The remaining time the Jacksonville Jaguars got here into Heinz Box, the 7.five-aspect underdogs embarrassed quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and his Pittsburgh Steelers so badly, Roethlisberger questioned aloud if he didn’t “have it anymore.”
Roethlisberger threw fifty five passes in that Week five matchup, netting simply five.sixty seven yards consistent with try and not using a touchdowns and a whopping 5 interceptions. The Steelers controlled simply 3 box objectives on 12 offensive possessions. The Jaguars didn’t throw the ball smartly both, however they didn’t want to: Tailback Leonard Fournette rumbled for 181 yards and touchdowns, at the same time as Jaguars defenders again interceptions for touchdowns.
On Sunday, the Jaguars will go back to the scene in their triumph. But they opened as 6.five-aspect underdogs, with Vegas bookmakers now not believing they may be able to do what they did to the Steelers a 2d time.
So simply what did they do to the Steelers?
At the Jaguars’ first protective play of the sport, no less than, they didn’t do so much. With 2d-yr cornerback Jalen Ramsey covered up tight on All-Professional wideout Antonio Brown, Roethlisberger examined Ramsey by way of going lengthy — and finishing a forty nine-backyard bomb.
But when Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley had religion in Roethlisberger and his extensive receivers, Jaguars protective coordinator Todd Wash had religion in his athletic secondary.
Early within the recreation, Jacksonville confirmed a large number of tight guy and stale-guy seems, with a unmarried top protection. Additionally they flashed other blitzes, however in line with the ESPN Stats & Knowledge Team, they just blitzed as soon as. After the snap, the Jaguars incessantly dropped again into center-of-the-box zones whilst the corners clamped down at the out of doors receivers.
By way of speeding 4 and losing seven, the Jaguars allowed a large number of brief completions, however they restricted publish-capture injury. The method additionally restricted downfield choices, giving the Jaguars’ 2d-ranked cross rush a variety of time to create drive and pressure Roethlisberger to make errors.
Simply sooner than the top of the primary part, the Steelers have been dealing with a third-and-6 at their very own 19-backyard line. Down 7-three with 1:20 nonetheless at the clock, they nonetheless had a number of time to attain ahead of heading into the locker room. Right here’s how Jacksonville covered up:
On the most sensible of the display, Ramsey is giving Steelers wideout JuJu Smith-Schuster virtually 10 yards of cushion. This turns out like a mistake, for the reason that Pittsburgh handiest wishes 6 yards to transform. Pittsburgh is covered up within the shotgun with 1-1 team of workers, and Jacksonville has its nickel package deal in.
Each linebackers are up on the line of scrimmage, along side protection Barry Church, indicating a blitz is coming. However on the snap, handiest the 4 down linemen in fact rush; the Jaguars drop again seven gamers into protection. Roethlisberger, most likely anticipating a blitz, locks onto Smith-Schuster and throws early, expecting Smith-Schuster getting open on his comeback course.
As an alternative, Ramsey makes use of his ultimate velocity and makes a really perfect play at the ball:
Looking to get the offense into rhythm, the Steelers unwittingly performed into the Jaguars’ palms. Haley referred to as a number of extensive-receiver monitors and sell off-off passes to tailback Le’Veon Bell, however the lateral velocity of the Jaguars defenders allowed them to bottle up the Steelers’ brief passing recreation: The Steelers averaged five.6 yards after seize at the season, however they averaged simply three.five towards Jacksonville.
This trend repeated itself all through the sport. Jacksonville’s corners regularly performed Brown tightly, with protection lend a hand excessive, at the same time as preserving Smith-Schuster in entrance of them with numerous cushion. Whether or not or now not the Jaguars confirmed blitz, Roethlisberger stored throwing to his first learn, ceaselessly forcing throws to Brown.
Right here’s Roethlisberger’s passing chart for the sport, by the use of ESPN Stats & Information:
Roethlisberger focused Brown 19 occasions at the day, finishing simply 10 passes. Take out that commencing bomb, and Brown won simply 108 yards at the 18 different passes thrown his method. That’s an ordinary of simply 6.zero yards in keeping with goal, down from his season-lengthy moderate of nine.four. And 3 of Roethlisberger’s 5 interceptions got here at the same time as concentrated on Brown, together with each pick out-sixes.
What may just Haley and the Steelers have performed as an alternative? They may have taken a web page from the opposite group at the box.
At the same time as Fournette used to be racking up 181 yards and touchdowns at the floor, Bell used to be given simply six 2d-part consists of, in spite of reeling off his recreation-top 15-backyard lift at the first pressure of the second one part. In the meantime, Roethlisberger dropped again to throw 39 occasions in the second one part.
Former Steelers tailback DeAngelo Williams noticed the answer, too; he informed Steve Gorman of Fox Sports activities Radio that if “Haley doesn’t run the rattling ball like he will have to have the primary time, they will have to fireplace his ass.”
Bell handiest averaged three.1 yards in line with raise in Week five, so perhaps it gained’t be slightly so simple as handing him the ball extra steadily. However with Roethlisberger urgent downfield prime to 2 shielding ratings and 3 flipped fields, restoring run-move stability to the offense can’t most likely harm. The Steelers may additionally take pleasure in the ball bouncing their far more ceaselessly; considered one of Roethlisberger’s choices got here on a deflection, and some other while Schuster fell down.
In the meantime, Brown is coming off a calf damage that can or would possibly not impede him towards Ramsey and Jacksonville. If Brown is unavailable or useless, and the operating recreation isn’t running, Roethlisberger should do a a lot better task of studying the protection and discovering the open receiver — or there can be extra selections the place the primary 5 got here from.
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