LAST WEEK: The Jaguars were defeated by the Pittsburgh Steelers in overtime 23-17 at Three Rivers Stadium. The Jaguars had a 10-0 lead at halftime and 17-14 in the fourth quarter but were outscored 23-7 and outgained 320 to 101 yards in the second half and overtime. The Steelers tied the game 17-17 on a 19-yard field goal by Norm Johnson with 2:21 left in regulation, and then won it after driving 77 yards in nine plays after winning the overtime coin toss. Jerome Bettis, who rushed for 99 yards on 28 carries, scored the game winner on a 17-yard shovel pass from Kordell Stewart. Stewart completed 25 of 42 passes for 317 yards and two touchdowns and also scored a TD on a one-yard dive. Mark Brunell threw for 214 yards and two touchdowns for Jacksonville but left the game on the Jaguars' final drive with a dislocated knuckle on his left (throwing) hand. The Jaguars had the ball for just 8:18 in the second half. FROM COACH TOM COUGHLIN ON THE STEELERS GAME: "We fought hard, but our second half was not good enough. We came in to be aggressive. We had the ball third-and-one, had the ball fourth-and-one; I'd go for it again. On the road trying to be the aggressor, I'd go for it again. They had too many drives in the second half, too much producation and not enough on our part. I thought that we were in control of the game in the first half, but the second half was not good enough. I felt really good about it at halftime. I knew exactly what they would try to do in the second half and certainly they were going to come out and try and run it, which is the way they have played in the second half when they are down. They made some plays and we didn't make enough in the second half."
(on not making plays after getting turnovers) "We did not take advantage of that. We had two turnovers in the first half and did not come up with any points. That is a nightmare. You get the ball, you get the opportunity and you don't get points on the board. That is another thing we are going to take a hard look at."
(on the two straight close road losses) "It is very frustrating. I feel bad for our players. They prepared well. This was a big game. The word out of Pittsburgh was it was a playoff type game and we were motivated by that as well. I certainly think we prepared well and it is frustrating, particularly when these games are so close and the opportunities are there. We had a couple of turnovers that we did not get anything out of, and normally what has happened is when we get turnovers we turn them into touchdowns." FROM QB MARK BRUNELL: "It was one of the biggest games in our history, a chance to be on top and a chance to be in the driver's seat for the last half of the season. It was a big football game for them, too, and they played with a fire that we did not have in the second half. We have to find a way to get that fire. That is what we are lacking right now. This time last year we were 3-5, we were struggling quite a bit and we found a way to turn it on and that is what this football team needs to do right now. We need to find a way to win the games, but I think we are going to do it. We have pretty much the same team, we added a couple of guys, and the same guys that are in this lockerroom right now are the guys who were in the lockerrooms last year. So there is no reason for us to get down or cash it in, because we have a lot of games ahead of us and the opportunites are out there for us. We just have to come together and start playing football."
(not scoring after getting turnovers) "That was tough. You get good field position, you need to put some points on the board. That is the toughest thing because those opportunities are going to come up and when they do you have to take advantage of them and if you don't you are in big trouble." FROM OT TONY BOSELLI: "We had a lot of chances to get after them but we didn't make plays and they made them. That's why we lost. We have to play better in the second half. We're not playing very good football right now and we have to step it up. This isn't an expansion team anymore just looking for a pat on the back just because we got close to a win on the road. We take no satisfaction in that. When you blow chances against two good teams (Dallas a week earlier) in their own backyard, at the end of the year that could come back to haunt us. But we have to put this game behind us. It's only the halfway mark. We have eight games left. At this point last year we weren't even close to this record. Let's go win eight in a row and see what happens, but we have to start on the road at Tennessee. We have to fix our road problems." NOTES FROM THE STEELERS GAME: The Jaguars were outgained for the fifth consecutive game (267 yards to 439), and they had fewer first downs (16 to 26) and less time of possession (24:20 to 41:27), and they had the ball for just 58 plays to Pittsburgh's 82 (73 in regulation). The Jaguars were outgained by 172 yards, the second most in franchise history (215 yards by Seattle on 11/10/95) . . . Pittsburgh's scoring drives were 80, 98, 71 and 77 yards . . . The Jaguars were outrushed (73 yards to 141) and outpassed (194 to 298) . . . They also had 11 penalties, their most since the season opener, for 69 yards. . . Mark Brunell was 15 of 30 for 214 yards, with two touchdowns and no interceptions. It was the eighth time in the last 10 games that Brunell was not intercepted. . . . The Jaguars had one turnover and three takeaways, leaving them with an AFC-leading plus-nine turnover ratio for the season. However, the three turnovers netted just seven points . . . The Jaguars had 23 carries for 73 yards, the fourth time in eight games they have been held to fewer than 75 yards rushing. James Stewart led the team with 39 yards on 16 carries. . . . Jimmy Smith led the team with four receptions for 50 yards. Pete Mitchell had his first TD catch of the year, and Willie Jackson had his second. . . . Jimmy Smith has had at least one reception in 32 consecutive regular-season games. Keenan McCardell has caught at least one pass in 30 straight games, 24 with the Jaguars. . . . Smith joins Pete Mitchell, Don Davey, Rich Griffith, Bryan Barker and Mike Hollis as the six Jaguars who have played in all 40 regular-season games in team history. . . . OT Tony Boselli started his 36th consecutive game for the Jaguars, extending his team record. . . . SLB Jeff Kopp, making his first start, made his first NFL interception on Pittsburgh's first offensive play of the game . . . The Jaguars had three sacks, two of them by Tony Brackens (fifth and sixth of season) and one by Jeff Lageman (second). The Jaguars now have 25 sacks in eight games, 12 short of the team-record 37 they had in 1996. . . . MLB Bryan Schwartz led the team with 17 tackles (6 solo), followed by DE Tony Brackens with 12 tackles (7 solo). . . . SS Travis Davis had his third fumble recovery of the season, tying Brackens' single-season record. Brackens' two forced fumbles gives him five for the season, tying the team record he set last year . . . Rookie CB Curtis Anderson saw his first NFL action and DE Joel Smeenge played strongside linebacker much of the game for the first time this season. . . . The only player who dressed but did not play was C Michael Cheever . . . Friday¹s inactives were: RB Natrone Means, CB Aaron Beasley, LB Kevin Hardy and G/OT Todd Fordham; Sunday¹s inactives were: QB Steve Matthews (third QB), S Mike Logan, G/OT Jeff Novak and DE Jabbar Threats. . . . Jaguars captains were OT Tony Boselli, G Ben Coleman, LB Eddie Robinson and CB Dave Thomas. MILLER LITE PLAYER OF THE WEEK: The Jaguars' nominee for the Miller Lite Player of the Week Award is DE Tony Brackens, who made 12 tackles (7 solo), two sacks, two forced fumbles and four tackles for loss in the Jaguars' overtime loss at Pittsburgh. Brackens now ranks fourth in the AFC with six sacks for the season. NEXT WEEK: The Jaguars will return home for the first time in a month to host the Kansas City Chiefs for the first time ever on Sunday, November 9. Kickoff is at 1:00 EST at ALLTEL Stadium. It will be the Jaguars' first home game in four weeks. They are 4-0 at home so far this season and have won 10 straight home games dating back to last year. The Chiefs are 6-2 and in second place in the AFC West after defeating the St. Louis Cardinals 28-20 on Sunday. They host Pittsburgh on Monday night before travelling to Jacksonville. SMITH AND McCARDELL HAVE FOURTH-MOST RECEPTIONS: Jacksonville's starting tandem of wide receivers -- Keenan McCardell and Jimmy Smith -- have combined for the fourth-most receptions of any team's top two wideouts so far this season. McCardell and Smith have caught a combined 79 passes for 1,097 yards and five touchdowns this year. Here's the top receiving tandems in the NFL:
1997 STATS AND SUCH: The Jaguars had one play of 30-plus yards against Pittsburgh (a 45-yard pass from Mark Brunell to Willie Jackson), giving them eight for the season in eight games. In 1996, they had 26 plays of 30-plus yards and 12 30-plus plays in 1995 . . . In two seasons, the Jaguars are 5-8 in September, 6-7 in October, 2-4 in November and 5-3 in December . . . With the loss to the Steelers, Mark Brunell is now 15-17 as a starter in regular-season games, 17-18 overall . . . The Jaguars have outscored their opponents in the first (62-17) and fourth quarters (66-51) and have been outscored in the second (50-55) and third quarters (30-39) . . . The Jaguars have scored on their first possession in five of their eight games this season (4 TDs, 1 FG), while their opponents have done so only twice (1 TD, 1 FG) . . . The offense has used six different starting lineup combinations in the eight games, the defense five different lineups. . . . DE Tony Brackens had a red-hot October, compiling four sacks, four forced fumbles, 27 tackles, four tackles for loss, three passes blocked and one PAT blocked in four games without starting any. JAGUARS AMONG THE LEAGUE LEADERS: The Jaguars rank 17th in the NFL in total offense (24th rushing, 11th passing), and they rank 26th in defense (11th rushing and 24th passing) . . . heir average of 26.0 points a game is fifth in the NFL, behind Denver (29.8), New England (27.9), Oakland (26.6) and San Francisco (26.3) . . . he Jaguars rank 10th in the NFL in third down percentage (42 of 105, 40.0 percent) . . . he Jaguars are tied for last in the NFL in opponent¹s third-down conversions (54 of 112, 48.2 percent) . . . he Jaguars' plus-9 difference in turnovers-takeaways is the best in the AFC and tied for the second best in the NFL behind San Francisco (plus-15); the New York Giants are also plus-9. Their seven giveaways are tied for the second fewest in the NFL behind Miami (4) and Dallas (7). . . . RB James Stewart is tied for second in the league with Oakland¹s James Jett with eight touchdowns. Denver¹s Terrell Davis has nine. . . . QB Mark Brunell ranks third in the AFC in passing with a 88.5 rating. . . . WR Jimmy Smith is tied for second in the AFC with 43 receptions and is fourth with 610 receiving yards. Keenan McCardell is tied for ninth in the AFC with 36 catches. His 487 yards ranks 12th. . . . Natrone Means is 14th in the AFC with 342 rushing yards despite missing the last two games and having just two carries the week prior to those two. Stewart ranks 20th with 269 rushing yards. . . . Smith is 11th in the AFC with 610 total yards from scrimmage. . . . Bryan Barker¹s 46.7-yard punting average is second in the league and his 38.7 net average is tied for fourth in the NFL. . . . Deon Figures is tied for third in the conference with three interceptions . . . ony Brackens is tied for fourth in the AFC with six sacks. ROSTER NOTES: On opening day, the Jaguars tied for the ninth-youngest team in the league with an average age of 26.0 (the league average was 26.5 years). The Jaguars had 10 rookies and first-year players (the average was 10.2), but they had only six players age 30 and over, which tied for the fourth fewest in the NFL . . . The average age of the roster as of October 27 was 26.0 years old. There currently are 24 players 25 or younger, 25 players between 26 and 29 years old, and just four players 30 or older. The youngest player is DE Jabbar Threats (22 years, 5 months), and the oldest is P Bryan Barker (33). . . . Eleven rookies are on the roster, including the first six draft choices (DT Renaldo Wynn, DB Mike Logan, LB James Hamilton, DT Seth Payne, TE Damon Jones and FB Daimon Shelton), four undrafted rookies (CBs Kevin Devine and Curtis Anderson, G/OT Todd Fordham and DE Jabbar Threats), and one rookie drafted by another team (DB Ricky Parker, Chicago). . . . More than half of the players (29) have three years or less of NFL experience, and only five players are in their eighth season or more . . . There are 14 players who are new to the team this year, and 39 who were with the team before this year. Of the 14 new players, there are 11 rookies, as well as QB Steve Matthews (claimed on waivers from Kansas City), WR Will Moore (veteran free agent) and CB Deon Figures (unrestricted free agent from Pittsburgh).
Six Jaguars have played in all 43 games (regular season and postseason) in franchise history: WR Jimmy Smith, TEs Pete Mitchell and Rich Griffith, DT Don Davey, PK Mike Hollis and P Bryan Barker. . . . One member of the Original 10 Jaguars who signed contracts on December 15, 1994 is still with the team: RB Randy Jordan, who played in 1995 and '96 and was re-signed on September 24 . . . The Jaguars have 10 players on their roster who were first-round selections in the college draft, including four of their own picks: DE Jeff Lageman (1989, New York Jets), DT Kelvin Pritchett (1991, Dallas Cowboys, but traded to Detroit on Draft Day), TE Derek Brown (1992, New York Giants), OT Leon Searcy (1992, Pittsburgh Steelers), S Dana Hall (1992, San Francisco 49ers), CB Deon Figures (1993, Pittsburgh Steelers), OT Tony Boselli (1995, Jaguars), RB James Stewart (1995, Jaguars), LB Kevin Hardy (1996, Jaguars), DT Renaldo Wynn (1997, Jaguars). . . . OT Leon Searcy has started the most consecutive games, 72 dating back to 1993 when he was with the Steelers. OT Tony Boselli has started 36 straight games and has not missed a snap since moving into the lineup on September 24, 1995. . . . DE Clyde Simmons has played in 180 straight games, going back to 1986 when he was with the Eagles. In fact, Simmons has never missed a game during his career (except the three 1987 strike games). OT Leon Searcy has played in 86 straight games. . . . Four players have played in more than 100 games during their careers: Simmons (180), C Dave Widell (147), DE Jeff Lageman (113), P Bryan Barker (111). . . . Simmons has 161 career starts, followed by Lageman (109), Widell (87) and LB Eddie Robinson (79). . . . Widell will make his 39th regular-season start as a Jaguar in the next game, extending his team record. OT Tony Boselli and DT Don Davey will each make their 37th start for the Jaguars.