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Steelers Look to Overcome History against Pesky Jaguars



Pittsburgh Steelers
The Pittsburgh Steelers, left. go against the against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the second half of an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 20, 2022, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

The last time the Steelers donned the field at Acrisure Stadium, it was still called Heinz Field, and the promising Killer B’s era would hit its apex. On that day in 2018, the Steelers hoped to knock off a dominant Jaguars defense that had battered them at home just months earlier en route to the Super Bowl. With Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown, Le’Veon Bell, Martavis Bryant, and others, the group came out with energy, hoping to win. Instead, they got down early and clawed back to make it 45-42, but turnovers and standout games by Leonard Fournette and Blake Bortles would lead the Jaguars to the stunning win.

Pittsburgh Steelers Jahuars

JACKSONVILLE, FL – NOVEMBER 22: Pittsburgh Steelers Running Back James Conner (30) runs with the ball during the game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Jacksonville Jaguars on November 22, 2020 at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, Fl. (Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire)

The dynamics are entirely different now. Doug Pederson and Trevor Lawrence represent the face of a new era in Jacksonville. These two teams had not faced in a regular season game since 2020 when the Steelers blew the doors off an undermanned Jaguars unit. But Jacksonville has dominated the matchup in Pittsburgh. That includes two playoff eliminations at Acrisure Stadium.

Since 1999, Jacksonville has dominated the matchup in Pittsburgh. They have seven of nine since then in Pittsburgh, and the Steelers have suffered heartbreak after heartbreak. It’s across different regimes and quarterbacks. Pittsburgh will now have the Hall of Honor inductions, honoring guys like James Harrison, in the building. But the Jaguars will hope to spoil that just like they have so many times for the Steelers on their home turf.

History is not kind to the Steelers in these matchups. It’s not mystical until you feel like it is, and those stats do showcase that Pittsburgh has a history of working against them. The last time the Steelers won in Pittsburgh against the Jaguars was in 2011. And the previous two times Jacksonville has to come to Pittsburgh, they have scored a whopping 75 points while forcing seven turnovers, including a five-interception game for Ben Roethlisberger.

It’s new, completely different regimes and quarterbacks. But Pittsburgh will remember that. T.J. Watt played on that team, and Mike Tomlin was the captain of that ship, too. This 2023 Jaguars defense has some eerily similarities in how they force turnovers to that 2017 defense. But Pittsburgh, in their hopes to move to 5-2, will need to turn the tables and overcome history to knock off a hot Jaguars team.