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In-game blog: Wild Card game

Jan. 5 2008 4:56PM
Hello and welcome to the press box at Heinz Field. The parking lots are jammed with tailgaters and the grounds crew is putting the finishing touches on what appears to be a much-improved playing surface since the last time the Jaguars played here.Jan. 5 2008 5:48PM
There's not a lot of buzz in Pittsburgh for this game. There seems to be a feeling of surrender. These fans have also grown tired of sitting in bad weather. It's raining now and if that continues these fans will have had to sit out in rain (or snow) in the last five home games. I'll provide a crowd update, as I promised, in the first and third quarters.

Jan. 5 2008 5:58PM
Key questions to be answered: 1. Can David Garrard play error-free football in a playoff game? 2. Will the Steelers find a way to stop the run? 3. Can Ben Roethlisberger carry the load? 4. Will Trai Essex protect Roethlisgerger's blind side? 5. Will the Jaguars play with the same poise and power they displayed here three weeks ago?

Jan. 5 2008 6:27PM
I get a kick out of people who talk about traffic problems getting to Jaguars games. You should see what I'm looking at right now: a string of taillights all the way around Heinz Field. All of the bridges are backed up, too. This is a different world.

Jan. 5 2008 7:05PM
Jaguars inactives: LaBrandon Toefield, Aaron Glenn, Lamont Thompson, Shantee Orr, Mike Peterson, Uche Nwaneri, Tutan Reyes, Chad Owens.

Jan. 5 2008 7:17PM
Steelers inactives: Willie Reid, Allen Rossum, Jeremy Parquet, Jason Capizzi, Marvel Smith, Jon Dekker, Ryan McBean, Brian St. Pierre (third QB). The Steelers' problems continue. Injuries have cost them their top two return men. Najeh Davenport will also have to return kicks. The Steelers' need to go to Lourdes.

Jan. 5 2008 7:20PM
Lourdes instead of New England, that is.

Jan. 5 2008 7:29PM
There is a monumental traffic jam outside. I've never seen it like this before because Steelers crowds have always been early arrivers. This one is coming late and I can't imagine that they'll all be in their seats for kickoff.

Jan. 5 2008 8:00PM
Game time has been moved back five minutes.

Jan. 5 2008 8:12PM
I don't have to wait until the first quarter to tell you about this crowd. It is here and it is ready to go.

Jan. 5 2008 8:15PM
The Steelers have won the toss and will receive.

Jan. 5 2008 8:18PM
The return is to the Steelers 20. Brian Iwuh made the tackle on Davenport.

Jan. 5 2008 8:20PM
Big play. Roethlisberger to Ward. He's out of bounds at the Jaguars 43. Gain of 31.

Jan. 5 2008 8:21PM
Penalty on John Henderson; personal foul, horse-collar tackle. The ball is at the Jaguars 34. It's a sack.

Jan. 5 2008 8:22PM
Roethlisberger to Ward for a first down at the 18. Gain of 11.

Jan. 5 2008 8:23PM
Davenport runs for a first down. First and goal at the Jaguars eight.

Jan. 5 2008 8:25PM
Roethlisberger to Matt Spaeth for seven. Second and goal. Jack Del Rio is challenging. Spaeth lost the ball as he reached it out for the goal line. Jack is going to win this challenge but I don't know what they do about it. Henderson has a strained hamstring. His return is questionable.

Jan. 5 2008 8:26PM
His knee appears to be down. I didn't see that at first. It's going to be second and goal at the one, I think.

Jan. 5 2008 8:27PM
That's a big mistake. The Jags lost a time out. Somebody should've seen the knee.

Jan. 5 2008 8:28PM
Third and goal. Henderson was carted off.

Jan. 5 2008 8:28PM
Touchdown! The Jaguars had been the only team in the league that hadn't allowed a touchdown on the opening drive this season.

Jan. 5 2008 8:30PM
The drive was 80 yards in 10 plays. The Jaguars must respond immediately because this crowd is into it.

Jan. 5 2008 8:32PM
Big return. All the way to the Steelers one-yard line. That may be the biggest play of the season for the Jaguars. They desperately needed it.

Jan. 5 2008 8:32PM
Touchdown! Fred Taylor went one yard. Maurice Jones-Drew was the returner.

Jan. 5 2008 8:34PM
Special teams is a place of great advantage for the Jaguars. The Steelers lost their special teams captain and their two top return men for this game. They are very vulnerable and I'm surprised they kicked it away.

Jan. 5 2008 8:36PM
The return by Davenport is to the Steelers 28-yard line.

Jan. 5 2008 8:37PM
Roethlisberger to Gary Russell for a first down at the Steelers 40.

Jan. 5 2008 8:38PM
Davenport runs up the middle for five yards. The Steelers are running well.

Jan. 5 2008 8:38PM
The Jaguars effectively used a run-blitz on that play. They read the formation and got the right call in.

Jan. 5 2008 8:39PM
Roethlisberger scrambles but comes up short of the first down. The Steelers will punt.

Jan. 5 2008 8:40PM
Great punt by Sepulveda. He's very impressive. The ball is at the Jaguars nine.

Jan. 5 2008 8:41PM
The Steelers are not giving Trai Essex any help. They're not chipping with the tight end or fullback. He's on his own at left tackle.

Jan. 5 2008 8:43PM
Offside Steelers. They are in attack mode up front. They're in the gaps, not like the last time when they played two-gap. The pass is going to be there for Garrard.

Jan. 5 2008 8:45PM
Jones-Drew got the first down on third and two. That was real big.

Jan. 5 2008 8:45PM
Time out, Jaguars. Garrard didn't like something. That's two times out used already.

Jan. 5 2008 8:48PM
Jones-Drew and Taylor want to cut everything back. That can be dangerous.

Jan. 5 2008 8:48PM
Garrard scrambles for a first down. He looked poised on that play.

Jan. 5 2008 8:49PM
Garrard to Lewis on a sneaky kind of pass play. It gained 11. First down at the Jaguars 44.

Jan. 5 2008 8:51PM
Bad overthrow by Garrard. A defender got his hand on it. It's third down.

Jan. 5 2008 8:51PM
Knocked down at the line. The Jaguars will punt, I suspect. I won't take anything for granted.

Jan. 5 2008 8:52PM
Podlesh got good wood but it was too good. It's in the end zone. The Steelers have it at their 20. Henderson has returned. I'll keep an eye on him.

Jan. 5 2008 8:55PM
Roethlisberger to Miller for a first down.

Jan. 5 2008 8:55PM
The Jaguars are getting a good rush. The Steelers are moving the pocket.

Jan. 5 2008 8:56PM
That's the end of the first quarter. The Steelers will have a third and eight at their 35.

Jan. 5 2008 8:59PM
Sack. It was a coverage sack. He had time to throw. Spicer gets the sack.

Jan. 5 2008 9:00PM
Northcutt on a short return. The Jaguars have good field position at their 39.

Jan. 5 2008 9:01PM
Sack. Garrard looked wobbly on that play. Lamar Woodley, the rookie, got the sack. It's back to the 26.

Jan. 5 2008 9:01PM
This crowd is going crazy. Taylor loses two.

Jan. 5 2008 9:02PM
The Jaguars will have to punt after an underneath completion.

Jan. 5 2008 9:03PM
Great punt by Podlesh. Very poor return by Cedrick Wilson. Illegal motion by Chad Nkang, however, so they'll do it all over again. That's too bad because the Steelers would've started at their six.

Jan. 5 2008 9:05PM
Fair catch at the 16. It was an outstanding punt. Podlesh is no problem tonight.

Jan. 5 2008 9:09PM
Tipped to Ward for a first down at the Steelers 48. It tipped off Miller's hands. It's a gain of 33.

Jan. 5 2008 9:11PM
Touchdown Jaguars. Mathis read the pass, jumped it and returned it for a touchdown. He read the formation. He knew what was coming. It was just like Mathis' pick in the overtime game in 2005. Sixty-three yards on the return.

Jan. 5 2008 9:15PM
The Steelers start at their 20. The Jags defense is playing great football.

Jan. 5 2008 9:15PM
The Jaguars are dominating the line of scrimmage again. It's the way it was three weeks ago now.

Jan. 5 2008 9:17PM
Another interception by Mathis. He returns to the Steelers 22. This is what happens when there is no threat of run.

Jan. 5 2008 9:17PM
Mike Tomlin is challenging the spot. Mathis appears to have been out of bounds near midfield.

Jan. 5 2008 9:21PM
Mathis was down by contact at the Steelers 46. The game is in the balance for the Steelers right now. If the Jaguars score here, it's nighty night.

Jan. 5 2008 9:22PM
Touchdown! Garrard to Jones-Drew on a simple wheel route. The Steelers were all messed up at the snap. They didn't know what they were doing.

Jan. 5 2008 9:26PM
This is what I expected. The Jaguars are far superior.

Jan. 5 2008 9:26PM
The Steelers offensive line is the worst I've seen all year. They can't even get off the ball. Davenport has no chance.

Jan. 5 2008 9:27PM
Sack. It's third and 16.

Jan. 5 2008 9:28PM
Another sack. We've got seven minutes to play in this half.

Jan. 5 2008 9:29PM
Mincey got the first sack and Landri got the second. Put me in, coach.

Jan. 5 2008 9:30PM
Fred runs for a first down to the Steelers 41.

Jan. 5 2008 9:30PM
They're gashing them now. I see some quit.

Jan. 5 2008 9:31PM
First down at the 29.

Jan. 5 2008 9:34PM
Scobee misses for 46. Come on, you gotta make those in the playoffs.

Jan. 5 2008 9:36PM
We're at the two-minute warning. The Steelers are at their 41.

Jan. 5 2008 9:40PM
Roethlisberger to Holmes at the Jaguars 29. The big edge the Jaguars have on defense is that they are able to get pressure on Roethlisberger with just four rushers. The Holmes catch is being reviewed.

Jan. 5 2008 9:43PM
They're reversing it to an incompletion. It'll be third and four.

Jan. 5 2008 9:43PM
That's a terrible call. The Jags got one there.

Jan. 5 2008 9:45PM
Roethlisberger to Davenport. First down at the 27. Roethlsiberger is fantastic under pressure. I don't know how he found Davenport.

Jan. 5 2008 9:47PM
Interception by Landri. I don't know if he was backing off the line or was just hanging there and he was right in front of the back coming out of the backfield.

Jan. 5 2008 9:48PM
That's the end of the half.

Jan. 5 2008 9:57PM
The goal in the second half, in my opinion, is to run the ball, shorten the game and get out of this thing without getting anyone hurt. Roethlisberger is having a horrible game and he's the only weapon they have.

Jan. 5 2008 10:01PM
For those of you that missed the Jones-Drew kick return, here it is.

Jan. 5 2008 10:02PM
All of the air has gone out of this stadium. The Jaguars were down 7-0 and then responded with three unanswered touchdowns. It's their game.

Jan. 5 2008 10:04PM
There's the interception. Garrard didn't see Farrior underneath. I thought he looked shaky in the first half.

Jan. 5 2008 10:04PM
The Steelers can't run at all. It's going to be all Ben all the time the rest of the way.

Jan. 5 2008 10:07PM
What a throw to Holmes. The ball is at the 15. When Roethlisberger has been good, he's been very, very good. When he's been bad, he's been awful.

Jan. 5 2008 10:09PM
The Steelers have to kick. Great defense by the Jags. Jeff Reed is good from 28. That was a very important stop by the Jags.

Jan. 5 2008 10:12PM
The Jags start at their 18. Just run it, please.

Jan. 5 2008 10:13PM
There are empty seats, but the crowd is still trying. The disappointment in this stadium is palpable.

Jan. 5 2008 10:15PM
Big play here; third and one.

Jan. 5 2008 10:16PM
Great job by Koetter. He got them spread out and then Garrard found room to run for a first down. A QB who can run is a weapon if you use that ability wisely.

Jan. 5 2008 10:16PM
I detect a fear to let Garrard throw. That won't work in New England.

Jan. 5 2008 10:17PM
Sack, but there's a penalty against the Steelers. Facemask by Ike Taylor, the big one. That's really bad on him.

Jan. 5 2008 10:18PM
Nice throw by Garrard to Wilford. That's what I needed to see. Gain of 20 to the Steelers 30.

Jan. 5 2008 10:19PM
Garrard to Wilford again, to the 10. Now he looks good.

Jan. 5 2008 10:20PM
Touchdown! Jones-Drew around left end for 10 yards. He wasn't even touched. The most impressive thing is the way the Jaguars have responded every time the Steelers have done something.

Jan. 5 2008 10:21PM
This is not a playoff-caliber Steelers team. They have a major personnel task ahead of them.

Jan. 5 2008 10:27PM
Roethlisberger to Miller for a first down.

Jan. 5 2008 10:29PM
Roethlisberger to Ward for a first down at the Jax 35.

Jan. 5 2008 10:31PM
Sack by Rob Meier. That was a coverage sack and the reason it was a coverage sack is because the Jags are rushing only four guys. Four guys are whipping five guys.

Jan. 5 2008 10:32PM
That's the end of the third quarter. The Steelers have to go for it on fourth down. It's fourth and 12. The Jags have five sacks which ties a team postseason record.

Jan. 5 2008 10:33PM
This game, just like the last one, is all about the two lines. The Jags are dominant in every way. They're able to drop seven into coverage against three and four receivers.

Jan. 5 2008 10:35PM
Touchdown! Roethlisberger to Holmes for 37 yards. It was a beautiful throw. Led him perfectly. The Jags were blitzing.

Jan. 5 2008 10:36PM
The Jags have to respond immediately. Holmes beat Mathis, I believe.

Jan. 5 2008 10:37PM
Roethlisberger is a dangerous QB. He has a flair for the dramatic. I repeat, the Jags must respond.

Jan. 5 2008 10:41PM
That was close. Off Jones-Drew's hands and Polamalu was there.

Jan. 5 2008 10:42PM
Sacked by Harrison at the 24. The Jags have to punt. This is troubling.

Jan. 5 2008 10:44PM
Fair catch at the 31.

Jan. 5 2008 10:47PM
Two completions have the Steelers at the 50, but it's third and three.

Jan. 5 2008 10:47PM
To Ward for a first down.

Jan. 5 2008 10:49PM
To Miller for a first down. Miller is a bull.

Jan. 5 2008 10:50PM
To Wilson for a first down at the 15.

Jan. 5 2008 10:51PM
Dropped by Davenport. I shudder to think what Willie Parker would've done with that throw.

Jan. 5 2008 10:52PM
Touchdown! To Miller for 14. Look out. This guy scares me.

Jan. 5 2008 10:53PM
They went for two and got it, but there's a flag. It's holding on the Steelers center.

Jan. 5 2008 10:54PM
Gutsy run by Roethlisberger, but he was stopped shy of the goal line.

Jan. 5 2008 10:55PM
I don't care how many interceptions he throws, this is a great talent. The guy always looks downfield. He always try to make plays and makes a lot of them. As he grows, he will become the whole package.

Jan. 5 2008 10:56PM
The fans hadn't left. They were just hanging around. They're back in their seats.

Jan. 5 2008 10:56PM
The Jags must respond.

Jan. 5 2008 10:58PM
Enormous hit on the kick coverage. Scott Starks got blasted by Carey Davis but Scotty hung onto the ball.

Jan. 5 2008 10:58PM
Holding against the Jags. I don't see an empty seat. This place is on fire.

Jan. 5 2008 11:00PM
Interception by Ike Taylor. It was a terrible throw. Garrard made the touchdown-saving tackle. It's at the 16.

Jan. 5 2008 11:01PM
To Davis at the eight.

Jan. 5 2008 11:03PM
First and goal after a sneak by Roethlisberger.

Jan. 5 2008 11:04PM
To Ward to the two.

Jan. 5 2008 11:04PM
Dangerous pass. It's second and goal.

Jan. 5 2008 11:05PM
It's fourth and goal. The game is on the line. They're going for it.

Jan. 5 2008 11:06PM
Pass interference on Brian Williams. First and goal.

Jan. 5 2008 11:07PM
Touchdown! Davenport plunge. They'll go for two.

Jan. 5 2008 11:09PM
Incomplete. It's in the hands of the offense now.

Jan. 5 2008 11:09PM
Tomlin made a big mistake not kicking two touchdowns ago. He could've kicked then and kicked just now and he's have a three-point lead.

Jan. 5 2008 11:11PM
Big hit on the kick coverage again. Starks took it back to the 22.

Jan. 5 2008 11:12PM
False start by Barnes. The crowd is roaring. Every seat is full. The towels are flying.

Jan. 5 2008 11:13PM
Dropped by Greg Jones. He could've run forever.

Jan. 5 2008 11:14PM
To Northcutt for a first down at the 36.

Jan. 5 2008 11:16PM
Lots of pressure that time. It's third down.

Jan. 5 2008 11:18PM
Sacked by Woodley, again. Podlesh is in to punt.

Jan. 5 2008 11:18PM
Wilson returns to the 22. Great punt; 53 yards. There is 3:43 to play.

Jan. 5 2008 11:21PM
Two runs and it's third down. Time out, Jaguars, their first. Do the Steelers risk a pass? Or do they run, punt and put it into the hands of their defense?

Jan. 5 2008 11:23PM
They ran. Time out, Jaguars. That's a very conservative call. They're going to put the ball in the hands of their defense.

Jan. 5 2008 11:24PM
Good return by Northcutt. The ball is near midfield. It's up to Garrard. All he needs to do is throw a couple of completions and turn it over to Scobee.

Jan. 5 2008 11:25PM
Dropped by Wilford on a low throw.

Jan. 5 2008 11:26PM
Del Rio is challenging. I hope he's sure of what he's doing because that's his last time out he's playing with. Wilford had his hands under the ball. It's all about whether the view is conclusive.

Jan. 5 2008 11:26PM
It hit the ground. Oh, my.

Jan. 5 2008 11:27PM
This is great drama. A QB has to be up to it. This is Garrard's time.

Jan. 5 2008 11:28PM
Complete. It's third and short. They could run here.

Jan. 5 2008 11:29PM
That's the two-minute warning. The Jaguars are facing third and two at the Steelers' 43. I say run it because you're going to go for it on fourth down if you don't make it. Make it a two-down run for it.

Jan. 5 2008 11:31PM
Incomplete. This is it. Fourth down. The whole season is on the line.

Jan. 5 2008 11:32PM
Garrard scrambles to the 10. You had to know it was coming. It was a QB draw for 32 yards. Time out, Steelers, their first.

Jan. 5 2008 11:33PM
Run, run, run, kick.

Jan. 5 2008 11:34PM
Farrior stuck Jones-Drew like no one has ever hit him. The ball is at the 14.

Jan. 5 2008 11:35PM
Jones-Drew to the eight. Time out, Steelers, their last. There is 1:25 to play. They're likely to get the ball back with about 50 seconds to play.

Jan. 5 2008 11:37PM
Jones-Drew to the two. Fourth and one. He's going to take delay of game.

Jan. 5 2008 11:37PM
Here it is. Scobee on a chip shot.

Jan. 5 2008 11:38PM
Good. Jags lead. There are 37 seconds to play and the Steelers have no times out.

Jan. 5 2008 11:40PM
Return to the 28. There is :25 to play.

Jan. 5 2008 11:40PM
Fumble on the sack. Game over.

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