Steelers' questionable fourth-down call helps put them in huge hole vs. Jaguars

Shutdown Corner

The Jacksonville Jaguars were able to silence the normally rabid crowd at Heinz Field on Sunday afternoon in their AFC divisional round game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Jacksonville took a 21-0 lead with less than five minutes gone in the second quarter, behind solid play from quarterback Blake Bortles, a strong effort from rookie running back Leonard Fournette and the usually stellar performance offered by the defense.

And the defense got some help from Pittsburgh late in the first quarter: the Steelers went for it on fourth-and-1 from the Jaguars’ 21, and opted to call a toss play to Le’Veon Bell.

Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell was stopped for a four-yard loss on fourth-and-short against Jacksonville. (AP)
Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell was stopped for a four-yard loss on fourth-and-short against Jacksonville. (AP)

Against arguably the fastest defense in the NFL this season, it didn’t work.

Cornerback Jalen Ramsey and defensive lineman Malik Jackson got to Bell quickly, leading to a four-yard loss for Pittsburgh.

It isn’t that Bell, an All-Pro this season, shouldn’t get the ball as much as Pittsburgh can get it to him; it was the situation. The Steelers have Ben Roethlisberger – whose size has always been one of his defining characteristics – to try a sneak, or maybe try a direct snap to Bell.

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But a toss play? It was a no-go.

The Steelers did score on their next possession, but the Jaguars had scored when they got the ball on the turnover on downs, so Pittsburgh was still down two scores.

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