No, you didn’t read that headline wrong. The Steelers did actually manage to dominate a game, and also keep it close. Sounds crazy, doesn’t it?
The Steelers had almost twice the total yard that the Jaguars accumulated. They outgained them 315-68 in the first half alone. They held the Jaguars to only 76 net passing yards for the game. They sacked Jags’ QB Blaine Gabbert 5 times. Rashard Mendenhall rushed for 146 yards. Sounds like total domination, right?
Most sane people would read the paragraph above and assume that the Steelers won 28-3. Or perhaps they’d assume that the Jags had been kept off the scoreboard completely. Maybe 31-0. But that wasn’t the case. Believe it or not, the Steelers barely won. The final score was 17-13, and the Jaguars had a chance to win on the final play of the game.
So how did a game that should have been a blowout turn into a nailbiter? The answer lies in the second half statistics. After racking up over 300 yards on the Jags in the first half, the Steelers were held to only 70 yards in the 2nd half. Steelers’ quarterback Ben Roethlisberger only completed one pass in the 2nd half. That’s right, one. And to make matters worse, he was sacked 3 times in the second half.
It isn’t often that a quarterback finishes a half with more sacks than completions. In fact, prior to this game, I would have assumed that it was impossible. But Big Ben proved me wrong.
That was really the story of the game. The Steelers suffered from schizophrenia. In the first half, they were a determined, prepared team that was set on winning an important game. And in the second half they were a tentative, unprepared team that seemed like they were trying to lose.
Perhaps the Jaguars made some amazing adjustments at the half. But shouldn’t the Steelers have made adjustments to the Jaguars adjustments? Instead, they appeared to be completely inept for the final 30 minutes of the game.
A win is a win, and we have to be happy any time the Steelers can leave with a victory. But to be honest, this was one of the least satisfying wins I can remember.