Join jaguars.com senior editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.
Erik from Jacksonville:
The defense, is it personnel or is it Gregg Williams?
Vic: It was clearly personnel last night. The Jaguars were playing without two starting defensive backs. The Steelers knew that and they went right after the Jaguars secondary with a no-huddle, high-tempo passing attack that produced over 300 yards. The Jaguars knew they had a problem in their secondary and they had to know the Steelers would attack it. Hey, Willie Parker spilled the beans to a Pittsburgh radio station during the week. So the Jaguars' choices were rush or cover. They tried one in the first half and after it produced a 72-yard touchdown return of an interception, it also allowed 20 points, including a 48-yard bomb from Ben Roethlisberger to Nate Washington. In the second half they chose to cover and it appeared to work, but that may have been more a function of field position and the Steelers' unwillingness to be aggressive while protecting the lead. Late in the game, when they had to do it, the Steelers moved it right down the field 80 yards for the game-winner. If you're going to elect to rush, you've got to get to the quarterback and the Jaguars didn't do that often enough with the aggressive schemes they were using in the first half. If you're going to elect to cover, you've got to knock away passes and that wasn't likely to happen given the loss of starters Reggie Nelson and Drayton Florence and the recent loss of "nickel" back Scott Starks. In my opinion, given the Steelers' pass-protection problems, the first choice was the right one, but this team just doesn't seem to have pass-rushers that can consistently get home.
Angelena from Rowland Heights, CA:
We had so many stupid penalties. Do you think that is what cost us the game?
Vic: They didn't help but I don't think they decided the game. Most people will tell you Roethlisberger was the difference and it's hard to argue with that logic. He's special; no doubt about it. I can't help, however, but look at this statistic: the Jaguars were out-rushed, 129-38. Hey, folks, there it is. Don't look any farther. Jack Del Rio built this team on run the ball and stop the run and they did neither last night. That Mewelde Moore would come within a yard of a 100-yard game is embarrassing for a proud defense. That Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew would combine for a mere 26 yards rushing is almost beyond belief. That's a trend that began in the playoff game in Pittsburgh last January and it must end or this team will have no chance of realizing its goals this year.
Keith from Orlando, FL:
Why can't they adjust to teams playing them with 8-9 men in the box?
Vic: The Steelers loaded the box from time to time, but it wasn't as often as you might think. I kept an eye on it and there were a lot of times I counted seven.
Joseph from Pittsburgh, PA:
Last year it seemed like you were very critical of Mike Tomlin and many of the organizational decisions the Steelers had made the past year and a half. Has your opinion at all of Tomlin and the team changed since then?
Vic: He's done a great job with that defense. LaMarr Woodley was a great draft choice and the word is that Lawrence Timmons is starting to realize his potential. It's difficult to defend their reluctance to aggressively address their offensive line needs, especially after they signed Roethlisberger to such a big deal, but I respect that they've committed to developing young players. The offensive line is going to define their season. Keep an eye on that situation.
J.T. from Jacksonville:
How can all those Steelers fans be at that game? It didn't even seem like the game was played at home. With that showing it makes me wonder if we even deserve a team. Way to go fans. What a joke.
Vic: I didn't expect it to be as it was last night. I just never thought I'd see that many of them. It was disappointing.
Jaymin from Jacksonville:
Let's pretend the Jaguars find a way to run all over the Broncos defense next week and go to 3-3 by bye week. Do you think Jaguars have a chance to be a wild card team based on their remaining schedule, which I will say doesn't look so bad from the Jaguars side?
Vic: If they're 3-3 at the bye, they're in good shape; 2-4, however, would be worrisome. The Jaguars have to get hot. It's that simple. They have to get on a winning streak. I see consecutives games against Cleveland, Cincinnati and Detroit immediately following the bye week, and I can't help but think that this is a critical juncture in the season. This may be the time to get hot. It's got to happen soon.
Kyle from Spring Valley, CA:
I don't have a question, just a piece of advice. You know how many times the Steelers have lost by 14 points or more in the Ben Roethlisberger era during the regular season? Four out of 67 games. Once to a 14-2 Colts team, once to a 16-0 Patriots team and twice to a 13-3 Ravens team (in the year Roethlisberger's head bounced off a windshield). I'm just telling you this because your Jags are not one of those great teams and I don't want you to look stupid again in the future for making asinine predictions like Jags 24, Steelers 10. Hope that helps!
Vic: Yeah, that helps a lot. That's very impressive. I wish I had known that. Unfortunately, I was left with this bit of information to consider: The Jaguars had beaten the Steelers in four consecutive games, three of which were in Pittsburgh, and became the first team in history to win twice in Pittsburgh in the same season. I hope that'll help you understand my logic.
Jon from Tallahassee, FL:
Big Ben was not going to let his team lose. He's the definition of a winner.
Vic: As I said, he's special. I don't judge quarterbacks by stats. I judge quarterbacks by what they do at crunch time and Roethlisberger is a crunch-time player. He got it done at crunch time last week twice in six days.
Derek from Fleming Island, FL:
Our defensive personnel does not fit into Gregg Williams' kind of defense.
Vic: The Jaguars have tried it the old way and the new way and neither way has worked at crunch time. I think it's fair to say that the Jaguars don't have the types of players who fit into a blitz-heavy scheme. I think this is a cover two defense, as it was a year ago, and will remain that way until the two rookies become the pass-rushers expected of them.
Jay from Edgartown, MA:
I'm sure you noticed that sketchy roughing the passer penalty on Garrard in the fourth quarter. This seems like part of a growing trend of penalties called on reasonable hits. Whatever happened to the quarterback must go down and the quarterback must go down hard?
Vic: Apparently he has to have the ball in his hand and he can't go down too hard. Ron Winter and his crew called 18 penalties. That is by far the most in any Jaguars game this season and is way too many for a game played as well as last night's game was.