PITTSBURGH (AP) — Trevor Lawrence threw for 292 yards with a touchdown and an interception, and the Jacksonville Jaguars slugged their way past the Pittsburgh Steelers 20-10 on Sunday for their fifth straight victory.
The Jaguars (6-2) strengthened their hold on the AFC South behind a defense that kept Pittsburgh's erratic offense in check and more than enough offense to overcome a series of mistakes that let the Steelers (4-3) hang around well into the second half.
Lawrence broke it open with a 56-yard strike to a streaking Travis Etienne with 5:14 left in the third quarter that helped Jacksonville build a 14-point lead as the Jaguars won at Acrisure Stadium for the sixth time in their last seven trips.
Etienne ran for 79 yards and caught three passes for 70 yards and the score, a play in which he streaked past rookie cornerback Joey Porter Jr. and raced to the end zone. Evan Engram hauled in 10 receptions for 88 yards as Jacksonville heads into its bye week looking every bit the AFC South favorite it was expected to be.
Pittsburgh played the second half without quarterback Kenny Pickett, who exited late in the first half with a rib injury after getting drilled by defensive end Adam Gotsis. Mitch Trubisky came on and threw for 139 yards, including a 22-yard touchdown pass to George Pickens late in the third quarter that brought the Steelers within 17-10.
Trubisky, however, also threw two interceptions, including one in which he forced a pass into triple coverage early in the fourth quarter that ended up in the hands of Jacksonville's Andrew Wingard to hand the momentum back to the Jaguars.
Lawrence, playing with a brace on his left knee, guided the Jaguars on a clock-draining drive that ended with Brandon McManus' fourth field goal to put the game out of reach as the Jaguars won their seventh straight regular-season road game.
The Jaguars have shrugged off a 1-2 start behind Lawrence and a defense that seems to be improving by the week. While Pickens raised eyebrows during the week by saying Jacksonville plays a “hope” defense that relies heavily on the pass rush to protect the secondary, Jacksonville essentially kept the Steelers in check for long stretches on a day it outgained Pittsburgh 377-261.
The Steelers came in somehow still afloat in the competitive AFC North despite having an offense and a defense that rank near the bottom of the league in every major statistical category except wins.
It was more of the same in the late-October mist. Pittsburgh needed four possessions before picking up a single first down while Jacksonville moved the ball with relative ease only to settle for three McManus field goals and have two other drives end with turnovers deep in Pittsburgh territory.
The Steelers — as is their custom — started generating momentum late in the second quarter when Gotsis drilled Pickett in the waning seconds of the opening half. Pickett grabbed his ribs while making his way to the locker room, and while he made a brief appearance on the sideline and tried to warm up as halftime ended, he was ultimately pulled in favor of Trubisky.
Steelers: Lost All-Pro free safety Minkah Fitzpatrick to a hamstring injury in the first quarter.
Jaguars: Are off next week then welcome San Francisco to TIAA Bank Field on Nov. 12.
Steelers: Host Tennessee on Thursday night.
AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL
Will Graves, The Associated Press