The Jacksonville Jaguars were running the ball at will against the Pittsburgh Steelers, and then decided to pass from open sets in the final two minutes of the half.
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Leading 9-0 with two minutes remaining in the second half, the Jaguars had racked up 139 rushing yards on well over five yards per carry.
Getting the ball back at their own 20-yard line, Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone and offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett decided the best course of action was to throw from four-wide sets and eschew the running game, despite having two timeouts and Blake Bortles throwing the ball.
The results were incredibly predictable. Bortles threw an incompletion into traffic and then took a sack before Jacksonville punted two plays later. Miraculously, the Jaguars were given another chance when Ben Roethlisberger threw an interception to Barry Church, giving Jacksonville the ball at the Pittsburgh 46-yard-line.
Instead of learning their lesson, the Jaguars doubled down on four-wide sets with the occasional trips to the right.
The result? More incompletions with one pass that came within inches of being picked off. Luckily for Marrone and Co., the Jaguars were able to escape with a 9-0 lead, but it could have been extended by simply running the ball and getting Josh Lambo into range for another three points.
It’s true that Bortles is terrible. It’s also true that Marrone and Hackett have to put him in a better situation to succeed, especially against a Steelers team that can bring the heat without blitzing.
At 3-6, the Jaguars are trying to keep their season alive at home against Pittsburgh, which has won five consecutive games. The Steelers need more from Roethlisberger, who has a statline of 8-of-19 for 53 yards and two interceptions.