Stillers - Jags Review
I predicted that the Stillers would score 24 points, but never would have guessed that the Jags would play so poorly and score only 13 points (7 of which came with only seconds remaining in the game). Pittsburgh's defense played exceptional, the offense did what it had to do and the special teams played its best game of the year to capture the Stillers first win of the season. Not bad for a team that was 10-1/2 point underdogs at kickoff.
In stark contrast to weeks past, the Stillers defense held during the game's early going. Jacksonville, apparently sluggish after a short week of preparation, was unable to move the ball on its first possession. The Stillers offense then stalled and then had a punt blocked to the 5 yard line...a play that looked like it would swing into the Jags favor, but the defense came up big to give up only 3 points.
Later in the first quarter, the Stillers got on the board with a 10 play drive capped by a 5 yard TD run by Fu. This put the Stillers up for good. After 10 unanswered points on a 19 yard FG by Brown and a 1 yard TD by Bettis, the Stillers were up 17-3. I was stunned at halftime and thought I must be watching a re-run from years past, except the Stillers have never beaten the Jags in their house.
Late in the second quarter, the Jags converted a big 4 and 3 opportunity after Chad Scott was called for delay of game on 4 and 8 (the details of the delay of game were not explained by Myron and crew so this remains a mystery to me). Scoring a TD would have given the Jags a much needed boost going into halftime, but they were only able to manage another FG. Stillers up at halftime 17-6...another boost for the Stillers and another blow to the Jags.
The second half proved to be only mildly interesting as the Jags were unable to manage much offense. In the second half, the Stillers scored a third quarter TD to seal the game and go up 24-6. The Jags managed their one and only second half score with 9 seconds left in the game when it was too little, too late.
On the game, the Jags managed a whopping 26 yards rushing and 180 yards passing...pittance for a team ranking amongst the leagues elite offenses entering the game....they also gave up SEVEN sacks. The Stillers managed 209 yards rushing (97 - Bus, 61 - Stewart, 51 - Fu) and 123 yards passing to post 332 total yards of offense.
All-in-all, the team is to be commended for continuing to put forth effort three weeks in a row, despite having no wins to show for its efforts at kickoff. The team has finally been rewarded. If the offense line continues to improve and Lewis and Gilbride continue to call complete games (this is a BIG, BIG IF), the Stillers may actually find a way to win a few ball games this year. Something most of us never would have fathomed coming into today's game.
Miscellaneous Notes: Jagsonville has a sub-500 record for the first time since '96... Hank Poteat again showed his return prowess with a 65 yard return - unfortunately, the refs incorrectly called Scott for a block in the back and he ended up with only 31 yards to show for his effort... Bruener was knocked out of the game on a 5 yard reception (a minor concussion was the diagnosis)... Fu ended up with 90 all-purpose yards and is starting to live up to the expectations which is a good sign - he seems to have a great knack for finding holes on screens and draws... Plax Burress again struggled having a reception turned into a Jags INT and turning the ball over after spiking a live ball (he apparently had a college flashback and thought he was down when -a- he was never touched by the D and -b- the whistle had never blown)... Cowher after the game said that despite Kordell's effort, Graham would be the starter in NY next week if healthy...