Steelers were boom-or-bust on fourth down in divisional loss to Jaguars

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Steelers lived and died on fourth-down plays Sunday, a gamble that ended their season after a 45-42 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars in the AFC divisional playoff game.

The Steelers were 4-for-6 on fourth down, including two head-scratching play calls on fourth-and-1 situations that resulted in stops.

Le'Veon Bell was stuffed for a 4-yard loss on a toss sweep on with 1:12 left in the first quarter. The Steelers also elected for a play-action pass instead of a running back or a quarterback sneak on fourth-and-1 with about half a yard to go to get the first down. Roethlisberger came up empty looking for rookie JuJu Smith-Schuster.

The Steelers' gambles did pay off at times -- in big ways. They scored three touchdowns on fourth-down plays.

Trailing 28-7 in with 32 seconds left in the first half, the Steelers elected to go for it on fourth-and-11 with the Jaguars in a single-high safety formation. The Steelers were able to exploit that particular defense, and Martavis Bryant streaked past the safety for a 43-yard touchdown reception.

The Steelers took another gamble with 9:14 in the fourth quarter, trailing 35-21. Roethlisberger found Antonio Brown in one-on-one coverage with Jaguars cornerback A.J. Bouye, with Brown hauling in the pass for a 43-yard score.

With 4 seconds left in the game, Roethlisberger hit Smith-Schuster for a 4-yard touchdown, but the Steelers were out of time for a comeback at that point.

The Steelers also converted a fourth-and-10 with 1:27 left in the game, trailing by 10 points.