Week 2 Game Recap: Pittsburgh Steelers 0, Jacksonville Jaguars 9
What you need to know
The Steelers were shut out for the first time since 2003, and it was also the first time that the reigning Super Bowl champion had been shut out since 1981. From their 11 possessions, the Steelers punted eight times, turned the ball over on downs once, and were intercepted twice.
QB Ben Roethlisberger had a temperature of 104 degrees earlier in the day in addition to returning from appendectomy surgery, but was able to play the entire game. He played below his usual level, and many of his passes were inaccurate. He was intercepted twice with the game on the line in the fourth quarter.
RB Willie Parker was held to 26 total yards on the night, and the Steelers did not have a rushing first down in the game. Parker only carried the ball three times in the second half.
The Steelers’ passing attack was shut down. The Jaguars allowed 127 net passing yards in the game and only seven first downs.
Pittsburgh’s defense was effective in the first half, restricting Fred Taylor to two yards per carry and preventing the Jaguars from making big plays in the passing game. The second half saw Taylor with more running room and the Steelers’ defense gave up three field goals which proved to be the only points scored in the game.
The Jaguars eventually wore down the Steelers and shut them out for the first time since 2003. G Chris Naeole was able to play after being questionable on Friday and Saturday and helped the team gain a small advantage at the line of scrimmage. The Jaguars dominated possession, holding the ball for over 37 minutes.
QB Byron Leftwich threw a lot of balls away and could not generate much in the passing game in the first half. He fared better in the second half and was able to get WR Reggie Williams and WR Matt Jones more involved.
RB Fred Taylor was held to two yards per carry in the first half. He began the second half with a 25 yard run; the longest running play of the day. Taylor was held just short of 100 rushing yards, but his efforts were a big factor in the outcome of the game.
Reggie Williams and Matt Jones were clearly the most targeted receivers for the Jaguars with 12 each. Ernest Wilford saw half that number.
The Jaguars’ defense dominated the Steelers throughout, allowing 153 net yards and seven first downs while shutting them out. DB Rashean Mathis sealed the victory with two interceptions in the fourth quarter. It was the lowest scoring game in Monday Night Football history.
Derrick Wimbush had to leave the game with a sprained knee in the second quarter. Punt returner Chad Owens was also injured and was replaced by Alvin Pearman.
What you ought to know
Roethlisberger played the entire game after undergoing an appendectomy 15 days ago. He was also suffering from cold symptoms and had a temperature of 104 earlier in the afternoon. He began well with two first down passes on his first two plays but Roethlisberger generally looked rusty and was inaccurate on a great many passes. He threw 32 times but only 17 were completed. He also threw two interceptions in the fourth quarter with the game within reach. Roethlisberger fumbled one snap but the Steelers recovered. He was seen clutching his stomach after one hit from LB Mike Peterson. He seemed ok after the game though addressing the press.
Parker was unable to move the ball effectively against the Jaguars’ defense. He carried eight times in the first half with a long gain of four yards. Parker did not carry the ball at all in the third quarter, and had just three carries in the final period. He managed one run of eight yards but averaged less than two yards per carry for the game. He caught all three balls thrown his way but was only able to average two yards per reception.
Haynes was used on occasion as the third down back in passing situations. He had a 14 yard reception for a first down on the Steelers’ final possession of the first half. Haynes caught five of his six targets for a total of 26 yards. He also carried twice; one of which was a draw on third down which he failed to convert.
Washington caught a 16 yard pass on the Steelers’ second drive to convert on third and 11. He converted another third down play with an 11 yard catch in the second half after Roethlisberger scrambled away from the defenders. Washington drew an unnecessary roughness call after being hit by Donovin Darius to convert another third down.
Ward was only targeted twice in the first half. One of those was on a deep pass from Roethlisberger which was overthrown by a yard. If Ward had been able to get to the ball, it would have resulted in a 48 yard touchdown. Ward only caught two passes in the game. One was for 11 yards to convert on third down and the other was for 18 yards on third and 20. Most of Ward’s opportunities were poorly thrown passes. Ward might have held on to one low throw, but he couldn’t maintain control.
Wilson had the chance to convert a third down on the Steelers’ opening drive, but he dropped an 18 yard pass on the way to the ground. HC Bill Cowher initially challenged the play but then retracted the challenge. Wilson was not targeted again until the second half when he drew a pass interference call for an 18 yard penalty. He ended the day with one reception for 12 yards from his five targets.
Holmes was targeted four times; all in the second half. Most of them were inaccurate passes. One resulted in an interception by Rashean Mathis, but Holmes had no opportunity to make the catch. Holmes caught one pass on the day for 15 yards and a first down. He was also used to return kicks.
Miller had three targets for the second consecutive game. Roethlisberger found him for an 11 yard gain and a first down on the opening drive but Miller was not a factor after that.
Tuman was targeted with the first pass of the game, and he made the catch for a ten yard gain and a first down.
The Steelers were able to bottle up Fred Taylor for the entire first half, holding him to 16 yards on eight carries. Only one of the carries went for more than three yards. The second half was a different matter as Taylor broke a 25 yard run immediately. The defense allowed Taylor over five yards per carry in the second half and the Jaguars were able to take a lot of time off the clock.
The Steelers’ pass defense generated good pressure for much of the game, and did not give Byron Leftwich a lot of time. LB Larry Foote had a sack in the first half, and LB Clark Haggans made an interception. The defense was less effective as the game wore on, and both Matt Jones and Reggie Williams did well in the second half. One play went for 48 yards when Reggie Williams broke tackles and Matt Jones provided a key block.
|QB Byron Leftwich, Pass: 26 - 39 - 260 - 0 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 5 - 4 - 0|
Leftwich was pressured often by the Steelers’ pass rush and was unable to make much happen in the first half. The Jaguars looked good on their opening drive until Leftwich attempted to find Reggie Williams. The pass was batted in the air by LB James Farrior and intercepted by LB Clark Haggans. Leftwich attempted a Hail Mary on the final play of the first half and Matt Jones got a hand on it but failed to catch the ball. Leftwich fumbled a snap in the second half but the Jaguars were able to recover and kick a field goal on the drive. The biggest play of the day came when Leftwich found Reggie Williams who then evaded a tackle and gained 48 yards to set up the Jaguars’ second field goal.
|RB Fred Taylor, Rush: 22 - 92 - 0, Rec: 3 - 29 - 0 (3 targets)|
Taylor was a big part of the Jaguars’ victory. Facing a very good run defense, Taylor was held to just 16 yards on eight carries in the first half. But he did manage a first down after a 19 yard reception. He began the second half with a 25 yard run and did well on the Jaguars’ second drive of the half. He made a good second effort to convert a third down, and then broke a 14 yard run for another first down. The drive led to the opening score of the game. Taylor was used to run down the clock late in the game, but was still able to average over five yards per carry for the second half. He finished the day with 92 rushing yards and caught all three targets for a total of 29 yards.
Jones-Drew was used to spell Fred Taylor. He ended the day with two carries and two receptions but was not much of a factor.
Williams was a big factor in the passing game and Leftwich looked for him on several short passes outside. He was responsible for the Jaguars’ opening first down when making a ten yard reception on third and six. He also caught a 12 yard pass for a first down, and two other passes for short gains in the first half. Williams was more involved in the second half. He had an 11 yard reception for a first down on the Jaguars’ first scoring drive. The biggest play of the game went to Williams as he evaded tackles and made a 48 yard gain to set up the Jaguars’ second field goal. He ended the day as the leading receiver in the game after making eight receptions for 95 yards.
Jones caught an 11 yard pass for a first down on the Jaguars’ opening drive. He didn’t make another catch in the half, but almost hung on to a Hail Mary at the end of the half that he probably should have caught. He was very active in the second half with eight targets. Jones had a 13 yard reception on third and five. The play was challenged but the call stood as he had managed to get both feet in bounds. Jones had receptions of 14 yards, 18 yards and nine yards for first downs on the Jaguars’ third drive of the second half. He was also involved on the longest play of the day when his block led to a 48 yard gain by Reggie Williams. Leftwich looked for Jones in the end zone late in the game, but the ball was overthrown and Jones had no chance of making the catch.
Wilford was not a big part of the passing game, ending with six targets. He made a catch for a 16 yard gain and a first down on the Jaguars’ opening drive. He caught two more short passes in the first half and had one bad drop on another. Wilford only saw two targets in the second half, catching one for three yards.
Wrighster made an excellent move to beat a defender on one first half reception, gaining 16 yards and a first down on the play. He also converted on third down in the second half, making a ten yard reception on the drive that led to the Jaguars’ second field goal.
Scobee was responsible for all of the points in the game. He barely made a 31 yard field goal which just crept inside the right upright, and was also good from 32 yards and 42 yards.
The Jaguars were able to hold the Steelers to 26 net rushing yards on the day. They didn’t give up a single rushing first down and the longest run went for just eight yards. S Donovin Darius was used at the line of scrimmage on several occasions.
The Jaguars’ pass defense had a very effective game. The Steelers were held to 127 net passing yards on 32 attempts and DB Rashean Mathis had two interceptions in the fourth quarter as Roethlisberger was forced into errors. DT John Henderson and DE Bobby McCray each had a sack.