The Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Pittsburgh Steelers game was an AFC Central throwback to 20 years ago. Run the ball, force turnovers, a few post-play scrums — it felt like old school Jaguars football.
And that used to mean good football.
The reason I chose this 12-play, 67-yard drive isn’t because it ended in a decisive score or because there were some flashy plays. I chose it because it was 12 straight runs that knocked over eight minutes off the clock in the fourth quarter when the Jaguars desperately needed to keep the Steelers offense on the sidelines.
I can’t remember the last time the Jaguars have had a drive this sustained that ran this much time off the clock. I mean, 2007 maybe? I guess so.
It’s 2017 and the Jaguars are winning without a quarterback. Let’s see why in the 12 plays below.
Play #1: 1st and 10 at JAX 4
The Steelers punted and pinned us close to the goal line. There’s no way this team is going to let Blake Bortles throw in this situation (or the entire drive for that matter) so it’s up to the offensive line and running backs to get it done.
New center Tyler Shatley can’t hold the point of attack well enough and neither can tight end Marcedes Lewis, resulting in Leonard Fournette getting hit at the line of scrimmage.
Play #2: 2nd and 9 at JAX 5
The Jaguars won’t make the same mistake twice. Ben Koyack makes a hell of block and rookie left tackle Cam Robinson clears the way for Fournette.
Play #3: 1st and 10 at JAX 18
Tyler Shatley makes up for his gaffe on the first play by leading the way for another Fournette first down.
Play #4: 1st and 10 at JAX 29
Four straight runs for Fournette who is understandably gassed at this point.
Enter Chris Ivory stage right.
Play #5: 2nd and 9 at JAX 30
Marqise Lee gets the “he’s definitely not doing it right but it works well enough” award for his block to give Ivory a few extra yards.
Play #6: 3rd and 3 at JAX 36
Ivory is hit two yards shy of the first down marker and drags his guy for a new set of downs. The veteran running back won’t get more than 10 touches in a game, but he’s an excellent spell for Fournette.
Play #7: 1st and 10 at JAX 39
HE. WAVED. IT. ON.
Fournette had the presence of mind to wave a hit on at an opposing defender and got the first down. If the Jaguars sneak into the playoffs, this will be an iconic moment.
Play #8: 1st and 10 at PIT 49
Fournette is (understandably) tired again after two straight runs and that exhausting hit during The Wave last play. He’s taken out and Ivory will be coming in next run.
Play #9: 2nd and 8 at PIT 47
Look at the rookie left tackle Robinson absolutely seal the edge for Ivory to get around there for the longest play of the drive.
Play #10: 1st and 10 at PIT 28
And here’s where the Steelers defense begins to tighten up. We’re 10 plays into a drive — all runs — and this is the first one that hasn’t gone for positive yardage.
Play #11: 2nd and 14 at PIT 32
Get back into moderately easy field goal range, Ivory.
Play #12: 3rd and 11 at PIT 29
Hurns gets a bad angle on his defender and Fournette is taken down behind the line of scrimmage.
A field goal is next and it’s good to bring the Jaguars up 23-9. But the most beautiful thing about this drive isn’t the points — it’s the number of plays and amount of time it took off the clock. This drive is exactly what Doug Marrone and Tom Coughlin had in mind this offseason and it looks like this team has the players to give it to them.