Steelers Sack Jacksonville, 17-13

The Steelers needed some late-game heroics to thwart a Jaguars rally and pull out a 17-13 win. Brett Keisel earned the game's first star.

PITTSBURGH – The great Deacon Jones once said that sacking a quarterback was like taking down an entire city.

Well, Brett Keisel, how did it feel to take down the entire city of Jacksonville on Sunday?

"Just trying to make a play to help us win," said Keisel.

His beard, though, said otherwise after the Steelers held on to beat the Jaguars, 17-13.

And James Farrior agreed with da beard.

"That pretty much sealed the deal, that sack," said Farrior.

It was Farrior who made the call in the huddle. Forget the X's and O's, Farrior told the boys, "If you get a sack, the game's over."

The Jaguars – who'd rallied from a 17-0 deficit – had the ball at their own 23 with 1:01 remaining and no timeouts.

On the first play of the series, Keisel and outside linebacker Lawrence Timmons ran the same twist that earlier in the game – from the Jacksonville 22 with 1:01 remaining in the first half – resulted in Keisel tackling Maurice Jones-Drew for a three-yard loss on a screen pass.

So it was déjà vu all over again when Keisel beat his man for a 10-yard sack. By the time Jaguars quarterback Blaine Gabbert could get up and scramble out of bounds, the clock was down to 26 seconds.

Two completions and a spike set up Gabbert for a 48-yard Hail Mary attempt that was broken up in the end zone by Ike Taylor and Ryan Clark.

Any thoughts while the ball was in the air?

"Don't let him catch it," Keisel said. "Please, please just knock it down and let us get out of here with a win."

Keisel's plea was answered, just as he'd answered Farrior's plea at the start of the series.

Keisel finished the game with six tackles and had another third-down sack earlier in the game. The two sacks tied LaMarr Woodley for team honors.

The 6-foot-5 basketball legend at Greybull (Wy.) High, Keisel also had another of his patented deflections at the line of scrimmage. It nearly ended up in the hands of a teammate, just like Woodley's interception the previous week, but this time Ziggy Hood couldn't make the grab.

"Besides the sack and the tackles for loss, all that stuff, you have to admire him for just playing technique," said Hood, the other defensive end. "That's what an A player does, snap-in snap-out, hustle to the ball and run. It's not all about the big plays. It's him doing his technique ALL the time."

Keisel also has the freedom to call for a line stunt if he senses something, as he did on the screen pass to Jones-Drew at the end of the first half.

"He said, ‘LT go on out there. I think they're going to go to the screen,'" said Timmons. "That's when he made the play on Jones-Drew. The tackle and the guard went with me and he was clear right there."

"He dominated," said linebacker Larry Foote. "One series he made all the tackles. That's why he's a Pro Bowler."

Keisel gives most of the credit to his beard, of course, but also senses he's become one of the true leaders on a defense rich with leadership.

"I'm trying," he said. "I'm trying to be a good leader for these guys. I'm trying to be someone who's accountable and someone who helps this team win."

And someone who's capable of taking down an entire city with just one play.

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