For some, the performance wasn't better, or even as good as it was a week earlier against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. However, the result was different: the Steelers came out of Jacksonville, Florida with a victory on Sunday.
Here are our likes and dislikes from the game:
Still dislike. But do I agree with Mike Tomlin that we cannot expect a perfect football game...
While 7 penalties for 50 yards is an improvement over last week's 13 penalty performance, the timing and nature of the penalties called in this game are still a cause for concern. Adding to the self-discipline nature of flags last week, WR Lance Moore apparently didn't learn the lesson.
After converting a 3rd-and-9 from their own 11 yard line into a first down, Moore spiked the football and drew a delay of game call. Moore, who was finally working himself back into the lineup, was pulled to the sidelines and a verbal onslaught from Mike Tomlin ensued. Moore was benched for a few plays and replaced with Justin Brown, who had been playing in Moore's injury absence earlier in the season.
During the same third quarter drive, an illegal use of hands call against LT Kelvin Beachum wiped out a 17 yard gain by Antonio Brown. The Steelers drive stalled due to the 10 yard setback and they would punt 4 plays later.
(Also of note, this same penalty nearly wiped out Antonio Brown's streak, an NFL record of games with 5 or more receptions, which now stands at 21.)
Dislike: 1-of-4 in the red zone is unacceptable. This is worse than the Ravens game, where the Steelers gave up 2 chances to score points within 25 yards of striking distance.
The sack-fumble play in the 4th quarter was foreshadowed in our preview of this week's game, as Tampa Bay had done the same a week earlier. This time, instead of giving Jacksonville favorable field position, it ended what was a promising drive and an opportunity to put points on the board.
Likes: As noted above, Antonio Brown continued his NFL record by another game, though it was almost not meant to be. On the game's final drive, Ben Roethlisberger admittedly called a pass play to Brown to keep the streak alive.
Justin Brown also had a solid game. After replacing Lance Moore, Brown would make all 3 of his catches on 3 consecutive Steelers passing plays. (However, this promising drive ended in the sack-fumble of Roethlisberger.)
Le'Veon Bell continues to be a monster at RB, amazing over 500 all-purpose yards in 5 games. He is the first player in team history to accomplish this feat. Bell's 688 yards from scrimmage is leads the league, and is also the most ever by a Steeler through the first 5 games of the season.
While at times there were doubts about the defensive effort, the Steelers held their ground overall. CB Cortez Allen grabbed his second interception of the season. During the final Jacksonville possession, Steeler veterans Lawrence Timmons, James Harrison, Brett Keisel and Troy Polamalu all applied pressure or made run-stopping tackles for little or no gain.
The icing on the cake came when CB Brice McCain jumped a route and picked off Blake Bortles, en route to a touchdown. The timing shifted momentum back in the Steelers' favor, 2 plays after Roethlisberger turned the ball over to the Jaguars.
Shaun Suisham made his only field goal of the day, a 24 yard chip shot, after the Steelers failed to score for the 4 yard line.
Brad Wing redeemed his poor performance against Tampa Bay with several booming punts, including a game-long 57 yard boot.
The game was ugly, but a win, is a win... is a win. Jacksonville is a young team in the same growing process as many of the Steelers players are. However, it was the Steelers, and not the Jaguars, who were able to capitalize on the other team's mistakes for the victory.
Up next is the Cleveland Browns, a team that came back from from a 25 deficit to score 26 unanswered points and defeat the Tennessee Titans. The Browns nearly accomplished the same against the Steelers in week 1, and will be a similar opponent like Tampa Bay or Jacksonsville, in that they have "nothing to lose."
Hopefully, the Steelers will use the last 2 games as building blocks to secure another victory on the road next week.