Halftime Update: Jake Luton Struggles, Jaguars Trail Steelers 17-3

John Shipley

As expected, the Jacksonville Jaguars are struggling offensively against the undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers. But unexpectedly, Jacksonville's defense has stiffened for much of the half, leading to the Jaguars trailing 17-3 at halftime. 

The Jaguars got off to a solid start on their first drive, with Jake Luton completing his first two passes for 32 yards (17 to Keelan Cole, 15 to James Robinson). Jacksonville moved the ball down the field and took an early 3-0 lead thanks to a 41-yard field goal from Chase McLaughlin . 

But the 9-play, 52-yard, four-minute drive was the only offensive drive of the first half that didn't end poorly. The Jaguars responded by punting on the next three drives, with two of those drives being three-and-outs and one consisting of just six plays. 

Jacksonville was able to hold the Steelers to zero points through the first two defensive drives. Doug Marrone was able to ice Chris Boswell with a timeout and force a missed field goal on the first drive, while the Jaguars forced a punt on the second drive. They weren't able to fend them off forever though, with Chase Claypool beating Chris Claybrooks for a 31-yard touchdown in the second quarter.

The dagger came around the 2:00 mark of the second quarter, however. Thanks to big plays from James Robinson, DJ Chark, and Chris Conley, the Jaguars were able to move into Steelers territory with a chance to tie the game at 10-10, or at least make it 10-6.

But a former Jaguars first-rounder ensured the Jaguars would once again miss out on points. On second-down from Pittsburgh's 11, former Jaguars defensive lineman Tyson Alualu tipped a Jake Luton pass at the line of scrimmage and forced a Minkah Fitzpatrick interception.

Luton would throw another interception in the last minute of the first half, a floating pass to safety Terrell Edmunds. He finished the first half completing 7/18 (38.9%) for 87 yards (4.8 yards per attempt) and two interceptions, giving him a passer rating of 15.0.

Other Notes

  • Doug Costin got the start over Taven Bryan at three-technique, the second time in three weeks. 
  • DJ Chark leads the team in receptions (3) and yards (33) and targets (5).
  • James Robinson has rushed 11 times for 50 yards (4.5 yards per carry), along with a 15-yard catch.
  • Jacksonville can't defend Diontae Johnson. He has eight receptions for 97 yards through just two quarters.
  • Logan Cooke is having a terrific game, averaging53.3 yards per punt. He had a 67-yard punt in the first quarter.
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