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Steelers defeat Jaguars, 16-15

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The main emphasis for the Steelers, according to head coach Mike Tomlin, was to get quarterback Kenny Pickett "more varsity action."

The Steelers checked that box in a 16-15 victory over the Jaguars on Saturday night at TIAA Bank Field.

Quarterback Mason Rudolph drove the Steelers from their 48-yard line to the Jaguars' 1 after an interception and 34-yard return by cornerback Justin Layne with 3:03 left in regulation, then finished the six-play, 52-yard march in 1:07 with a fourth-and-1 touchdown pass to wide receiver Tyler Snead. Rudolph's pass for tight end Connor Heyward on the subsequent two-point conversion attempt fell incomplete.

Game action photos from the Week 2 preseason game at the Jacksonville Jaguars at TIAA Bank Field

Jacksonville took over with 1:56 left in the fourth quarter and drove to the Steelers' 38.

Kicker Ryan Santoso missed a 57-yard field goal attempt at the gun.

Pickett, the Steelers' No. 1 pick, replaced quarterback Mitch Trubisky for a series that began with 6:00 left in the second quarter and the ball at the Steelers' 28.

The skill position players deployed at the time included Chase Claypool, George Pickens and Diontae Johnson at wide receiver, and Pat Freiermuth at tight end. And the offensive line was comprised by the five players who had started the game.

The Jaguars' defense included six starters.

Pickett's first series ended without a first down.

His second reached the end zone.

Pickett's toss to running back Benny Snell in the flat turned into an 11-yard touchdown pass with 23 seconds left in the first half. Kicker Chris Boswell's extra point gave the Steelers the 7-6 lead they carried into halftime.

Pickett went 4-for-4 for 63 yards on the five-play, 63-yard march in 42 seconds, not including a clock-stopping spike.

Pass-rushers Travon Walker, the No. 1-overall pick in last April' draft, and Josh Allen were among the five starters Jacksonville had on defense.

Pickett hit Johnson for an apparent 11-yard touchdown one snap prior to finding Snell, but the play was wiped out by offsetting penalties.

Pickett finished 6-for-7 passing for 76 yards, one touchdown and a passer rating of 151.5.

Rudolph began the second half at quarterback for the Steelers.

He was flagged for intentional grounding after getting pressured by defensive end Dawuane Smoot in the end zone with 9:15 left in the third quarter. The safety gave Jacksonville an 8-7 lead.

The Jaguars increased their lead to 15-7 on a third-and-goal, 4-yard scramble by quarterback C.J. Beathard and a Santos extra point with 12:17 left in the fourth. Jacksonville had taken over at the Jaguars' 48 after wide receiver Gunner Olszewski lost a fumble on a wide receiver-sweep on fourth-and-1 from the 45 (a holding penalty against tight end Kevin Rader was declined).

Jacksonville opened the scoring on a 53-yard field goal by Santoso with 2:16 left in the first quarter. The scoring drive covered 37 yards on 10 plays in 5:50.

Santoso connected again, this time from 25 yards out, for a 6-0 Jaguars' lead with 6:06 left in the second. The Jaguars moved 82 yards on 15 plays in 8:02 against a defense that had begun to substitute (free safety Minkah Fitzpatrick and outside linebacker T.J. Watt were no longer in the game).

Each team missed a field goal on its first possession.

Boswell hit the left upright on a 53-yard attempt and Santoso missed wide right from 51 yards away.

Kicker Nick Sciba's 38-yard field goal with 6:20 left in the fourth capped an 11-play, 46-yard drive in 5:57 and brought the Steelers to within five at 15-10.

The first-team offense for the Steelers, with the exception of running back Najee Harris, who was replaced by Snell, and the continued rotation at left guard.

Kendrick Green started at left guard but was replaced by Kevin Dotson at the outset of the next two possessions. The two took turns throughout the first half.

The Steelers opened minus two defensive starters, defensive tackle Cam Heyward and outside linebacker Alex Highsmith.

Outside linebacker Genard Avery started the first two defensive series for Highsmith and defensive end Chris Wormley played for Heyward in the base defense.

Trubisky completed five of eight passes for 60 yards in three series.

Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence played the first half and finished 14-for-21 passing for 133 yards.