A pair of picks sixes in the third quarter sparked the Jaguars' 30-9 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field Sunday.
The Jaguars' overall defensive domination set the tone for the game. While the Steelers (3-2) took the lead twice, the Jaguars (3-2) never allowed Pittsburgh to get into the end zone on their own home field.
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger completed just 33-of-55 passes for 312 yards and five interceptions on the day. He was sacked two times as well.
Defensive end Calais Campbell and defensive tackle Abry Jones teamed up on a sack, while pass rusher Dante Fowler notched a solo takedown.
Cornerback Jalen Ramsey, linebacker Telvin Smith and safeties Barry Church and Tashaun Gipson took turns picking off Roethlisberger.
Smith and Church were able to score off their turnovers. Gipson registered two interceptions in the fourth quarter.
The defense's play let the Jaguars' offense to rely on the running game. Rookie running back Leonard Fournette posted 28 carries for 181 yards and two touchdowns. Veteran Chris Ivory added 41 yards on eight carries.
Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles had a quiet but successful day, completing 8-of-14 passes for 95 yards and an interception. His top weapon was wide receiver Marqise Lee who caught two passes for 49 yards.
However, things didn't start off well for the Jaguars on the team's first two offensive possessions. Both series ended with Brad Nortman punts.
An interception by Ramsey midway through the first quarter got the ball rolling for Jacksonville. Ramsey picked off the pass from Roethlisberger and ran the ball to the Pittsburgh 47-yard line.
An 18-yard completion from Bortles to wide receiver Allen Hurns put the Jaguars in scoring position. The Bortles-Hurns connection was followed up by a 12-yard run from Fournette.
Following the Fournette run, the Jaguars were in the red zone. The Jaguars continued to smash into the Steelers' defense with five consecutive runs. The final carry produced a two-yard touchdown score for Fournette.
The running touchdown was Fournette's fifth score of the season. The running back has scored in every game of his rookie season so far.
The Jaguars led 7-3 with 12:19 remaining in the first half.
After the Jacksonville touchdown, the Jaguars' defense produced a three-and-out against the Steelers' offense. With 9:27 left in the first half, the momentum was on Jacksonville's side after the team was shutout in the first quarter.
The Jaguars continued to find a rhythm on offense on the next possession. Bortles used the short passing game to picked up chunks of yardage and move the ball downfield.
An 18-yard completion to wide receiver Marqise Lee put the Jaguars in Pittsburgh territory. However, a sack on Bortles by Steelers linebacker Vince Williams moved the Jaguars back to their side of the field. On third-and-20, an eight-yard run by Chris Ivory wasn't enough to convert a first down and the Jaguars were forced to punt.
Nortman once again pinned the Pittsburgh offense deep in its own territory. The Steelers weren't able to do much after starting at their own five-yard line. Pittsburgh was eventually forced to punt.
Set up at the Pittsburgh 46-yard line with little over a minute remaining in the first half, the Jaguars' offense turned the ball over on its second play. Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier ripped a ball out of Jaguars tight end James O'Shaughnessy's hands. The play was called an interception.
The turnover was followed up with a 21-yard completion to Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster. Roethlisberger then hit Brown for a 23-yard gain. Those two big plays put the Steelers at the Jacksonville 17-yard line with 18 seconds left in the first half.
Kicker Chris Boswell made a 31-yard field goal to conclude the first half. The Jaguars led the Steelers, 7-6, at halftime.
The Steelers came out of the locker room on fire offensively. Roethlisberger led a 14-play, 73-yard scoring drive to open up the third quarter.
After Roethlisberger was unable to connect with Brown in the end zone, Boswell was successful on a 20-yard field goal. With 8:54 left in the third quarter, the Steelers retook the lead, 9-7.
The Jaguars' offense was unable to answer on the next series. Steelers linebacker T.J. Watt sacked Bortles on third down to force another Nortman punt.
The Jacksonville defense made up for the offense's shortcomings on the next series. Telvin Smith picked off Roethlisberger and returned the ball to the end zone. Kicker Jason Myers failed to make the extra point, but the Jaguars led 13-9 with 6:38 remaining in the third quarter.
Unfortunately for Pittsburgh, history repeated itself on the next drive. Roethlisberger was picked off by Church on the fourth play of the drive. The defensive back returned the ball 51 yards for another defensive touchdown. Following a successful extra point, the Jaguars led 20-9 with 3:52 remaining in the third quarter.
The Jaguars' defense continued to provide pressure on their third-straight series. The Steelers were forced to punt to start the fourth quarter after defensive end Dante Fowler sacked Roethlisberger on third down.
On the next series, the Jaguars rode the running game to Myers' field goal range. The kicker eventually connected on a 47-yard field goal to put the Jaguars up, 23-9, with 6:42 remaining in the game.
The Steelers continued to turn the ball over on the next drive. Gipson collected his second interception of the season on a Roethlisberger pass. Gipson picked off Roethlisberger again on the next drive.
Fournette posted a career-high 90-yard touchdown run on the Jaguars' final offensive possession.
Despite Pittsburgh wide receiver Antonio Brown posting 10 catches for 157 yards, the Steelers never scored a touchdown Sunday.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Linebacker Telvin Smith and safety Barry Church share the honor because of their pair of pick sixes in the third quarter. The turnovers for touchdowns provided a 13-point swing in a matter of minutes. The two plays were the catalysts for the win.
PLAY OF THE GAME
With 1:33 remaining in the first quarter, Ramsey intercepted a pass from Roethlisberger, which was intended for tight end Vance McDonald. The turnover led to the Jaguars' first scoring drive of the game and swung momentum heavily in Jacksonville's favor for the rest of the first half.
STAT(S) OF THE GAME
The Jaguars were shutout in the first quarter for the first time this season. The team had scored on its first possession in each of the past four games.
The Jaguars produced five interceptions on Sunday. They produced seven total last season. Jacksonville now has 10 interceptions through five games.
The Jaguars were without center Brandon Linder (illness), wide receiver Jaelen Strong (hamstring) and defensive end Lerentee McCray (knee) entering the game due to injuries.
Follow Mike Kaye on Twitter at @Mike_E_Kaye.
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