PITTSBURGH, Pa. – The Jaguars had plenty of opportunities Sunday.
They took advantage of just enough.
Running back Travis Etienne Jr. scored a touchdown in a fourth consecutive game and the Jaguars' defense turned in yet another strong effort. The performances keyed a 20-10 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers in front of 67,225 at Acrisure Stadium on a gray late October Sunday afternoon.
"It's just a credit to the guys," Jaguars Head Coach Doug Pederson said. "They never quit. They keep battling. They keep playing hard. It's a mindset where we're just going to continue to play hard and something positive is eventually going to happen."
Etienne's 56-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter gave the Jaguars a two-touchdown lead, and kicker Brandon McManus converted all four of his field goal attempts.
"There's nothing surprising about this one," Jaguars tight end Evan Engram said. "It's just probably more affirmation of what we already know, who we can be and what we're capable of."
The Jaguars (6-2) won a fifth consecutive game after a 1-2 start and lead the AFC South by two and a half games entering a Week 9 bye. The Steelers are 4-3.
"It feels great where we're at," Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence said. "We also understand that we haven't won anything yet. We're 6-2. It's a great spot to be in. We've been on a great run, but we have to keep carrying the momentum when we come back."
Lawrence completed 24 of 32 passes for 292 yards and a touchdown with an interception in the second quarter that prevented Jacksonville from taking a two-score lead.
The Jaguars drove into Steelers territory on nine of 10 possessions, with Etienne's score the lone touchdown. They committed three turnovers in Steelers territory, including two in the red zone.
"It's a testament to us just making plays when we have to," Lawrence said, adding of the three giveaways in the first three quarters: "That's never the formula."
Added Lawrence, "We moved the ball consistently all day, which was great against a really good defense. But we just have to find ways to finish those drives."
Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett completed 10 of 16 passes for 73 yards and no touchdowns with no interceptions. He sustained a rib injury late in the first half, with Mitchell Trubisky completing 15 of 27 passes for 139 yards and a touchdown with two interceptions in his place.
The Jaguars registered three sacks and two takeaways Sunday, with outside linebacker Travon Walker registering one in the first quarter and outside linebacker Josh Allen adding one early in the third quarter and another in the fourth quarter. The Jaguars now have 16 sacks and 18 takeaways this season, and Allen has nine sacks for the season.
Safety Andrew Wingard's fourth-quarter interception set up McManus' game-clinching fourth field goal and safety Antonio Johnson intercepted a long pass on the game's final play.
"There's a mindset over there now," Pederson said of the defense. "There's a confidence over there. Everything just translates to what you see on game day and it's a credit to them."
Said Wingard, "We just go out and play one game at a time, but we know we can compete with anybody."
Step by step:
- McManus' 50-yard field goal capped the Jaguars' first drive for a 3-0 lead with 10:47 remaining in the first quarter. He converted a 51-yard field goal with 5:54 remaining in the first quarter to push the lead to 6-0. The Steelers had seven yards and no first downs in the quarter. The Jaguars missed a chance to extend the lead late in the quarter when Steelers linebacker Cole Holcomb recovered a fumble by Jaguars tight end Evan Engram on first-and-10 from the Steelers 18. Cornerback Tre Herndon also dropped a would-be Pick Six interception early Iin the period.
- Safety Damontae Kazee then intercepted Lawrence five yards deep in the end zone with just over 10 minutes remaining in the half. Kicker Chris Boswell then capped a 93-yard drive with a 22-yard field goal to cut the Jaguars' lead to 6-3 with 3:59 remaining in the half. McManus' third field goal of the half – a 38-yarder – pushed the lead to 9-3 with 1:04 remaining in the half. Boswell then missed a 61-yard field goal on the final play of the half.
- Etienne's 56-yard reception and two-point conversion pushed the lead to 17-3 with 5:05 remaining in the third quarter, with Trubisky passing 22 yards to wide receiver George Pickens on the ensuing series to make it 17-10 entering the final quarter.
- McManus' fourth field goal in as many attempts – a 37-yarder – pushed the Jaguars' lead to 20-10 with 4:35 remaining.
- Safety Andre Cisco and cornerback Tyson Campbell missed Sunday's game with hamstring issues, with Campbell missing last week's Thursday victory over the New Orleans Saints and Cisco leaving that game. Montaric Brown started for Campbell and Andrew Wingard started for Cisco. Left guard Walker Little, out the last two games with a knee injury, was active Sunday. The Jaguars' other inactives Sunday: Wide receiver Zay Jones (knee), rookie outside linebacker Yasir Abdullah, offensive lineman Cole Van Lanen and rookie defensive lineman Tyler Lacy.
- Etienne sustained a third-quarter ankle injury and returned. Jaguars safety Daniel Thomas sustained a fourth-quarter hamstring injury and returned.
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