Technically it went into the scorebook as a 2-yard touchdown run.
The highly GIF-able reality told a more compelling story Chargers Elite Jerseys , one that served as the symbolic launch point for both the Jacksonville Jaguars’ breakout season and the rookie running back at the center of it all.
The Jaguars were driving deep in Pittsburgh territory early in the second quarter at Heinz Field on Oct. 8.
On second down at the Steelers 2, Jacksonville quarterback Blake Bortles took the snap and stuffed the ball in Leonard Fournette’s gut.
Fournette took two steps then vaulted into the air at the 4.
All 240 pounds of him sailed over the line of scrimmage and landed untouched at least a yard into the end zone.
Just like that, Fournette and the Jaguars arrived, making the Steelers believers in the process.
”Fournette is good,” said Steelers linebacker Bud Dupree, who then immediately corrected himself. ”Fournette is great.”
Yet for all of Fournette’s breathtaking feats of athleticism – including a 90-yard bolt to the end zone that served as the exclamation point on Jacksonville’s 30-9 victory three months ago, he’s just part of a group that led the NFL in rushing.
While Pittsburgh (13-3) will be focusing on Fournette’s No. 27 wherever he goes on Sunday when the Steelers host the Jaguars (11-6) in the divisional round of the playoffs, they’re well aware they can’t take the other players in the backfield lightly.
Sure, Fournette finished with 1,040 yards rushing and nine touchdowns, Chris Ivory, T.J. Yeldon, Corey Grant and Bortles combined for 1 Dolphins Elite Jerseys ,205 yards and seven touchdowns. Even fullback Tommy Bohanon found the end zone twice.
”Minimizing their run is more than just focusing on Leonard,” Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin said Tuesday.
”Obviously, we have to do a good job there, but we have to do a good job for 60 minutes and in all areas. We want to minimize the ways that they run the ball and the ways that they possess the ball and control the game.”
The Jaguars finished with 231 yards rushing in the first meeting, the most allowed by the Steelers this season.
While Fournette’s late burst skewed the numbers a bit, it was a run made possible by the 36 attempts that came before it as Jacksonville simply wore down Pittsburgh until the Steelers yielded.
More of the same likely arrives this weekend. The Jaguars are hardly apologetic for their approach, one that emphasizes controlling the clock and the tempo.
It’s a formula that helped them reach the playoffs for the first time in a decade and one they used effectively – if not exactly glamorously – while outlasting Buffalo in the wild-card round last weekend.
”They stick to the run the whole game,” Pittsburgh rookie outside linebacker T.J. Watt said. ”It’s not like we’re going to shut it down for a couple plays and they’re going to pass the rest of the game. We have to stop it through all four quarters.”
Bortles included. For all of his occasional issues throwing the ball, Bortles can make up for it with his legs.
He actually ran for more yards (88) than he passed for (87) against the Bills. He had four runs of 10 yards or more. He only had five passes that traveled at least that distance.
”People talk about his skillset or whatever,” Steelers safety Mike Mitchell said. ”At the end of the day they won the game. It’s dangerous, we respect it. Our job is to be able to cover.”
And tackle. And not get so caught up in trying to get to Bortles that they let him squirt loose, a bad habit Pittsburgh picked up at times this season even as it led the NFL and set a franchise record with 55 sacks, one more than the Jaguars.
”You’ve got to be controlled Vikings Elite Jerseys ,” Dupree said. You’ve got to stay in your rush lane. You don’t want him to hurt you with his feet. It might be third-and-12, he might get 10 yards. You don’t want that to happen. You’ve got to make sure you’re constricting the rush lane, pushing the pocket. Just get him to step up in the pocket, we can chase him down then.”
And, the Steelers hope, run all the way to the AFC title game in the process.
Derek Dietrich was hoping for a chance at history but settled for a win in a torrid month for the Miami outfielder.
He homered for the third straight game, leading Miami over the Colorado Rockies 8-5 on Sunday.
Dietrich doubled, homered and singled in his first three at-bats but managed just a single in his last two trips to the plate before leaving in the seventh inning. He tied a career high with four hits. He would have been the first Marlins player ever to hit for the cycle.
”(John) Silverman, our longtime clubhouse manager, said, `No one’s ever hit for the cycle so if you would have hit it they would have brought you back for the all-anniversary,”’ Dietrich said. ”That would have been cool. There’s always tomorrow.”
Drew Rucinski got the win in relief of starter Caleb Smith, who exited in the second inning with left shoulder tightness.
Smith said he felt tightness on his second pitch to Tom Murphy to start the inning. He struck out Murphy on four pitches but after one pitch to Gerardo Parra Patriots Elite Jerseys , manager Don Mattingly and trainers immediately went to the mound. After a brief conversation, Smith left and Rucinski came on.
Mattingly said after the game Smith will go on the disabled list and will have an MRI done Monday.
”It’s super disappointing,” Smith said. ”The DL is the last place I want to be. I want to go out there every fifth day and help my team out.”
Rucinski (2-1) allowed three runs in 2 2-3 innings but got the win, and Kyle Barraclough earned his seventh save.
The start of the game was delayed 1 hour, 31 minutes by a strong storm that dropped heavy rain and hail on Coors Field.
German Marquez (5-8) didn’t last long, either. He was tagged for six runs – five earned – in 3 1-3 innings. Miami’s first five batters reached against him during a three-run first inning.
Nolan Arenado hit a two-run homer in the bottom half, his 18th, to make it 3-2. Arenado finished the 4-3 homestand with five home runs in the final six games. Colorado is 15-22 at Coors Field.
”Winning a homestand or not, we’ve got win series,” Arenado said. ”Homestand doesn’t mean nothing until we win the series. It has been frustrating lately.”
Parra also homered for Colorado.
Dietrich, who hit .438 on the nine-game road trip and is hitting .410 in June, led off the second with a home run, his 11th. He added an RBI single in a two-run seventh to give the Marlins a three-run cushion but was replaced in the outfield for the bottom of the inning.
”Trying to win a game. At the end of the day our best defense is on the field Saints Elite Jerseys ,” Mattingly said. ”You hate taking guys out. If it’s a one-run game probably couldn’t do it but I didn’t have any sense of Marlin history.”
Dietrich, who also had four hits at St. Louis on June 6, has one triple this season.
”This park has the most cycles in baseball,” Dietrich said. ”I don’t think you can force a triple so I was just trying to have a couple of more good at-bats.”
Marlins: SS Miguel Rojas was out of the lineup for a second straight day with soreness from a bruise on his left hand. Rojas was hit by a pitch Friday night. Mattingly said Rojas was available to pinch hit.
Rockies: RHP Scott Oberg (back strain) and LHP Mike Dunn (shoulder strain) came out of Saturday’s rehab assignments in good shape, manager Bud Black said. ”We’re going to see how they are today. They’ll play catch and see how they feel, start moving around and then these next decisions will follow,” he said.
The Rockies placed shaky reliever Bryan Shaw on the 10-day disabled list with a right calf strain and recalled Yency Almonte from Triple-A Albuquerque. Shaw gave up a grand slam to J.T. Realmuto on Saturday and has struggled in his setup role with Colorado. He is 3-5 with a 7.57 ERA in 41 games after signing a three-year, $27 million in the offseason.
Marlins: RHP Dan Straily (2-3, 4.89) will start Monday against Arizona while the appeal of his suspension is still pending. Straily was given a five-game suspension by Major League Baseball for intentionally throwing at San Francisco catcher Buster Posey on Tuesday night
Rockies: RHP Chad (5-1, 5.23) opens a three-game series in San Francisco on Tuesday night. He has a 6.00 ERA in two starts against the Giants this season.