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Jaguars Drop 45 on Steelers Defense on The way to a Big Win

Credit: Justin Berl/Getty Images

And Just like that, The Season is Over for the Steelers!

Pittsburgh Pa: If you would have told me coming into the game today that Big Ben would throw for 469 yards, 5 touchdowns and 1 interception and the Steelers would lose, I would have called you a liar.  If you would have told me that the Steelers defense would give up  374 yards and Bortles would throw for over 200  I would have told you… no way.  Though, that is exactly what happened.  Ben Roethlisberger made 2 horrific mistakes in the first half and it was the difference in the game. Final score in Pittsburgh, 45-42.

The interception Ben threw inside the 15 helped put the Steelers in the hole 14-0.  The Roethlisberger fumble on the 50, that was scooped up and run into the endzone in the first half, put the Jags up 28-7.   After the game, Ben said “he puts the loss on him because of those poor plays in the first half.”  Let us not also forget that Pittsburgh was inside the Jags 35 yard line twice in the first half on 4th and 1 and would not convert either one.  Both were poor play calls.

When asked about 4th and 1 plays, and no QB sneaks… Tomlin said “they are very good at stopping it. They had people at the a’s and B’s. We were comfortable with the calls we made.” Ben Roethlisberger said “we haven’t run one of those for years.”  He did not claim any real reason why, though he defered to the coaching staff.

The Steelers would score 35 of the next 17, but the Jags ability to score late in the 4th helped close things out.

IN the end though, the defense just could not stop the short passing game from Bortles.  The running game and those short passes would  open things up and when Bortles did go deep he just missed on one and hit on the other.  A deep ball that hung up forever, and Pittsburgh’s Artie Burns looked more like George Burns as he lost track of the receiver and the ball.

The Jaguars came into the game a 7 point underdog and with a quarterback that could not have looked worse in a victory last week against the Bills.  Although the play comes down to the players, both Butler and Tomlin have a lot to answer for after that loss.

All that was heard all week is how the Steelers were not looking beyond this game, but the fact is they came out flat and went down by the score of 21-0.  That can be pinned directly on the coaching staff.  All of them, although the buck stops with Mike Tomlin.

The Jags looked hungrier from the opening gun.   The defense did not start to play well until the second half and that play would only last a quarter and a half.  That is when the Jags would put up 17 more points late in the 4th quarter.

Three of those points, came when the Steelers scored to cut the deficit to a touchdown with just over 2 minutes to play.  The Steelers were kicking off and all they had to do was kick it deep and force a punt.  They had the 2 minute warning, and 2 times outs.  Instead, they tried an onside kick.  Not only was it not succesful, it was  tragically A penalty on Pittsburgh for early touching gave the Jags the ball at inside the Steelers 40 yard line to start a drive.

Mike Tomlin said, “not enough detail and execution against good people to win in January Football.”  When asked about the onside kick, “Tomlin said we wanted to get the ball back. You know, we hadn’t stopped them convincingly enough to take any other approach in my opinion. It was my decision.”

When asked how the defense played right out of the gate, and if there were jitters.. Tomlin said “it was irrelevant is what it was.”

The Jaguars would convert  a field goal and essentially end the game.  Pittsburgh would score again but it would leave only 1 second left for an onside kick.  That game would end, and so would the Steelers season.  A season full of drama and plenty of ups and downs.  And some of that drama that occurred this week was from a player that likely will not be back next season.  And no, I am not talking about Ben.

The Steelers will need to pay their Star Running back or he is going to retire(or so he says).  Bell wants a big money extension and although he is very good, I am not convinced it is worth it.

Speaking of returning, Ben did say he will return next season.

That drama throughout this season has been unprecedented.  It’s the most drama I can recall from any Steelers team in the past. It started with Le’Veon Bell and his training camp hold out, and basically ended with him and his talk this week about retiring if the Steelers try to franchise him again.

I don’t think Tomlin is in any trouble with regards to Being on the hotseat.  But I think that if next season does not go well, Tomlin’s seat will likely get much warmer.

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