The Pittsburgh Steelers took on the Jacksonville Jaguars at TIAA Bank Field on Sunday. What should’ve been an easy win for the Jaguars and would’ve kept them in contention for first place in the AFC South, turned into a heartbreaking loss and most likely ended their chances of getting into the playoffs.
Sunday’s game started off down right awful for two-time Super Bowl champion and future Hall of Famer Ben Roethlisberger, who threw two interceptions in his first 12 pass attempts. The leaders of the AFC North failed to score any points in the first half for the first time in over two years. But because Jacksonville’s offense wasn’t able to turn the interceptions into touchdowns and only scored three field goals in the first half, Pittsburgh was still in the game going into halftime.
The second half still looked ugly for the Steelers, but Big Ben was able to connect with wide receiver Antonio Brown for a 78-yard touchdown pass after Jags’ running back Leonard Fournette scored his team’s lone touchdown. Jacksonville’s offense stalled after their touchdown. Then, Roethlisberger did what he does best in the fourth quarter. He marched the team down the field and found tight end Vance McDonald in the end zone on the plus side of the two-minute warning. The Steelers’ defense came up huge with a three and out on the Jags’ next possession. Pittsburgh took advantage and marched down the field. It looked like all hope was lost when running back James Conner dropped a sure touchdown pass. After a few more plays, Roethlisberger threw what would’ve been his fourth interception of the day had the Jaguars not committed a very obvious facemask penalty that spun wide receiver Ryan Switzer to the ground. Then with five seconds left on the clock, Big Ben ran and dove around an offensive lineman for the game-winning touchdown.
Losing a game that looked like a win from the start begs the question: Do the Jaguars finally realize they need a new quarterback? This question doesn’t come up just because of this one game. It’s been a continuous thing over the last few years, including when starting quarterback Blake Bortles was benched during a game about a month ago. Now, I know that every quarterback can’t be a future Hall of Famer like Ben Roethlisberger, but the Jags desperately need an upgrade. They cannot just hope that their group of running backs will rush for over 200 yards per game, especially when Fournette is injured for half the season. Honestly, Lamar Jackson would’ve been the perfect quarterback for them in last year’s draft because he is the opposite of Blake Bortles. He’s explosive. That may have described Bortles at UCF but not now. Jacksonville has a Super Bowl worthy defense and running back. It’s time they get at least an average quarterback that will put them in a position to try to win a game. Jags, don’t be afraid to take advantage of free agency or the draft, and go get your franchise guy.