Pick-sixes and boo birds: Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers offense hit risky low

Isaac Cain
October 9, 2017

Pittsburgh has one of the most potent running back-receiver combos in football - but it has been the defense that has ruled the day as the 3-1 Steelers look to continue their hot stretch against visiting Jacksonville. Fournette joined former Jaguars running backs Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew as the only players in franchise history with touchdowns in five consecutive games. They have taken some great strides this offseason, looking to be a factor in the AFC South.

"We've got to be on top of our game, run and pass, whether we're protecting or throwing", said Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley.

The Jaguars also have some questions to answer about their own running game. However, they will face tough test in the Jacksonville Jaguars. Unfoutunately, they suffer from the inconsistencies that plague most young teams.

The Jaguars defense struck again on Pittsburgh's next series.

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An 18-yard completion from Bortles to wide receiver Allen Hurns put the Jaguars in scoring position.

There's plenty of other issues the Ravens had, their defense looked rough, Marlon Humphery, in particular, looked outmatched more often than not, the offensive line was very bad and the running game looked pedestrian, with only Alex Collins providing any kind of burst (and he fumbled the ball). He also had a bit of a sideline blowup during the game, owing in part to Ben Roethlisberger failing to see a wide-open Brown followed by an incomplete pass thrown his way. Their success comes from generating pressure without having to blitz, allowing linebackers the freedom to roam. Brown caught 10 passes for 157 yards. Obviously Bortles' best protection lies with Fournette and a relentless ground attack. But that means the Steelers have to stop Fournette. Look for the defense to crowd the line of scrimmage, limiting his yards after contact with a gang tackling mentality. Watt and Ryan Shazier, there those opportunities will be limited.

Fournette did much more damage for Jacksonville, rushing for 181 yards and two touchdowns on a career-high 28 carries, including a 90-yarder for a touchdown with less than two minutes remaining in the game for the final margin. In his past six home games, he has 1,899 passing yards (316.5 per game), 19 TDs and three INTs (a 121.1 rating). Gipson registered two interceptions in the fourth quarter.

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, Heinz Field. In two losses, the Steelers defense has given up 40 total points, six of which came in overtime in Chicago.

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