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An Effort to be Proud Of – Steelers Fall Short 31-29 to Jaguars

Ward works for yards

Considering the circumstances, the black and gold played one heck of a game.  In a heartbreaking finish that was totally unexpected based on the first 35 minutes of football, the Jacksonville Jaguars survived after blowing an 18-point fourth quarter lead only to kick a last second field goal to top the game Steelers 31-29 at Heinz Field in Pittbsburgh.  The Jags seemed on the verge of defeat on their last drive, as they had a 4th-and-2 from the Steelers 43 with 1:56 left.  QB David Garrard, who had a rahter forgettable night, took off and rushed 32 yards to get the Jags in field goal range. Three plays later, Josh Scobee kicked the chip shot 25-yard field goal, sealing the Jags win.

The Steelers jumped out fast, going down the field with ease and scoring on their first drive of the game.  Ben Roethlisberger was sharp, hitting wide outs and pass catchers all over the place, as the team went 80 yards in 10 plays with Najeh Davenport going over from a yard out to quickly make it 7-0.  The Jags responded in two plays, as Maurice Jones-Drew took the next kickoff 96 yards, and then Fred Taylor went in from a yard out to make it 7-7 with 9:39 left in the first quarter.

The Jaguars dominated the rest of the half, as first they scored on a pick 6 as Rashean Mathis took a bad Roethlisberger pass back 63 yards at the 10:19 mark of the second quarter to make it 14-7.  Then on the next drive, Ben again was picked, and the Jags responded with a Garrard to Jones-Drew TD on 3rd-and-7 that covered 43 yards that made it 21-7 with 8:34 left in the half.  The Steelers had their shots, but late in the half from the Jags 21, Roethlisberger again was picked, this time stopping a drive that likley would have at least gotten them three.

After Pittsburgh made it 21-10 on a Reed field goal in the third, the Jags looked as if it would be a laugher, as Jones-Drew capped a drive with a nifty 10-yard run that made it 28-10 with 4:39 left in the third quarter.  That’s when the Steelers finally woke up.  Roethlisberger went on fire for the rest of the game, first with a TD on the first play of the fourth quarter on fourth down to Santonio Holmes that made it 28-17.  After a Jags 3-and-out, the Steelers scored again, this time capping a drive with Ben hitting Heath Miller from 10 yards out to make it 28-23 with 10:25 left.

Garrard, who usually is mistake free, again threw a pick, his second, and Ike Taylor took it to the Jags 16.  Ben was back at work, getting down to the Jags one after a pass interference on 4th down, and Davenport scored again, but the 2-point conversion was no good, leaving the Steelers up 29-28.  The Steelers D held, but the offense was unable to get a first, leaving the Jags that one last shot, and they would take advantage of it.

This game was what football is all about.  It had great physical play on both sides, came down to the end, and showed why the AFC is so much better than the NFC.  Garrard deserves a ton of credit for not folding after the two huge picks, and he should get a lot of props for the great fourth down run that got the Jags in field goal range.  For the Steelers, no doubt it was a game effort for a team that simply was banged up all over the place. No Willie Parker, hurting all over the offensive line, and even kick returner Allen Rossum was out.  No one can say that the Steelers got out muscled, like everyone did after the first meeting.  Be proud Steelers Nation….it was a great effort by a team that should have the league’s respect after getting trashed all week in the papers and talk shows.

Matt Loede has been in the sports media for over 16 years, with experience covering the MLB, NBA, and NFL. On Sunday’s during football season, you can hear Matt on national networks like Fox Sports Radio, Associated Press, and others. Born and raised in Cleveland Ohio, Matt studies and talks football inside and out, and is anxious to share his thoughts and comments with readers on a daily basis.



  1. Sandra Rowley

    January 6, 2008 at 4:30 am

    I know your hearts were broken when the Jaguars beat the steelers. But please, quit using the excuse of injured players. This late in the season, every team is battered and missing some of their best guys. Stuff happens, quit whining!

  2. Pam

    January 6, 2008 at 7:19 am

    This is one of those games where I am so proud of how they responded..says a lot for first year coach Mike Tomlin, but, I still can’t believe we didn’t win. So many opportunites squandered. One thing that ticks me off is that fans booed and that some didn’t even use their tickets. HEY there are a ton of us out here who would die for a chance to go to a came. Support the team all year (it’s the freaking playoffs) or give up your tickets!

  3. Chuck Knoll

    January 6, 2008 at 8:39 am

    This is a team in deep trouble!

    Who won the MVP?

    1-4 over the last 5 games!

    A defense who couldn’t stop Helen Keller!

    An o-line who is losing their best player!

    Next year they will finish 7-9 if they are lucky; Tomlin who might be a good coach in 5 years has very little experience and it was evident last night.

    Pam we will see how much Tomlin is loved when he takes Pittsburgh into losing season after losing season!

  4. Steeler Fan for ever

    January 6, 2008 at 10:39 am

    4th down and 2 yards to go… Harrison playing contain the outside… Barnes LT grabs Harrison and twists him to point of turning Harrison’s back to Garrad as runs past him for a 32 yard gain… the call was ingored it was obviously holding at the point of attack… it is shameful what NFL referees do to effect the outcome of games… the NFL is becoming like professional wrestling… when it will it stop… I CHALLENGE ANYONE TO REVIEW PLAY AND TELL ME IT IS OBVIOUSLY NOT HOLDING… THE REFEREES SURE SAW THE MAHAN HOLD THAT DIDN’T EXIST ON THE SUCCESSFUL 2 POINT CONVERSION… YEAR AFTER YEAR REFEREES DECIDE GAMES… HOW COME I NEVER SEE SUCH CALLS HARMING THE PATRIOTS????

  5. josh

    January 6, 2008 at 11:38 am

    chuck knoll…you are stupid….thats exactly what everyone was saying about the steelers would finish his year after an 8-8 season…things will only get better as tomlin gains experience…i hate ppl who make “predictions” that are base more on what they WANT to happen than what the THINK will happen.

  6. mark

    January 6, 2008 at 4:22 pm

    Guys, I have always said that Refs control the game, and the one thing replay will never be able to overcome are penalty flags! That was as brutal a bad call as any on the Mahan holding. Holding on a center who is 20-30 yards away from the play on a pass that happened so quickly, Mahan didnt even have time to hold. Ok,enough about that. I do have to say that judging on next years schedule, it would seem that 7-9 is a possiblity. Even though I am proud of the way the Steelers responded last night, the team does not look like it has direction or identity. Arians was mediocre during the season at best. Im not going to talk about the O-line or Special teams.If they do not address the O-line woes, Ben will have a very short career in Pittsburgh.Its time to give Mike Tomlin the keys to this team. No more coddling, or the comfort of having a Lebeau to lean on. Tomlin must assume the role as HEAD coach, not just in title. Lets see him give this team an identity, get them fired up to win road games, see them match our opponents intesity every week. These are things I feel they lacked all season. They showed heart last night, but now we need to increase the talent on the team.

  7. Elias

    January 6, 2008 at 6:01 pm

    I am proud of what the team did last night against Jaguars, actually steelers played a very good game compared with the last time both teams faced.
    The steelers really failed to reach the number 3 spot when lost against the Jets and Broncos that weren’t a better teams thay Steelers.
    In my point of view the steelers need for the next season to improve the o-line and running backs because wihtout Parker there isn’t a good back up
    Tomlin made a good job with a team that didn’t reach the playoffs a year before
    Big Ben is the present and the future of this team along with Holmes, Polamalu and some other guys, and the steelers need to focus mainly in stop the other teams late in the games to avoid loses as last night or the one against the Broncos, I am proud of what the steelers made this season

  8. jagguy

    January 6, 2008 at 6:21 pm

    Steeler fan forever, uh, there were bad calls on both sides. How the refs missed that face mask call in the end zone is beyond me and Reggie Nelson. And the “horse-collar” call? Are you serious? What kind of BS was that? You have to overcome the ref stuff, that’s just the way it is, and you already know this.

    Enough of that. I came here to say that the Steelers are one of the all-time great franchises in NFL history. The Steelers played with heart, grit and determination in spite of being injured. I knew it was going to be a hard-fought, close game. Steeler fans have nothing to be ashamed of. Us Jaguars hope that we can one day have just a touch of the greatness you all have experienced.

    Enjoy the off season, and we’ll see you next year.

  9. Andy

    January 7, 2008 at 9:31 pm

    Overall the team gave me a lot to cheer for this season. And even though they lost, this game was easily the best of the weekend.

    I’m pleased with the team’s performance in 2007 and especially with Coach Tomlin. I’m looking forward to *many* years with Tomlin.

  10. Steeler Fan for ever

    January 10, 2008 at 3:47 pm

    Hey Jag Guy what are you doing on a Steeler website anyway??? So anything ref’s do is ok by you eh??? You are aware that if the ref called holding the game was over and the Steeler win… The jags didn’t beat the Steelers the ref’s did…The Ward facemask occurred when he was getting mugged, the ref’s called pass interference on that play… it seems obvious to me if the mugging wouldn’t have happened I am sure Ward wouldn’t have chased him down to grab his facemask…the interfernce effected the outcome of the play … the fask mask didn’t and was a response to the mugging… suggest you go back to game film on tivo and check it out… lame, lame, shame… if that is the best you can do… you must know the ref’s really love the patriots I am sure the jag’s will get scewed if they are ahead in the second half just wait it is coming… but I really hope the jags win but won’t happen because the ref’s. I won’t even bother to bring the Mahan phantom hold since I am sure you saw just like the ref’s.

    Thank you for your kind thouights about the Steeler franchsie… ref’s shouldn’t determine the outcome of games the players should!!!

  11. Jagguy

    January 12, 2008 at 1:04 pm

    I came by here originally to say how much I respect the Steelers and their fans. It’s truly one of the great NFL franchises. I wish we were still in the same division with you all. The Jags won last weekend, but they have a long way to go before they have earned near the greatness the Steelers have. That’s the main reason I came by, just to say that, other than that, it’s a free country. And for the call you brought up, I have watched it several times. We’ll just have to disagree. The Steelers will reload and have a great year next year. They’ll be right in the thick of things. We’ll see you then.

  12. Steeler Fan for ever

    January 15, 2008 at 5:08 pm


    So therefore your position is that Hines Ward wasn’t interfered with??

    Sorry about the jags… they had a poor game plan… the only way to beat the patriots is to pressure Brady into mistakes… this is evidenced by the ravens, giants, eagles and colts games… I hoped the jags could have beaten them. The jags chose not to pressure but to cover… that will not work this year with the patriots.

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