This game was seemingly decided before the teams even hit the field. The Jaguars came in riding an 8-game losing streak, while the Steelers themselves were on a 9-game winning streak. It would be the first meeting in 45 years between teams with such streaks in place. Despite some early-game drama, this contest followed its expected course, and wrapped up with a score of 27-3, leaving the Jaguars on a 9-game losing streak with no end in sight.
This game actually started well for the Jags. QB Jake Luton led the offense on a 9-play, 52-yard drive that ate up 4 minutes of the game clock and resulted in a 41-yard Chase McLaughlin field goal to put Jacksonville up by 3. The Jags attempted an onside kick on the ensuing kickoff, fooling nobody. The subsequent Steelers drive resulted in a rare Chris Boswell miss, and the oft-maligned Jags defense held on to that 3-point lead all the way into the second quarter. That’s right, the Jacksonville Jaguars led this game for about 15 minutes, before finally surrendering a field goal to the Steelers with 10:45 remaining in the second quarter.
From here on out it was all Pittsburgh. The Steelers jumped out to a 17-3 lead before the half, and then tacked on an additional 10 points before it was all said and done. They rode a strong performance from Ben Roethlisberger, and an equally weak performance from Jake Luton. Gardner Minshew’s backup threw for a measly 151 yards, adding a nauseating 4 interceptions. If the defense seemed overwhelmed this game it was simply because the offense couldn’t stay on the field.
Nobody on the Jacksonville offense was able to post impressive stat lines. Although Luton connected with 8 different receivers, the leading receiver, DJ Chark Jr., only posted 41 yards on 4 catches. James Robinson continues to be the lone man in the ground game, carrying the ball 17 times for 73 yards.
The Jaguars are home next week, playing host to a very strong Cleveland Browns team. They have Minnesota, Tennessee, Baltimore, and Chicago all remaining on the schedule as well, all games that are likely losses. Realistically they have hope of winning only a couple of these games, Chicago and Minnesota in particular come to mind, and Jaguars fans need to prepare for the likelihood that this team will finish the season holding a record of 1-15.
There will be debate about what to do with the high draft pick that the Jags are likely to receive, and the current quarterback situation will be called into question. I would not be surprised to see this team draft a quarterback this year, as Trevor Lawrence, Justin Fields, and Zach Williams all project to be taken in the first round. However, this team has holes all over the football field, and an argument can be made about trading out of the top 5 or top 10 in exchange for a large amount of draft capital. Doug Marrone also has to be wondering about his future, as his seat has to be scorching hot at this point. Jacksonville heads into the final third of the season with far more questions than answers.