The Pittsburgh Steelers lost in the Divisional Round to the Jacksonville Jaguars 45-42 in what should be considered a massive upset.
The Steelers were built to go deep in the playoffs this year. They had everything going for them – they had the best wide receiver and running back in the league. They had a hall of fame quarterback, several 1st round picks at defense, a first round bye. But the Jaguars moved the ball at will on them. At one point they were winning by 21 points.
What happened? Whose fault is it? Is it just that the Jaguars are an up and coming team and are better than the Steelers? Was it poor play calling? Poor coaching? Was it sitting the starters in week 17, basically giving them 3 weeks off? Let’s look at the winners and losers.
The entire offense
Putting up 42 points on one of the best defenses in the league is impressive. It wasn’t perfect – there were turnovers, and a some key 4th and short plays that weren’t made. But 42 points should be plenty to win a game.
Bell had 16 rushes for 67 yards, 1 rushing touchdown, 9 receptions for 88 yards and a receiving touchdown. He was fine, but will he be back?
AB was unreal. 7 receptions, 132 yards, 2 touchdowns. Both touchdown catches were amazing and he reinforced that he’s the best wide receiver in the game.
McDonald had 10 receptions for 112 yards. He was Ben’s check down and did a great job.
There were several times where it looked like the Steelers had no hope of winning, then Ben would throw deep and a wide receiver would catch it. Martavis made one of those great catches. He had 2 receptions for 78 yards and a touchdown.
I almost put him in the ‘Loser’ category. He did had an amazing game: He made 37 of 58 completions for 469 yards and 5 touchdowns. But he did have a costly interception and fumble. In the end, he gave it his all. I hope this wasn’t the last game of his career.
The entire defense
This game was all their fault. They could not stop the Jaguars at all. They made Leonard Fournette look like a combination of Walter Payton and Jim Brown. They made Blake FREAKING Bortles look like Joe Montana.
All of the coaches
Where do you begin:
1) Tomlin decided to have starters rest for 3 weeks, making them rusty
2) Pitiful play calling on 4th and short. Ever hear of a quarterback sneak, Todd Haley??
3) Down 7 with over 2 minutes left in the game, the Steelers decide to go for a poorly executed onside kick even though they had 2 timeouts. The Jaguars recovered and were already in field goal range.
4) The defensive game plan – yes the players should be to blame for poor play but the defensive play calling looked horrible. They weren’t prepared.