What We Learned Against the Steelers

The Jaguars played their best defensive game of the season on Sunday and they're getting closer to a victory. We're going to compare how our "Keys to Victory" played out in Sunday's 17-9 loss.

The Jaguars played hard and were competitive, but simply couldn’t make quite enough plays to earn a victory as they fell to 0-5 after a 17-9 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. We’re going to compare our keys to victory with what actually occurred on the field.

Keys To A Jaguars Victory

Win first down. The Jaguars didn’t get enough positive plays on first downs to keep them out of third and longs. Too many penalties and drops.

Stop Le’Veon Bell. The Jaguars made it a point not to get beat by the running game and they held Le’Veon Bell to 82 yards on 15 carries. They gave up 111 yards rushing on 28 carries on the day.

Dominate special teams. Jacksonville made all their field goal attempts but there were no big plays on special teams.

Stop Heath Miller. The big Steelers tight end didn’t strike often but he did have a few big plays. Miller caught three passes for 46 yards, but it was his backup, Michael Palmer who accounted for the only offensive touchdown of the day.

Take some deep shots. There wasn’t much of a vertical passing game for the Jaguars and that can be expected in part because of all the injuries at wide receiver. Blake Bortles threw deep to Allen Robinson early in the game and it was picked off. There wasn’t many more vertical throws after that.

What We’ll Be Saying On Monday

Blake Bortles improved. Bortles really didn’t improve as he couldn’t navigate his team into the end zone in a defensive struggle. Bortles still completed 22 of 36 throws for 191 yards, but threw two interceptions, including a pick-six which sealed the game for Pittsburgh.

The Jaguars gave up more big plays. Jacksonville did a great job of keeping everything in front of them. It was definitely a positive. The biggest plays they gave up were a 30-yard reception by Antonio Brown and a 29-yard run by Le’Veon Bell.

We now know who Markus Wheaton is. Markus Wheaton actually didn’t do much as he caught just one pass for 17 yards. Little known Justin Brown did some damage by catching three passes for 26 yards.

The running game improved, slightly. It only had one way to go, right? Storm Johnson was added to the mix and his first carry went for 20 yards. He led the team with 27 yards on four carries. As a team they rushed for 56 yards on 15 attempts, a little bit better.

They put up a good fight. The Jaguars actually put up a great fight. They gave Pittsburgh all they could handle and they are making baby steps. The next complete step would be a victory next Sunday at Tennessee.

Jags Illustrated Top Stories