JACKSONVILLE – This was gritty, gutty and nearly glorious.
But for the Jaguars, it turned out to be as heartbreaking as possibly could be imagined.
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger responded from three early interceptions to throw two second-half touchdowns and run for another, rallying Pittsburgh from a sixteen-point second-half deficit for a dramatic 20-16 victory in front of 67,683 Sunday afternoon at TIAA Bank Field.
Roethlisberger's 1-yard touchdown run with :03 remaining gave the Steelers the victory.
The Jaguars (3-7) with the loss have lost six consecutive games. The Steelers (6-3-1) have won six consecutive games.
The Steelers' game-winning touchdown capped a dramatic final drive.
Roethlisberger set up the touchdown with a 24-yard pass to wide receiver Antonio Brown to the Jaguars 2-yard line. Jaguars cornerback D.J. Hayden then appeared to intercept Roethlisberger in the end zone, but it was negated by a facemask penalty on Hayden.
Cornerback Jalen Ramsey, the Jaguars' All-Pro cornerback, registered two of the Jaguars' three interceptions off Roethlisberger. Safety Barry Church also intercepted Roethlisberger.
Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette, playing his second consecutive game for the first time this season, rushed for a season-high 95 yards and a touchdown on 28 carries. Fournette, who missed six of the first eight games this season with a hamstring injury, rushed for 53 yards on 24 carries against Indianapolis last week in his first appearance after a four-game absence.
Fournette's two-yard touchdown on a dive over the line of scrimmage gave the Jaguars a 16-0 third-quarter lead.
Roethlisberger's 78-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Antonio Brown late in the third quarter cut the Jaguars' lead to 10, then an 11-yard pass from Roethlisberger to tight end Vance McDonald made it 16-13 with 2:28 remaining.
Reserve running back Carlos Hyde rushed for 44 yards on eight carries for the Jaguars and reserve T.J. Yeldon added 23 yards on yards on five carries.
Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles completed 10 of 18 passes for 104 yards and no touchdowns with no interceptions. He has not thrown an interception in his last four games.
Roethlisberger, a week after the fourth perfect-passer-rating game of his career, completed 27 of 47 passes for 314 yards and two touchdowns with three interceptions. The Jaguars held Roethlisberger to a 0.0 rating on the Steelers' first six possession: three of 12 passing for 18 yards with two interceptions.
The Steelers entered the game ranked fifth in the NFL in total offense and had averaged 35 points over their previous five games.
Ramsey intercepted Roethlisberger to set up a second-quarter field goal. Ramsey also had a pass defensed while covering Brown. Jaguars safety Barry Church intercepted Roethlisberger late in the first half.
Ramsey added to a remarkable day with a second interception in the third quarter. Again covering Brown, Ramsey took the ball away with a leaping effort in the end zone, negating a Steelers scoring opportunity and preserving a 9-0 Jaguars lead.
The Jaguars registered two sacks Sunday, with defensive ends Calais Cambell and Yannick Ngakoue both registering one in the fourth quarter. Both players now have a team-high six sacks this season.
Step by step:
*The Jaguars took a 3-0 lead with one of their most impressive drives of the season, moving 69 yards on 15 plays on a series that used 8:57 of the first and second quarter; the Jaguars rushed for 64 yards on 14 carries, with Josh Lambo converting from 48 yards with 13:10 remaining in the second quarter. The Jaguars held a 13:09-2:41 time-of-possession advantage at that point.
*The Jaguars continued to run effectively on their next drive, moving 38 yards for a 38-yard field goal by Lambo. Ramsey's interception came on a spectacular diving play at the Steelers 47 on Pittsburgh's next series, setting up a 43-yard field goal by Lambo for a 9-0 lead with 3:37 remaining in the quarter.
*The Jaguars increased their lead in the third quarter, taking a 16-0 lead when Fournette scored on a two-yard dive to cap an 80-yard drive; that possession began with Ramsey's interception over Bryant in the end zone and ended with 2:09 remaining. Brown's 78-yard touchdown reception from Roethlisberger made it 16-6 with 1:17 remaining in the third quarter.
*McDonald's 11-yard reception from Roethlisberger made it 16-13, Jaguars, with 2:28 remaining.
*Notable: *Ereck Flowers became the fourth Jaguars player to start at left tackle this season, starting in place of inactive offensive lineman Josh Walker (foot/ankle). Flowers, the No. 9 overall selection in the 2015 NFL Draft by the New York Giants, was acquired by the Jaguars on October 12 following his release by the Giants. … Cornerback A.J. Bouye as expected played and started after missing the last two games with a calf injury. … Jaguars inactives Sunday: Walker, nose tackle Eli Ankou (calf), cornerback Quenton Meeks (knee), quarterback Landry Jones, wide receiver Rashad Greene Sr., running back Dave Williams, linebacker Martrell Spaight.
Injury report: Jaguars right guard A.J. Cann left the game with a hamstring on the final play of the first quarter and was replaced by Chris Reed; Cann entered the weekend questionable with a hamstring injury. The Jaguars finished the game with the following starting offensive line: right tackle Jermey Parnell, Reed, backup center Tyler Shatley (playing for injured Brandon Linder), left guard Andrew Norwell and Flowers; only Parnell and Norwell were Week 1 starters.
*What's next: *The Jaguars are scheduled to play the Buffalo Bills at New Era Stadium in Buffalo, N.Y., Sunday November 25.