Steelers hold off winless Jaguars for 17-9 victory

The Pittsburgh Steelers kept pace in the AFC North with too-close-for-comfort 17-9 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field. Our takeaways:

  1. Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau entered the game an outrageous 17-2 against rookie passers, but Blake Bortles gave the old play-caller one of his tougher tests. We saw the No. 3 overall pick change calls at the line and extend plays on the ground with his feet. Bortles made his share of plays off rollouts and boot action while moving the ball in the two-minute offense. It's still a work in progress as Bortles threw for just 5.3 yards per attempt.
  1. Jacksonville's defense held its own against the Steelers' offense. It took Pittsburgh 14-plus minutes to generate its second first down of the game as Ben Roethlisberger and friends opened the tilt zero for four on third downs before heating up in the second half. The Jaguars also put plenty of pressure on Big Ben, forcing the veteran quarterback into his share of rushed throws and a costly fourth-quarter strip-sack that squelched a Steelers drive at the Jacksonville 17. Roethlisberger, though, completed his final 10 throws of the day.
  1. That Big Ben fumble was Jacksonville's first forced turnover since Week 1. With a chance to be the hero, Bortles immediately threw a pick-six to Pittsburgh's Brice McCain -- sitting on the route -- which essentially put this one in the bag.
  1. The biggest hindrance to Bortles is Jacksonville's dead-on-arrival ground game. The rookie quarterback led the team in rushing deep into the third quarter as so-called "workhorse" Toby Gerhart accounted for just 9 yards off four totes.
  1. The Steelers continue to kill themselves with sloppy penalties. Mike Tomlin was seen ripping into his players for the second week in a row after Pittsburgh was flagged seven times for 50 yards.
  1. Jacksonville's young wideouts have talent, but they drop too many balls. We also saw Allen Hurns fail to get in the way of Cortez Allenhauling in a first-half interception off a long Bortles lob.
  1. Le'Veon Bell's 82 yards don't stand out as his best effort of the season, but he managed to rumble for 5.5 yards per attempt against a Jaguars run defense that put up its friskiest effort all year.

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