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The coach was right


Jack Del Rio said, "We have to find a way to score more points," and the reporter thought to himself, "No kidding, coach."

Then the reporter decided to take a harder look at the stats sheet. What is this? Six rushing touchdowns the whole season? Are you kidding me?

Maybe the coach has something here. Maybe the coach put the tip of his finger directly on why his team has lost five of its last eight games.

Six rushing touchdowns? That's a little better than one rushing touchdown for every two games the Jaguars have played this year, and that won't work in this league.

What's the difference between the Steelers' 10-1 record and the Jaguars' 6-5? How about eight more rushing touchdowns by the Steelers. Jerome Bettis has rushed for 11 alone. Jaguars running backs have only scored three rushing touchdowns.

There's more, however, to this saga than just a lack of rushing touchdowns. The Jaguars' problems, especially in October and November, are a direct result of an overall scoring dysfunction.

The Jaguars have only scored 18 touchdowns the whole season. In contrast, this week's opponent has scored 30, and we're talking about a Steelers team that is and always has been about defense-first.

Pittsburgh has scored exactly as many passing touchdowns as the Jaguars have, 12. The difference, of course, is in the running game. When the Steelers get near the goal line, they put the snow plow attachment on their front grill. The Jaguars often have had to resort to the pass.

The score-by-quarters comparison may be even more revealing. Pittsburgh's highest-scoring quarter is the first, 86 points. What that has allowed the Steelers to do is play with the lead, and that has allowed them to lean even harder on their running game.

Jacksonville's lowest-scoring quarter is the first, in which the Jaguars have tallied a scant 14 points. The Jaguars' highest-scoring quarter is the fourth, in which the Jaguars have scored 70 points. The translation is obvious: The Jaguars too often find themselves playing catch-up, and that's not the way to get Fred Taylor more touches.

You're right, coach. You said there was a problem with playing from behind, and there is. You said the team has to find a way to score points, and it does, especially when it comes to scoring rushing touchdowns.

Yards are OK, but it's points that count.

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