I think I dreamed about last nights game. It was quite nice to wake up on Tuesday with the post-victory buzz of a great game. Jack Del Rio announced a 2-4 hour rule for celebration rather than the 24 hour rule, so in that spirit I'll limit my commentary and hype of last nights game to a few posts today. After that it's time for my Blog Mentor Big Blue Shoe to go head to head in a critical AFC South Match-up in Indy. Monday Night Football makes for a short week.
Let's start with the positives
- Stop the Run: Steelers held to 26 total rushing yards, Willie Parker with 11 attempts and 20 yards. Fast Willy's longest run was a mere 8 yards. They tried to challenge the Jags Defensive Ends, but they held it together to make the Steelers LOWEST rush yards in Cowher's career.
- Defense in General: This was a game you could feel. Every play ended in a huge hit, everyone played smart and defensive mistakes were limited. Wherever there was a Steeler there seemed to be three Jags right there. Pittsburg was held to 9 first downs, 3-13 on 3rd down conversions, and only held the ball for 22 and a half min. 3.2 yards per play average for the Steel City. Oh yeah, Big Ben was picked off twice by Mathis (who's excelling this season in closing games out with late INT's) and their offense was SHUT OUT. Daryl Smith, Terry Cousin, Donovan Darius all excelled. Mike Peterson had his hands in every big run stop (5 assists) and our Corner Backs dished out the pain. Hard to find anything wrong on this side of the ball.
- Run the Ball: Fred Taylor: 22 attempts, 92 yards, longest 25 yards. Fred now has 768 rush yards against the Steelers in his career, second only to his 803 versus the Titans Nearly a hundred yards rushing against the vaunted Steeler defense. Gotta love that. Jacksonville played the Steelers like the Steelers play everyone else, dominate the clock, run the ball, and keep it physical.
- Pass to Set up the Run: Emergence of Reggie Williams: 8 receptions, 95 yards, including a 48 yard beat down. First the TD last week, now a near-hundred yard game, it's starting to look like the folks calling him a draft bust might start to change their minds. Not that it matters to the Jags, they know what they have.
- Protect Byron: One Sack. Sure, some hurries...but One Sack. OT Khalif Barnes make Joey Porter a non-factor in a game where he could have wrecked havoc. Great Job O-line, probably the best job that nobody noticed.
- The Supremacy of Tall WR's: Sorry Joe Theisman (and I'm sorry to jump on this `Hateraide' train) but ex-quarterbacks turned wide receivers CAN do very well in the league. Mr. "6 foot on his toes" might have a bit of an inferiority complex when he's considering the 6-6, 6-4 and 6-4 trio of Jags receivers, but we showed that we absolutely manhandle defensive backs. Byron is in synch with his WR's and is putting the ball where (despite one INT) only they can get to.
- The Special Teams: Some great heads up plays by our Special teams. It felt like every Pittsburg drive started behind their own 10 yard line. Actually the average drive started at the 17.363636 yard line. Chris Hanson did a great job booting it deep. Cornerback Scott Starks nailed one punt down at the Pittsburg 3 in a great acrobatic stop.
- Offensive Production: Scobee had a great day with 3 field goals...but that's about it in points production by the Offense. Let's not be too hard on ourselves though, Byron did a good job of managing the game and making the plays. We held onto the ball for almost 40 min. Byron was 26 of 39 for 260 yards and a tip ball INT. We can get away with three field goals and winning with some teams, but to keep up with the Colts we'll need to hold onto the ball and turn it into points at the end.
- Penalties: Kyle Brady, Matt Jones and Reggie Williams all had false starts of illegal formation penalties. While it didn't cripple us this week, it's something to watch out for. We know our offense can produce when it has to but it's far easier when you're not giving back yards.
- Finishing off the Quarterback: Big Ben is a hard QB to sack, obviously, but there were four plays where people had him in their sights and didn't get him to the ground. Square up and lay him out, don't dance around the wrap up. Defense was good this week, but it's quarterback tackling needs improvement.
ESPN.com's Len Pasquraelli has some nice comments about our defense becoming "bullies". I especially like where he quotes Fred Taylor who says
CBS Sportsline's Pete Prisco dropped my favorite term ever for the Jags Defense where he declared them the
They say to be the bully you have to beat the bully. If that's true, Peterson is right. The Jaguars not only beat the Steelers 9-0, they beat them up. So much so that the Pittsburgh offense, virtually the same unit that won the Super Bowl seven months ago, never penetrated deeper than the Jaguars' 46-yard line.
Peterson and his teammates deserved to stand and pose after that one, as the Jaguars went to 2-0 in impressive fashion.
Steel Curtain? How about Teal Curtain?
Finally, Washington Post's and MNF's Tony Kornheiser makes up for his bashing of Jacksonville when they hosted the Super Bowl. We'll forgive you Tony, as long as you keep reminding America that we're here and ready to hurt some teams...
Aight, I think that's all I have for now. It's a short week for the Jags and a busy one for me, look for some cross commentary at Stampede Blue.