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JACKSONVILLE – The NFL is offering fans free access to its Game Pass platform, making any game available dating to 2009. In the coming weeks, we at jaguars.com will highlight Jaguars games from that era. In this story, we highlight a 2017 Week 5 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pa.
The teams: Jaguars versus Pittsburgh Steelers.
The date: October 8, 2017.
The site: Heinz Field.
The setup: The Jaguars entered this October game as an inconsistent team, having looked dominant in Week 1 and 3 victories over the Houston Texans and Baltimore Ravens – and stumbling in losses at home to Tennessee and at the New York Jets. Pittsburgh entered as one of the AFC's dominant teams in recent seasons – and was on its way to a 13-3 regular-season record and fourth consecutive postseason appearance.
The gist: The Jaguars turned in one of their most memorable and important regular-season victories in recent memory, rallying from an early deficit before pulling away in a dominant second half. The Jaguars intercepted Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger five times, returning two for third-quarter touchdowns, and running back Leonard Fournette had the biggest game of his rookie season. That was the most interceptions in Roethlisberger's career.
Images of the Jaguars Week 5 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Quotable I: "The Pittsburgh game was when it really clicked. It was a combination of belief and confidence. There was hope and a feeling that we could. We established in the opener a feeling of, 'We can,' but we had ups and downs. We were a young team with some new coaches to a degree. … I remember practice that week [before the Steelers game] thinking, 'We're about to beat these guys. We can beat them bad.''' – Jaguars defensive end Calais Campbell
Grinding it out: The Jaguars led the NFL in rushing in 2017, and this was one of their most dominant games in this area. Fournette and the offensive line controlled the pace of the game, and Jacksonville outrushed the Steelers 231-71. The Jaguars also forced five turnovers while committing just one.
Quotable II: "We were starting to roll, and you're going against a premier team – a great fan base, a great home crowd. A lot of people doubted us because it was the Steelers. We wanted to show what our defense was capable of. That was the message all week: 'They're still doubting us. Let's go out there and show them.' That's what we did – on defense and offense. We played with that chip on our shoulder." – Jaguars cornerback A.J. Bouye
The statistics: Jaguars – Blake Bortles (8-14 passing, 95 yards, zero touchdowns, one interception); Fournette (28 rushes, 181 yards, two touchdowns); Marqise Lee (two receptions, 49 yards, zero touchdowns); Steelers – Roethlisberger (33-55, 312 yards, zero touchdowns, five interceptions); Le'Veon Bell (12 rushes, 47 yards, zero touchdowns); Antonio Brown (10 receptions, 157 yards, zero touchdowns).
Quotable III: "My thought process was, 'OK, I've been here before where you've got to go to Pittsburgh and beat the Steelers.' It's a very difficult place to play. My focus with the team was, 'Our challenge is going to be we've got to go up there and we've got to out-physical this team.' That's the one thing about the Steelers is if you can't match the physicality – and they've been a physical team for a long period of time – you get yourself in trouble. They had a lot of explosive players on offense and they have a lot of really good players on defense." – Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone
The key series: The Jaguars broke open a tight game in the third quarter after Fournette's two-yard dive gave them a 7-6 halftime lead. Kicker Chris Boswell's third field goal of the game midway through the third quarter gave the Steelers a 9-7 lead. But linebacker Telvin Smith returned an interception 28 yards for a touchdown to give the Jaguars a 14-9 lead and safety Barry Church's 51-yard interception return on the ensuing Pittsburgh series pushed the lead to 21-9 with 3:59 remaining in the third quarter.
Quotable IV: "At the beginning of the game, [the Steelers] were saying, 'Now, you've got to play a real team. Now, you've got to play us.' The first drive, they came out and we kept them to a field goal, but they drove all the way down the field. We're like, 'OK, we knew it was going to be tough, but we held them to a field goal.' We settled into the game, then we played the ball we were playing all year creating turnovers and really controlling the game." – Jaguars defensive tackle Abry Jones
The clincher: After Smith and Church returned interceptions for touchdowns in the third quarter, the Jaguars burned clock with a 12-play, 67-yard that was all running plays – and that ended in a 47-yard field goal by kicker Jason Myers. That pushed the Jaguars' lead to 24-9 before Fournette's 90-yard run just after the two-minute warning provided the final margin.
Quotable V: "It made the statement that the team we had and the year we were having absolutely was legit. You saw how dominant defensively we could play, and the types of players we had. It was Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers. It was a great team. It's a great franchise. To beat them like that, that really cemented things for us." – Jaguars middle linebacker Paul Posluszny