Jags- Steelers Game Snapshot

Jags- Steelers Game Snapshot

Will Rashean Mathis have another special game against Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers? Will Blaine Gabbert's growth be stunted this week? Find out in the game snapshot.

GAME SNAPSHOT

KICKOFF: Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET

GAMEDATE: 10/16/11

SURFACE: Grass

TV: CBS, Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts

PREDICTION: Steelers 37-16


KEYS TO THE GAME: Jaguars rookie QB Blaine Gabbert has a touchdown pass in all three starts, but he's still battling some accuracy issues and lacks the downfield weapons to keep pace in a shootout. But with Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger coming off a five-touchdown game and Jacksonville lacking the pass rush to exploit Pittsburgh's offensive line, Gabbert is going to have to put points on the board. The Jaguars will attempt to shorten the game by leaning on RB Maurice Jones-Drew, but to be competitive they must be highly efficient in the red zone - and get vastly improved special teams play from last week.

FAST FACTS: Jaguars CB Rashean Mathis has six takeaways in six career games against the Steelers. ... Steelers WR Mike Wallace has a reception of 40-plus yards in four consecutive games.

INSIDE THE CAMPS:

JAGUARS

Things aren't getting any easier for rookie quarterback Blaine Gabbert.

Last week, he faced the league's No. 1 defense, Cincinnati. This week, he takes on No. 2 Pittsburgh. And next week he gets No. 3 Baltimore.

And for third week in a row, Gabbert will face a veteran defensive coordinator who is noted for having a good blitz package.

Three weeks ago, it was New Orleans' Gregg Williams of the Saints. Last week it was Cincinnati's Mike Zimmer, and Sunday it will be Pittsburgh's Dick LeBeau.

"The biggest thing is they have a veteran defense," Gabbert said of the Steelers. "They have guys that have been in that scheme for 10 years."

The Steelers, though, are giving up 4.7 yards per rush, and their run defense is ranked 16th. If Maurice Jones-Drew can run against Pittsburgh's defense and enable the Jaguars to stay out of third-and-long situation, it would make things easier for Gabbert.

If the Steelers stuff the run and force the third and long plays, LeBeau can unleash his blitz schemes.

But if the Jaguars can control the tempo on the ground, they have a chance of staying in the game.

And if they run, they can take time off the clock and keep Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger off the field.

STEELERS

When Hines Ward broke in with the Steelers, Kordell Stewart was their quarterback, Jerome Bettis was their running back and the ground game was their main game.

Over the next two years after Ward was drafted in the third round, the Steelers showed what they thought of his potential by drafting wide receivers in the first round in 1999 (Troy Edwards) and 2000 (Plaxico Burress).

On Sunday, when the Steelers play Jacksonville at Heinz Field, Ward needs 13 receiving yards to pass a Hall of Famer, Michael Irvin, for 19th place on the career list. With 11,892 yards, Ward should soon become the 18th player to hit 12,000.

"Not many guys can say they have 12,000 yards," Ward said. "To do it all with this organization is just a great milestone, a great day whenever that day comes."

An even bigger milestone looms, too. Ward, with 20 receptions in five games, has crept with 26 of 1,000. Only seven players have that many career receptions, and only one other who played his entire career for one team, Indianapolis' Marvin Harrison. However, Jerry Rice, the leader with 1,549 receptions, did have 1,281 with San Francisco before playing for two other teams late in his career.

Ward caught two touchdown passes in last week's game, his first game with more than one TD catch in two seasons.

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JAGUARS

--DE Aaron Kampman had a full practice Thursday, a sign he will make his season debut Sunday after missing the last 13 games over the past two years with a torn ACL.

--LT Eugene Monroe (shoulder) was limited Thursday for the second consecutive day, and it is uncertain if he will play Sunday. He came out of last week's game with the injury.

--OT Guy Whimper (hip) was limited for the second consecutive day but thinks he will be ready to play. He moves from right to left tackle when Eugene Monroe can't play.

--CB Derek Cox (groin) was limited Thursday after not practicing Wednesday.

--LB Daryl Smith (concussion) was limited Thursday after not practicing Wednesday.

--RB Montell Owens (knee) didn't practice for the second consecutive day and probably won't play Sunday.

--G/C Jason Spitz (quad) didn't practice for the second consecutive day and probably won't play Sunday.

--LB Clint Session (elbow) didn't practice Thursday after being limited Wednesday, a sign he probably won't play.

STEELERS

--RB Rashard Mendenhall, who did not play last Sunday because of a hamstring injury, will start, but coordinator Bruce Arians said the team does not want to overload him.

--QB Ben Roethlisberger took it a bit easier in practice Thursday with Charlie Batch taking more snaps than normal. The Steelers did not want to put more stress on Roethlisberger's sprained left foot.

--RB Mewelde Moore (high ankle sprain) probably will not play Sunday, which means Jonathan Dwyer, who rushed for 107 yards last week as a backup, will suit up as the No. 3 back.

--OT Marcus Gilbert will not start, but the Steelers are hoping he can suit up for the game as a backup. Jonathan Scott will start at right tackle.

--LG Chris Kemoeatu, who missed last week's game with a chronic swollen knee and has not yet practiced this week, will be a game-day decision. Doug Legursky would start if Kemoeatu cannot go.

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