Not to be outdone by Cassel, Cutler was in full April Ludgate mode, with 21 yards and an interception in the first half. However, the defense is playing above expectations when the Steelers face the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday (10 a.m. PT/1 p.m. ET, CBS, DirecTV).
Any chance of a comeback was also thwarted by two additional interceptions, both by Tashaun Gipson late in the fourth quarter, including one right at the goal line.
As the second half unfolded, it was apparent the Steelers wanted to ran an up tempo offense and it was working.
Big Ben had arguably the worst game of his career at the mercy of the Jaguars pass defense which is now unquestionably the best in the league. Jason Myers missed the PAT and the Jaguars lead 13-9. He went to his go-to guy, hitting Antonio Brown for a 49-yard gain over Jalen Ramsey to the Jaguars 23-yard line on their first offensive play. Church has shown to be a consummate pro, calmly gathering the ball in and going the other way for a TD.
PREDICTION: The Steelers figure to get a lead and force Bortles to try to catch up, which is when Pittsburgh will put it away.
Lee (ribs) and Linder (illness) were among four players the Jaguars listed as questionable for the game at Heinz Field. If it means winning games, then run the wishbone, the Wing-T, or the veer, Bortles said. Give them credit for sticking to their philosophy and featuring their best player.
The Jaguars pounded it on ground and used up the clock on their next drive.
The Jaguars held the ball for just 1:32 in the third quarter. Roethlisberger's statement could fuel rumors that this could be his previous year with the Steelers and might retire at the end of the season. But the Bell-heavy plan late past year rode the Steelers to seven straight wins, and in their biggest offensive productions - 26 points against the Minnesota Vikings and at the Baltimore Ravens - Bell got a combined 62 carries. He went on to play at Notre Dame and wound up starting all 13 games of his senior season there, finishing with 30 catches for 317 yards and two touchdowns. He's tough, he's shifty, but he is also plenty fast.
Roethlisberger did throw for 312 yards, which was more than double the Jaguars' average of 147.0 a game. Without Linder, the team will succumb to the pressure from the Steelers. The bubble screen was there early but the Jaguars, especially Aaron Colvin, figured it out.
On defense, the Jaguars are a sacking machine.
Jacksonville (2-2) ranks last in the league in rushing yards allowed per game (165.5) and per attempt (5.7), so limiting Bell will be a main focus - and a big challenge - against the Steelers (3-1). The resurgent LA Rams are in town at the stadium next week for the only 4:05 start of the year.