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O-Zone Late Night: Steelers 20, Jaguars 16

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JACKSONVILLE – This was devastating.

There’s not much other way to describe the Jaguars’ 20-16 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers at TIAA Bank Field Sunday.

The Jaguars squandered a 16-point second-half lead, losing when Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger scored on a one-yard run with :03 remaining. That capped a wild fourth quarter in which the Steelers scored twice and in which the Jaguars’ offense couldn’t manage a first down when a couple – perhaps even one – would have clinched what would have been an emotional victory.

Instead, the Jaguars lost a sixth consecutive game. 

This should have been a game remembered for an otherworldly performance by cornerback Jalen Ramsey, and it should have bene remembered as perhaps the Jaguars’ best defensive performance of the season.

Instead, it will be remembered as one of the worst days of a difficult season for quarterback Blake Bortles, who fairly or unfairly will get the blame for a beat-up offense – in particular, a beat-up offensive line – failing as a group throughout a maddening second half.

A lot went right for the Jaguars for three quarters Sunday. This felt throughout that time like it might be one of the more memorable days of what is fast becoming a forgettable season.

It didn’t work out that way. Again.

Let’s get to it …

Joshua from Jacksonville

The play-calling really felt like there was a lack of faith in the pass game. If that's truly the case, I expect Cody Kessler to play next week. Is it possible to get a real evaluation of our players and coordinators with a quarterback in place that hampers game plans? 

I got many, many emails during and after the game wondering why the Jaguars didn’t replace Bortles. Many of those cited what you cited – a lack of faith in the passing game. And there indeed was a lack of faith in the passing game on Sunday. My first impression was that that lack of faith was as much in an offensive line that allowed six sacks and a lot more pressure as well as a receiving corps that struggled to get open. If Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone felt this was a “Bortles-only problem,” he would have made a quarterback change Sunday. Because he didn’t, I assume that Bortles will remain the starter.We’ll see what the week brings.

Jordan from Lake Buena Vista, FL

John. I never really understood why people would send you questions during the game, but here I am. During the first quarter, writing to you. I think I like it. 

This was the much-ballyhooed, much-anticipated, oft-criticized First Email of the Game. Congratulations.

Logan from Wichita, KS

I get it some people don't like Jalen being Jalen. But are we seriously going to get rid of him? That is beyond stupid! Look what happened to the Raiders when they traded their star player. We get rid of Jalen, our next 10 seasons are 100 percentguaranteed to be a steaming pile of 1-15 back, to back, to back. DON'T SELL OFF STAR TALENT!!!!

Adam Schefter of ESPN reported Sunday morning that the Jaguars likely will consider trading Ramsey in the offseason. The Jaguars immediately issued a press release saying that the team has zero interest in trading Ramsey. Ramsey said afterward Head Coach Doug Marrone spoke to him briefly about the situation before the game, but that the situation didn’t really motivate him Sunday. Whatever motivated him, it was a startlingly impressive game from the All-Pro cornerback. 

Jagfan from 818 and Jacksonville

Zone … the Steelers did not out play the Jags! They won this game because of POOR Ref calls!!!!!!! This game has probably cost us any playoff chance we had, but our Defense put it all on the line! They need to hold their heads high. I love my Jags!!!!

I haven’t reviewed all of the calls against the Jaguars Sunday. My guess is some were OK and correct. But the roughing call on Jaguars defensive end Calais Campbell … not good.

Leon from Austin, TX

Shut down all the Trade rumors, Jags front office: Pay the man!! #100MillionCorner

Ramsey turned in a remarkable performance Sunday. He had two interceptions, both of which were the sort of big-time athletic plays few cornerbacks can make. There’s a reason he was an All-Pro selection last season. He’s elite. Credit Ramsey for this, too: He struggled last week against the Indianapolis Colts in a big way. It was probably his worst game in the NFL. He responded with one his best.

Dave from North Kingstown, RI

No question, that one hurt!!! I mean this season has hurt but that one, really hurt!!! 

Yep.

Adam from Bryan, TX

That has to be the most-conservative, worst, scared-to-fail, boring play-calling I've ever seen, and I've been watching football for a long time. I can’t think of anything I've ever seen like that before in my life. I can understand the running attack. It was working. But they didn’t do any tossed, pitches, reverses, bootlegs, or anything to switch up the look. Why did they keep running up the middle after it stopped working?

The Jaguars didn’t want to pass because it wasn’t working, and because Bortles was under duress throughout the game. There was a thought that one first down could clinch the game, and that Jaguars’ defense could protect the lead. It didn’t happen.

Brad from Orange Park, FL

Hey O, do me a favor? When you see Jalen will you please tell him I said I am sorry for the things I said? That I was wrong, he was right. I will spend my days left on earth trying to make it right between us. Signed - myself & all other Jaguars fan worth their weight in teal. #twentypleasedontgo 

We got a few of these during Sunday’s game. That’s OK. Fans gonna fan.

Al from Orange Park, FL

What was it? Four straight three-and-outs when we needed to take time off the clock? This is all on the offense. 

Yes, the Jaguars’ offense went three-and-out on four consecutive possessions. They had minus-3 yards on those drives. As well as the Jaguars’ offense ran at times in the first half, any positives were completely negated by being completely ineffective on those four drives.

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