PITTSBURGH, Pa. – Andrew Wingard put it succinctly.
"You don't fire up a hungry dog," he said.
The Jaguars' defensive players on Sunday turned out to be some very hungry dogs – and yes, Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver George Pickens's words resonated in the days leading to the Jaguars’ 20-10 victory over the Steelers at Acrisure Stadium.
The Steelers' second-year veteran this week referred to the Jaguars as "kind of a hope defense."
"That's just not smart," said Wingard, a fifth-year safety whose fourth-quarter interception set up a game-clinching field goal and was one of two Jaguars interceptions Sunday. "Especially with a guy like two (safety Rayshawn Jenkins) in your locker room, who's just a dog who's going to fight.
"You just don't, it's not smart. And we went out and showed it."
The Jaguars held the Steelers without a first quarter first down, with Pittsburgh producing three points and 100 yards in the first half. The Steelers finished with 78 yards rushing, including 42 by running backs, and their lone touchdown came on a 22-yard pass from quarterback Mitchell Trubisky to Pickens with :53 remaining in the third quarter. That made it 17-10, Jaguars.
Pittsburgh finished with 261 total yards, converting three of 12 third downs. Pickens caught one pass for 22 yards.
"When you give us bulletin board material like that, of course we're going to come out and really show you how we play this game," Jenkins said. "We put a lot of work into this game and for someone to disrespect us like that, we took that personal. He's a young guy and hopefully he learns to not bark up the wrong tree. Going back to that hope thing, man, like I keep telling everybody, we were just hoping they would've come in here and put up a better fight than that, you know?"
Said middle linebacker Foye Oluokun, "That's some full defense stuff. It's a full team thing. We put a lot of work in, week in and week out. We believe in ourselves and put that on tape. I forgot what he said … hope. I looked up at one point … 120 in the air, maybe 20 on the ground? I don't even know.
"For a hope defense I guess we hoped pretty well today."
- The Jaguars won Sunday despite having more giveaways (three) than takeaways. They also won despite scoring four times on nine possessions past midfield. The Jaguars finished with 377 yards and 20 first downs, scoring a field goal with a lost fumble and an interception on three possessions inside the Steelers 20. The Jaguars faced first-and-goal at the Steelers' six-yard line with 10:24 remaining when quarterback Lawrence was intercepted by safety Demontae Kazee five yards deep in the end zone. The Steelers drove for their lone score of the first half – a 22-yard field goal by kicker Chris Boswell – on the ensuing possession. "We just have to find ways to finish those drives," Lawrence said. "I had a bad play down in the red zone that can't happen. That took seven points, but at least three points, off the board for us. That shouldn't happen. I can't let that happen being a quarterback. I have to be smarter there."
- Lawrence: "We still have more to work for. We're still not the best team in the league. We still have more out there for us. That's all we know. It would be great if this decided playoffs and all that right now, but it doesn't. We know we have nine games left. This honestly means nothing. It means we have a great start to the season, in a good position going forward. We have a lot of big games after this [Week 9] bye – a lot of really good teams, too. We're just getting started. We know what's in front of us. We can't look too far ahead and think we've done everything."
- Tight end Evan Engram: "We've had our backs against the wall a lot the past year and a half. I already learned a lot about this team and this locker room. Coming in here and getting this win is just reassurance of what we already know and what we're capable of if we continue to get better."
- Running back Travis Etienne Jr.: "We just try to win. We can play with finesse; we can play physical games. We just try to just come out here each and every week and win the game, just do whatever it takes to win. That's whether we have to be physical or have to finesse a little bit. I feel like we're a great team and we have great personnel all over the field and we could come out here and win any game if we just execute."
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