The Korea Herald


Steelers struggle but survive rally


Published : Oct. 17, 2011 - 19:23

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PITTSBURGH (AP) ― Blaine Gabbert keeps showing the Jacksonville Jaguars why he’s their quarterback of the future.

The present remains painful.

A day after his 22nd birthday, Gabbert shook off five sacks to lead struggling Jacksonville within a desperation pass of a stunning upset over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday.

Yet Gabbert’s heave, like the last five Sundays for the Jaguars, came up empty in a 17-13 loss.

“We had an opportunity to win the football game at the end and we had to capitalize on the opportunity,” Gabbert said.

Jacksonville (1-5) dropped its fifth straight, matching the franchise’s longest losing streak in a decade. Yet there were plenty of signs the Jaguars are close to breaking through.

The defense limited the Steelers (4-2) to 70 yards in the second half. The jumbled offensive line that featured rookies Cameron Bradfield and Will Rackley on the left side shored up itself after halftime and Gabbert continued to come of age.

“I told our guys we are not into moral victories, but I know one thing, if you let go of the rope you have no chance,” coach Jack Del Rio said. “As a football team, we are doing the right things, preparing the right way, working our butts off.”

The Jaguars just aren’t winning.

“We’re doing some good things, but we’re not doing enough to finish the deal,” wide receiver Mike Thomas said. “The first half was kind of rough on both sides, but (playing better) was a little too late.”

Maurice Jones-Drew rushed for 96 yards for Jacksonville, which couldn’t quite duplicate the 31-29 upset it pulled off on its last visit to Heinz Field in the 2007 divisional playoffs.

Only six current Jaguars remain from that year, when Gabbert was still in high school.

He’s the linchpin of the franchise now, and had a couple of chances to tie or win the game in the closing moments.

Jacksonville trailed 17-10 midway through the fourth quarter when it drove to the Pittsburgh 27. The Jaguars appeared ready to go for it on fourth-and-6, but Gabbert called timeout instead.

“We went out for the look to take our shot there (and) didn’t like the play,” Del Rio said. “Blaine did a good job of not forcing it.”

Josh Scobee drilled a 45-yard field goal to get the Jaguars within four. Pittsburgh converted one first down, but couldn’t get a second, and Jacksonville had one more shot.

Gabbert was drilled on first down by Pittsburgh’s Brett Keisel, but popped up and eventually got the ball to the Pittsburgh 48 with 2 seconds remaining. His final pass came nowhere close to a teammate and he finished 12 of 26 for 109 yards and a touchdown.

“We just haven’t executed enough to win games yet as an offense,” Jones-Drew said. “We’re moving the ball against these tough defenses. We just have to finish drives, and that’s what we have to keep working on.”

Packers 24, Rams 3

Giants 27, Bills 24

Patriots 20, Cowboys 16

Raiders 24, Browns 17

Ravens 29, Texans 14

Buccaneers 26, Saints 20

Eagles 20, Redskins 13

Bengals 27, Colts 17

Falcons 31, Panthers 17

Bears 39, Vikings 10