The Jacksonville Jaguars marched into Pittsburgh and handed the Steelers their first home loss since Week 1. While frustrating at times, the Jags managed the game and capped off a 5-0 October (after going 0-5 in October of 2022).
This now means the Jaguars have their best start to a season through eight games (6-2) since 1999. The Jaguars get the week off, letting a couple of key players recover, before hosting the San Francisco 49ers in what may prove to be a litmus test for this team.
Key Stats From the Jaguars win vs. the Steelers
While the Jaguars did end up plus-one in the turnover columns, this is misleading. All three turnovers occurred in Steelers’ territory with the two first-half turnovers occurring in the redzone on first down.
The Jaguars remain amongst the least-penalized teams in the NFL with 39 penalties (fourth least) for 324 yards (fifth least). However, they did accumulate twenty-four more penalty yards than the Steelers despite the complaints of Steelers’ players.
Jaguars Offensive Breakdown vs. the Steelers in Week 8
Week 8 proved to be Travis Etienne’s most utilized in the backfield in terms of rushing share, recording an 80.6 percent rushing share (previous high: 72 percent in week 6). While the rushing game has been effective, Tony Boselli noted that the Jaguars need to find a way to split the backfield more to provide relief for Etienne later in the season.
Week 8 also saw a resurgence of the running backs being involved in the passing game (18.8 percent), most notably on Etienne’s fifty-six-yard touchdown catch. Surprisingly, the Jaguars did not test the Steelers’ defensive backs as much with the deep game (19 percent), especially after Minkah Fitzpatrick was ruled out for the game.
Jaguars Offensive Trends vs. the Steelers
For a second straight week, the Jaguars had over a 50 percent first-down pass rate. Increasingly, the Jaguars are becoming more of an “establish the pass” team. Overall, the Jaguars were effective again throwing the ball, with Trevor Lawrence ranking eleventh in adjusted net yards per pass attempt.
The Steelers did effectively limit the Jaguars rushing game to under 3.5 yards per carry, including a Tank Bigsby fumble. While Etienne did have a long run of 13 yards, the Jaguars did have four rushes of negative yards on only thirty carries (15 percent), their third-worst percentage of the season.
Jaguars Defensive Stats vs. the Steelers
The defensive performance from the Jaguars strongly resembled their matchup against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 4. Even before the Kenny Pickett injury, the Jaguars focused once again on stopping the run, allowing short completions, and waiting to pounce on a mistake.
The Jaguars' defense forced their season-best opposing quarterback’s adjusted net yards per attempt. The only quarterbacks worse this week were Jimmy Garoppolo and the New York Giants’ combination of Tyrod Taylor and Tommy DeVito. This was all done while missing Tyson Campbell and Andre Cisco due to injury.
Jaguars Field Position vs. the Steelers
The Jaguars once again dominated the starting field position, largely due to the late turnovers and a poor punting game by Pressley Harvin. Additionally, while Trevor Lawrence’s interception inflates this statistic, Logan Cooke had a great game with two second-half punts inside the 15-yard line (one downed by Antonio Johnson).
What seems like a common theme this season, the Jaguars seemed to dominate the game on Sunday and many of the statistics represent that. While the game oftentimes looks ugly, and the Jaguars leave the door for their opponent to get back in the game, they have found ways to hold on. With some cleanup, particularly offensively, this team is primed for a strong run on the back of a 6-2 start and no serious long-term injuries.