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One of the worst coaching decisions ever cost the Steelers a legit shot to win

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The Jacksonville Jaguars made history Sunday in a 45-42 road win against the favored Pittsburgh Steelers.

Not only is this just the third time the Jaguars have ever made the AFC title game — and the first time since 2000 — the Jaguars scored the most points in Pittsburgh in a playoff game.

The 1996 Steelers scored 42 points in a wild-card game against the Indianapolis Colts.

The Steelers were able to roar back from an abysmal 28-7 deficit in Sunday’s loss, and drew within a touchdown several times. They could never quite get over the hump though.

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was able to overcome a pair of costly turnovers that helped lead to two touchdowns, a looked like his old gunslinger self.

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Roethlisbrger finished the game with an eye-popping 469 passing yards and five touchdowns, but also had a costly interception and a fumble that was returned by Jacksonville for a touchdown.

Four of Roethlisberger’s touchdowns were of the incredible variety. Steelers receivers had to make incredible efforts to haul in the football with Jacksonville players draped all over them.

Despite the Jaguars carving up the Pittsburgh defense, the gritty play of the Steelers put the team in a position to win the game in the fourth quarter

And yet, it was all for naught.

Steelers head coach Tomlin virtually gift wrapped a win for the Jaguars with some head-scratching coaching decisions down the stretch.

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But one call, in particular, was a big reason why the Steelers couldn’t, at the very least, play for overtime.

After an incredible lateral by Roethlisberger to Bell for a touchdown, the Steelers found themselves down 42-35, with a little more than two minutes remaining and two timeouts.

The Steelers should have ran a normal kickoff and forced the Jaguars to try and work with the long field.

The game would’ve been virtually over with a Jacksonville first down, but with the long field, holding the Jaguars would’ve have forced a punt and given one of Pittsburgh’s dynamic athletes a shot to return the punt.

Instead, the Steelers chose to try an onside kick, a play with an ultra-low success rate.

Yes, the Steelers could’ve gotten the ball back. But an unsuccessful attempt would give the Jaguars the ball on the edge of field goal range.

And that’s exactly what happened. The Steelers defense did its job and prevented a first down. But with the field position the Jaguars were handed, Jacksonville kicked a field goal to make it a two-possession game.

The Steelers got the ball back and moved deep into Jacksonville territory. But another questionable decision to pass up a field goal resulted in Roethlisberger throwing his fifth touchdown pass with just one second left, making the final score 45-42.

Tomlin is going to have to face several tough questions after this loss. There is mounting evidence that while Tomlin is a great motivator, his X’s and O’s expertise is not his strength.

The Jaguars will face the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship game Sunday in Foxoborough.

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Bryan Chai has written news and sports for The Western Journal for more than five years and has produced more than 1,300 stories. He specializes in the NBA and NFL as well as politics.
Bryan Chai has written news and sports for The Western Journal for more than five years and has produced more than 1,300 stories. He specializes in the NBA and NFL as well as politics. He graduated with a BA in Creative Writing from the University of Arizona. He is an avid fan of sports, video games, politics and debate.
Birthplace
Hawaii
Education
Class of 2010 University of Arizona. BEAR DOWN.
Location
Phoenix, Arizona
Languages Spoken
English, Korean
Topics of Expertise
Sports, Entertainment, Science/Tech




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