Rashard Mendenhall quieted any chatter that he should lose his running back job after Jonathan Dwyer’s big game in his absence and the Steelers defense showed up in a big way during a dominant first half that left the Jaguars in a 17-3 hole at the half.
Mendenhall passed the 100-yard mark early in the second quarter and finished the half with 113 yards on 12 carries, including a 68-yard scamper that wound up setting up a field goal. He scored the first Steelers touchdown of the day and Ben Roethlisberger took advantage of a poor job by Jaguars cornerback Rashean Mathis for the second score. Mathis was far too soft on Mike Wallace, resulting in a 28-yard touchdown that put the Steelers up by a comfortable margin after their first two drives of the game.
The Jags offense hasn’t done anything to make you think that the second half will play out differently. Blaine Gabbert’s been sacked four times, they’ve converted one third down and gained a grand total of 68 yards in the first half. The Steelers haven’t found their way to a takeaway, continuing a season-long failure to create them, but they’ve done everything else you’d want to see on defense through the first 30 minutes of what’s looking like a one-sided win.
The only negative for the Steelers was the loss of guard Doug Legursky to another injury. Trai Essex stepped in for Legursky, who was carted off and doesn’t look like a good bet to return. The Steelers offense didn’t miss a beat, but they don’t really need more injuries on the offensive line at this point in the season.