Jaguars Defense Deserves Credit For Making Steelers Offense Look Ugly

You know…one of the things that really has seemed to have gotten lost in all the furor of the infamous five-pick game is the fact that the Jacksonville Jaguars on the whole played a damn good defensive game, and they certainly look to be a very legitimate unit as a whole on that side of the ball.

Their two cornerbacks—2016 top-five draft pick Jalen Ramsey and 2016 Pro Bowler from Houston, A.J. Bouye—have both been playing very well this season, and they both stepped up to the plate on Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers and Ben Roethlisberger.

Ramsey himself had a beautiful interception of his own to kick things off, and then he batted another down to his teammate, Barry Church, who returned it for a touchdown. And let’s not forget about the former Browns safety, Tashaun Gipson, who, oh yeah, knows Roethlisberger pretty well.

Gipson picked off Big Ben twice in the game. The first one wasn’t all that difficult. All he had to do was have the cornerback in coverage—accidentally—trip wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster as the rookie tried to squeeze in between two levels of coverage.

But the second one was all about recognition. With the Steelers sending two vertical routes heading into the end zone, Gipson was in coverage on the inside route, but inside of flipping his hips and turning his eyes upfield nearing the goal line, he kept his eyes on the quarterback, and was able to make the adjustment and come underneath the deep pass for the dagger fifth interception.

And oh yeah, that first interception was aided greatly by pressure up the middle. Roethlisberger was hit as he threw and had to let go of a hurried pass from an off-balanced stance. Another of his interceptions was tipped at the line of scrimmage, one of two passes that Jaguars got hands on at the line.

And their coverage—not just the cornerbacks, but the linebackers too—showed speed and aggression, getting their hands on a number of balls on the day. I recall one diving deflection in particular from Bouye on what could have been a big play down the field for Antonio Brown.

The pressure throughout the day force Roethlisberger to try to get the ball out quickly, and he was hit several times, beyond the couple of times that he was brought down for sacks. The running game didn’t find much room to run more often than not despite the fact that the Jaguars technically came into the game with the worst run defense in the league.

This is not intended to absolve the Steelers, Roethlisberger, or anybody else of their poor play, but it would simply be an insult not to acknowledge the fact that the Jaguars defense also played a pretty important role in making that game look as ugly as it did. That is a unit clearly on the rise, from what I can observe.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi
Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.
  • LHW

    I think the Steelers offense had just as much to do with it.

  • francesco

    In today’s NFL you need to have two above average CB’s because most teams have two very good WR’s.
    Once you have that established then you force your opponents to run the ball more. And then you establish run stopping LB’s to limit your opponent’s run game. There you go…you instantly have a very good team.

  • 太阳三联

    They get no respect from me. Ramsey early on a lot of the break ups, bouye was holding so much you’d think it was a grudge. Tipped passes anyone can pick off + blocks in the back on the returns. They get NO CREDIT from me mixed with Our offense isn’t really that good to begin with.

  • 太阳三联

    Go head and hype that team up but this reminds me of last yr against the Dolphins where I was begging to play them again somehow.

  • nutty32

    Aaron Colvin had a great game. Waiting for Hilton to have complete games like that in the near future.

  • Bryan Ischo

    But if you don’t apply pressure, then the WRs will have time to come free, which they always will, as it’s impossible for any CB to cover a WR for an unlimited period of time, and then the QB can hit those open WRs every time.

    So I guess you need rushing LBs and defensive linemen too …

  • Cwallace

    Well Mathew, i have property right near everbank stadium and grew up in jax ….that defense something serious as i stated a week before the game and jax lives on games vs the steelers…always have. Swear to you right now this city is walkin round like they just won the Superbowl. Lol. Thank God this teams goofy and will lose to the rams Sunday so we shouldn’t have to worry about tiebreaker adv down the road. They’d be the best team in the division with a qb and a fan base.

  • Intense Camel

    No, that would be Todd Haley.

  • francesco

    My point was if let’s say you wanted to build a winning team with five players I believe you need to include: 1 QB for sure and then you definitely will want 2 above average CB’s as 1 CB is not enough and 2 run stopping LB’s for left and right side of the formation.
    Obviously you need DL and Safety etc. but i was looking at priority.

  • gentry_gee

    The Steelers offense is horribly predictable.

  • Steel Realist PAul

    I mean.. sure. But it sort of feels like we could say the same thing about each of the games this season.

    The offense has only looked nearly in synch against the Ravens – best time ever to do it – but they haven’t clicked against anyone: line is out of synch, penalties wiping out TDs, no receiver after AB to be counted on so far – sometimes James, but this was supposed to be a strength – the offense doesn’t look like other NFL offenses who have an identity (read: this weeks opponent), and all of it affecting the franchise QB.

    Each game, the other team’s defense looks pretty darn good, which just adds the salt frankly. So tired of hearing announcers talk about how teams get well against the Steelers. Gross.

  • Steel Realist PAul

    And you got that wish

  • Joe Craig

    One thing you seem to forget is they lost to the Jets the week prior! Where was this amazing “D” then? Are you trying to say the Jets have a better offense?