It seems nothing can go right for the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2018.
Jacksonville took a 3-0 lead over the Steelers early in the second quarter. It held that lead — which at one point stretched to 16-0 — until there were eight seconds left in the game. But the latest blow in a season full of them came when Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger bowled his way into the end zone for a 1-yard score, sending Jacksonville to a shocking 20-16 defeat.
The loss was the latest disappointment for the Jaguars, who have not built on the momentum of a 2017 season that ended in the A.F.C. championship game. This latest loss, in a game they easily could have put away, dropped the Jaguars to 3-6 on the season.
For three quarters, Jacksonville was cruising. The team’s defense was throttling the Steelers, and its offense, led by Leonard Fournette and Blake Bortles, was doing just enough to get by. The Jaguars got three field goals from Josh Lambo to build a nine-point lead, and then Fournette, who had 95 yards in the game, ran in a 1-yard touchdown.
That touchdown, however, appeared to wake up Pittsburgh. After a false-start penalty and a six-yard completion from Roethlisberger to Ryan Switzer, the Steelers opened things up with a pass deep down the middle to Antonio Brown that went for a 78-yard touchdown. The entire scoring drive had taken just 52 seconds.
The teams traded punts and looked mostly ineffective for several drives after that, but Roethlisberger got a second touchdown pass — that one to Vance McDonald. He then ran in the go-ahead score himself after a face-mask penalty erased what appeared to be a game-icing interception for Jacksonville by D.J. Hayden.
With their sixth-straight victory, Pittsburgh improved to 7-2-1 and left its poor start to the season in the past. A loss by Cincinnati helped increase the Steelers’ lead in the A.F.C. North, and they will try to keep the winning streak going next week when they travel to Denver to face the Broncos.