Pittsburgh Steelers 8-0-3-10 — 21
Jacksonville Jaguars 3-14-0-6 — 23
Third-string quarterback Stephen Morris gave the Jaguars the win with a one-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter. He finished the game 3-for-9 in the air for 44 yards but it was Jacksonville starter Blake Bortles who was the offensive bright spot of the matchup. Bortles finished 11-for-15 for 118 yards and one rushing TD of his own, playing midway into the second quarter before being pulled.
Meanwhile, on the Steelers side of things, Landry Jones played the majority of offensive snaps under center, going 24-for-46 for 200 yards and one touchdown. Ben Roethlisberger’s night was over after one series.
Although they walked away with the victory, there was a downside for the Jaguars. Tight end Julius Thomas left the game with a, reportedly, broken middle finger on the first offensive series of the game. A source told The Florida Times-Union Thomas sustained “a small fracture. We’ll know more after the scan tomorrow.”
Click here for a full box score of the preseason game.
The Teams Exchanged Late Touchdowns in the Fourth Quarter
After two second half field goals to claw their way back into the preseason matchup, the Steelers regained the lead with 4:47 left to play. Backup quarterback Landry Jones found C.J. Goodwin to put Pittsburgh back on top late. But then this happened:
The Jaguars two-point conversion attempt was stuffed before it even reached the goal-line. Still, it was an impressive drive for the Jags, clocking in at just under two minutes with nine plays for 92 yards.
The Jaguars Led 17 – 8 at Halftime
Although the Steelers took an early lead, and even converted on a two-point attempt, the Jaguars offense found its footing as the game progressed, buoyed by the unexpectedly long play of starting quarterback Blake Bortles.
Bortles, who even did leave the game late in the second quarter, finished the night with 188 passing yards on 11 completed passes and one rushing touchdown. He was also only sacked once, which is a major step in the right direction for a Jacksonville offensive line that was notoriously bad last year.
On the Pittsburgh side of things, Ben Roethlisberger was a perfect 3-for-3 on his only drive of the night, racking up 59 yards through the air and one touchdown. Overall, Jacksonville out-gained the Steelers 206 to 160 in the first 30 minutes of play.
Chad Henne Found Clay Harbor For a 31-Yard Touchdown
Check out that emoji. The Jaguars, finally, put their second string offense in the game late in the second quarter and barely missed a step as Chad Henne marched the team down the field and found Clay Harbor for the squad’s second touchdown of the quarter.
Blake Bortles Played (A Lot) & Ran for a Touchdown
In a very not-preseason move, the Jaguars kept starting quarterback Blake Bortles in the game for more than half a dozen snaps. More than that, Jacksonville kept Bortles in the game well into the second quarter, giving him, seemingly, free reign to play as hard as he wanted.
Bortles took advantage of the opportunity and, with 6:43 left in the first half, rumbled into the end zone for his team’s first touchdown of the night. It was a pretty solid performance for Bortles, who left the game after his TD run:
Martavis Bryant Got Pittsburgh on the Board First
Ben Roethlisberger marched his team down the field and, with relative, ease got right into the end zone. The veteran quarterback hooked up with wide receiver Martavis Bryant for a 44-yard touchdown reception to get the Steelers on the board first.
This being preseason, Pittsburgh opted to keep things interesting and went for two. The team’s Twitter account was pretty psyched when they converted:
Who’s Not Playing
Here’s who won’t be on the field for the Pittsburgh Steelers: Daniel McCullers, Robert Golden, Ross Ventrone, Lawrence Timmons, Vince Williams, Senquez Golson, Bruce Gradkowski and Mike Adams.
The year of Bortles? Maybe. Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles showed flashes of success last season but a less-than-ideal offensive line made it difficult for for him to consistently get the ball down the field. This year, the Jags are hoping for a more powerful presence up front and, most importantly, a bit of time for Bortles to throw.
That offensive line will get its first real test when they square off against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Friday night’s preseason opener. Kickoff for the game is slated for 7:30 p.m. and will air locally in Jacksonville on WJXT 4 and on CBS 2 in Pittsburgh. Click here for a full TV schedule.
While Jacksonville has made offseason moves to protect its quarterback, the Steelers have bulked up their defense. Pittsburgh brought back veteran James Harrison and stacked up the secondary, which will be without Troy Polamalu for the first time in over a decade. Keep on an eye on the Steelers offense as well, which brings back nearly every key player from last year’s explosive unit. In other words, “See Ben Throw.”
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