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First off the Field: Steelers 17, Jaguars 9


JACKSONVILLE – A lot better wasn't quite enough.

The Jaguars played perhaps their best game of the season Sunday, but still made too many errors and couldn't generate enough offense to get their first victory of the season.

With Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger throwing for 273 yards and a touchdown, and with the Jaguars' offense struggling at times, the Steelers took a 10-6 halftime lead before holding on for a 17-9 victory in front of 66,198 at EverBank Field on a perfect early October Sunday afternoon.

Jaguars rookie quarterback Blake Bortles completed 22 of 36 passes for 191 yards and no touchdowns with two interceptions in his first start at home, and a Pick Six by Steelers cornerback Brice McCain off Bortles early in the fourth quarter was the game's decisive play.

McCain intercepted Bortles at the Jaguars 23 and ran untouched into the end zone to give the Steelers a 17-9 lead with 11:32 remaining in the game. The Jaguars appeared to have momentum at the time, with defensive end Andre Branch having recovered a fumble by

Roethlisberger moments before.

Bortles has thrown two interceptions in each of his regular-season appearances.

Roethlisberger completed 26 of 36 passes and was not intercepted, and the Jaguars sacked him four times as the Jacksonville defense turned in its best game of the season. The Steelers for the game outgained Jacksonville 372-243 and had 20 first downs to 12 for the Jaguars.

The Jaguars' closest game of the season came on day when they continued to skew younger by the week.

The Jaguars started six rookies on offense: quarterback Blake Bortles, guard Brandon Linder, center Luke Bowanko, tight end Nic Jacobs and wide receivers Allen Hurns and Allen Robinson. Johnson, a rookie seventh-round selection, got his first carries of the season.

Defensively, linebacker Telvin Smith also started with the Jaguars' starting in their nickel defense package.

The Jaguars were solid early, getting the Steelers off the field with a three-and-out on the game's first possession, then following that with a 43-yard, 15-play drive that ended with a 43-yard field goal by Josh Scobee.

The Steelers tied it 3-3 with a 24-yard field goal by Scott Suisham with 12:35 remaining in the second quarter. That came when the Jaguars' defense held Pittsburgh out of the end zone after the Steelers had driven impressively to the Jaguars 4.

A Jaguars defense was had struggled throughout the first four games of the season was impressive throughout the first half, sacking Roethlisberger twice and holding the Steelers 0 of 4 on third downs early.

The Steeler' lone offensive touchdown drive of the game came late in the second quarter, with Roethlisberger throwing one yard to tight end Michael Palmer for a 10-3 Steelers lead. That capped a 70-yard drive that ended with 1:53 remaining in the half.

Bortles drove the Jaguars 58 yards on the ensuing drive to cut the lead to 10-6 when Scobee converted from 35 yards with :09 remaining in the second quarter.

Scobee then made it 10-9 with a 36-yard field goal with 3:16 remaining in the third quarter.



The Jaguars had possession, momentum and a chance to take the lead after Branch recovered a fumble by Roethlisberger early in the fourth quarter. But Bortles floated a pass toward the right side of the field to rookie wide receiver Allen Hurns. McCain read the throw for an easy interception and score untouched for an eight-point head that proved to be the final margin.


1.The Jaguars' first drive featured four first downs, with two third-down conversions. That continued a recent trend of converting efficiently on third downs since Bortles took over as quarterback in Week 3. They were 12 of 19 on third downs entering the game with Bortles after being six of 32 early in the season.

2.When Scobee converted a 43-yard field goal it marked the first time this season the Jaguars scored on their opening drive. …

3.The Jaguars' defense sacked Roethlisberger four times on the day, with none bigger than a fourth-quarter sack by defensive tackle Abry Jones. That forced a fumble deep in Jaguars territory that defensive end Andre Branch recovered to keep the Steelers' lead at 10-9. …

4.The Jaguars' defense, maligned in the first month of the season, started strong Sunday, holding Pittsburgh to one first down on its first two possessions. The defense then held the Steelers to a field goal after Pittsburgh had 1st-and-goal on the Jaguars 2 early in the second quarter. Overall, despite the 372 yards allowed, it was the Jaguars' best defensive game of the season with just 10 points allowed. The turnover forced by Jones' sack of Roethlisberger was the Jaguars' first forced turnover since the first half of the regular-season opener. …

5.Jaguars rookie wide receiver Allen Robinson continued to develop, leading the team on Sunday with five receptions for 51 yards. …

6.Jaguars running back Storm Johnson showed good signs in his first NFL appearance, running hard and gaining 27 yards on four carries. …



Jaguars linebacker Dekoda Watson sustained a sprained shoulder in the second half and did not return.

Running back Jordan Todman sustained an ankle injury in the fourth quarter and did not return.

Wide receivers Cecil Shorts IIII and Marqise Lee were among seven Jaguars inactives, with the others being cornerback Dwayne Gratz, guard Tyler Shatley, linebacker Jeremiah George, wide receiver Tavarres King and offensive tackle Josh Wells.

Gratz was ruled out Friday with a concussion, and Shorts and Lee were ruled out Friday with hamstring issues.

Demetrius McCray started for Gratz at cornerback with rookies Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns starting at receiver for Shorts and Lee. Right tackle Austin Pasztor made his first start of the season after missing four games with a hand injury.

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