it more pressure or not. I know regardless of our record, we’d be committed to winning this game that we’re walking into play on Thursday night. I just think that’s some outside fodder, that’s storylines if you will and give you guys something to talk about during the week. We respect our process, and we’re going to prepare as we step into stadiums to play. There’s urgency to that. There’s pressure associated with that; all of the above. But that’s the same regardless of record. I’m sure people that aren’t perfect feel pressure to perform week in and week out.” — Tomlin on whether or not his team is feeling more pressure after a 10-0 start
The Steelers will host the Ravens on Thanksgiving Day. Pittsburgh, who defeated Baltimore back in Week 8, will face a Ravens team that is now 6-4 after losing in overtime against the Titans on Sunday. The Jaguars, who fell to 1-9 on Sunday, will host the Browns, who improved to 7-3 after defeating the Eagles, next Sunday.
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