Scouting Report: Jaguars

A look at what the Steelers will be up against on Sunday afternoon against the Jacksonville Jaguars:


RUSH HOUR:** The Jaguars sacked Jets quarterback Josh McCown five times in last Sunday's 23-20 overtime loss at MetLife Stadium and pushed their league-leading total on the season to 18. The front four excels at collapsing the pocket and has accounted for 11.5 of Jacksonville's 18 sacks, led by defensive end Calais Campbell (5.5), who moves up and down the line in search of favorable match-ups. Sub-package defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. has three sacks. Defensive end Yannick Ngakoue has four sacks this season and has forced seven fumbles on his 12 career sacks.  

The Jaguars' pass-rushing prowess has been a factor in Jacksonville amassing an NFL-best five fumble recoveries and 10 takeaways (third in the league). The Jaguars have two return touchdowns this season, one an 81-yard fumble return by linebacker Myles Jack against the Jets. Jack has a team-leading 33 tackles (including one sack) after making 24 tackles in 16 games (10 starts) last season as a rookie.

Jacksonville is No. 1 in pass defense, allowing an average of 147.0 yards per game.


RUNNING ON EMPTY:** Jacksonville hadn't given up a carry of 20 or more yards in its first three games but was gashed for touchdown runs of 75 yards (Bilal Powell) and 69 yards (Elijah McGuire) against the Jets, who rushed for 256 yards overall and averaged 8.0 yards on 32 carries. Powell also had a 33-yard run. The Jaguars had been allowing 135 yards per game on the ground prior to the Jets game. Now they're allowing 165.5 (No. 32 in the NFL).

On Powell's touchdown, he hit the deck after leaping to avoid a tackle near the line of scrimmage and the Jaguars' defense stopped in its tracks. Not having heard a whistle, Powell got up and sprinted 68 yards into the end zone.

On McGuire's TD, strong safety Barry Church was unblocked but unable to come up and get a hand on McGuire.

BORTLES' BATTED BALLS: The Jets deflected four of quarterback Blake Bortles' passes at the line of scrimmage, which ran Bortles' totals to an NFL-high eight this season and an NFL-high 68 since 2014. One of the deflections was intercepted by Jets defensive end Kony Ealy at the Jacksonville 16-yard line and returned to the Jacksonville 7 in the third quarter.

CASHING IN: Bortles has 10 completions in the red zone this season and six have gone for touchdowns. Two of those were to tight end Marcedes Lewis (17 and 4 yards) against Baltimore on Sept. 24 in London. Lewis had three receiving TDs in the Jaguars' 44-7 victory over the Ravens.


DUAL THREAT:** Bortles has great mobility and contributes to the ground game on designed runs as well as scrambles (98 yards on 14 carries). He took a read-option keeper 27 yards against the Jets and finished the run by lowering his shoulder into cornerback Juston Burris rather than step out of bounds.

AS ADVERTISED: Running back Leonard Fournette, the fourth-overall pick in 2017, has four touchdowns in four NFL games (three rushing, one receiving). He often runs into a loaded box (the Jaguars are that committed to the running game), regularly gains yards after contact and has also been effective in the passing game. Fournette accounted for 145 yards from scrimmage against the Jets (86 rushing, 59 receiving).  

SPECIAL EDITION: The Jaguars gave up a 31-yard completion from punter Lac Edwards to cornerback Marcus Williams on fourth-and-21 from the Jets' 47 with 22 seconds left in the second quarter. Williams, a gunner, wasn't covered when the teams lined up for the snap.

Jacksonville faked a punt on Baltimore with a 37-0 lead on fourth-and-1 from the Jacksonville 35 with 23 seconds left in the third quarter  (a direct snap to running back Corey Grant went for 58 yards).

Wide receiver Marqise Lee muffed a punt return and the Jaguars ended up beginning a possession at their 3 with just over two minutes left in overtime against the Jets. Linebacker Paul Posluszny was called for unsportsmanlike conduct on the Jaguars' subsequent punt and the Jets took over at the Jacksonville 25 with 1:38 left in the extra session.

Kicker Jason Myers has missed 11 extra points in three NFL seasons (one in 2017).

STAT THAT MATTERS: The Jaguars are 7-6 in games started by Bortles when they don't turn the ball over and 6-30 in starts by Bortles that include at least one giveaway.

HE SAID IT: "I would if I was them, yes. They look at us and they figure out how they want to beat us. To me, it's an old-timey type thing, but if you can run the football and dominate the game and keep yourself in the game by running the football, you can usually win most of your games. I think that's what they want to do. They want to run the ball, they want to play good defense and they want to keep control of the ball." _ Steelers defensive coordinator Keith Butler on whether the Jaguars will stay committed to the run.

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