The Jacksonville Jaguars scored three points on their opening drive against the Pittsburgh Steelers at TIAA Bank Field on Sunday.
They did not score again.
The Pittsburgh defense pitched a shutout the rest of the way after allowing the early three points, harassing rookie backup quarterback Jake Luton throughout on the way to an easy 27-3 victory and a 10-0 start to the 2020 season.
They sacked Luton twice, extending their franchise-record sack streak, and intercepted him four times, with safeties Terrell Edmunds and Minkah Fitzpatrick each picking off a pair.
The Steelers offense did just enough, with Diontae Johnson helping move the chains with 12 catches for 111 yards and Chase Claypool and Eric Ebron contributing touchdowns of 31 and 20 yards.
Ben Roethlisberger finished with 267 yards on 32 of 46 passing for the two scores, but also cost his team three points with a late first-half interception.
The Steelers tied the game with a 44-yard Chris Boswell field goal in the second quarter before Claypool’s score put them up for good. Claypool’s score was his 10th, the best 10-game pace for a rookie receiver in the Super Bowl Era.
Benny Snell added a late second quarter touchdown on a 1-yard plunge. Boswell added three more in the fourth after a scoreless and listless third period and Roethlisberger’s strike to Ebron capped the victory.
James Conner finished with 89 yards on 13 carries as the team largely attempted to establish the run more than they had in the previous few wins.
Bud Dupree and Stephon Tuitt had the sacks for the Steelers defense. Tuitt also forced a fumble. Vince Williams led the way with four tackles.
The 10-0 Steelers will move forward on a short week of work. They’ll host the third-place Baltimore Ravens at Heinz Field on Thanksgiving night at 8:20 p.m.
Mike Tomlin’s ‘MAC Guys’ Get the Last Laugh
In discussing his team’s Week 11 game with the under-performing Jacksonville Jaguars, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin chose to use a college football comparison.
“We’re not a Big 10 team playing a MAC team,” Tomlin said last week. “Every time we step into a stadium, we are playing professionals, players and coaches.”
The message was a clear one to not overlook the moribund Jaguars. That mission was accomplished, as the Steelers coasted to a 27-3 victory in Jacksonville on Sunday.
But he may want to pick a different doormat for his analogy the next time. Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, a MAC alum from Miami University, said he was going to make a response as soon he figured out which conference William & Mary — Tomlin’s alma mater — plays in.
Roethlisberger is far from the only MAC alum on the Steelers. Star wide receiver Diontae Johnson went to Toledo, as did backup linebackers Ola Adeniyi and Jayrone Elliott. Right tackle Chukwuma Okorafor and inside linebacker Robert Spillane are West Michigan grads. Injured linebacker Ulysees Gilbert III went to Akron and practice squad wide receiver Anthony Johnson is a Buffalo alum, giving the Steelers eight former MAC members.
And those guys came up big in the win. Roethlisberger threw for two touchdowns, Johnson had over 100 yards receiving, Okorafor was part of a line that helped James Conner to 6.8 yards per carry and kept Roethlisberger from being sacked and Spillane had four tackles.
After Sunday’s win, some of the Steelers’ MAC graduates got the last laugh, with Roethlisberger, Adeniyi, Johnson, Okorafor and Spillane getting Tomlin to pose with a photo.
“MAC guys” captioned Robert Spillane on Instagram, with laughing emojis.
Maybe next time, Tomlin should pick on the Sun Belt.
From the Steelers Locker Room: Minkah Fitzpatrick on Being Focused Each Week, Not Looking Ahead
Minkah Fitzpatrick made it clear to the media, including Steelers Now, that his team made sure to not overlook the Jaguars and is only focused on each individual week, not the possibility of going 16-0.
Mike Tomlin Downplays JuJu Smith-Schuster’s Injury
Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster suffered a minor ailment in the Steelers’ 27-3 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars, head coach Mike Tomlin confirmed after the game.
Tomlin characterized Smith-Schuster’s injury as part of the “minor bumps and bruises associated with play.” Smith-Schuster left the game in the fourth quarter with the Steelers leading by multiple scores.
Tomlin said that he didn’t think the injury was anything major, but acknowledge that “it could be a factor for him” when dealing with a short week of preparation upcoming. The Steelers are set to host the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday night.
Smith-Schuster caught four passes for 19 yards in the game before he left with the injury. Ray-Ray McCloud replaced him in the top group of receivers.