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Todd Haley says prior loss to Jaguars was a ‘watershed moment’ for Steelers

Todd Haley, Steelers

The Pittsburgh Steelers will head into Sunday’s divisional playoff matchup against the Jacksonville Jaguars with plenty of personal motivation.

Back in Week 5 of the regular season, the Jaguars topped the Steelers at Heinz Field in a convincing 30-9 win. With that in mind, offensive coordinator Todd Haley voiced on Friday that he believes it was a “watershed moment” for the team that changed the direction of the season, according to Katherine Terrell of ESPN.

“That game for our entire group was a watershed moment. A lot of outside factors that could have been divisive for our group,” Haley said. “Take my hat off for my guys. They stuck together. Bad football, probably not as bad as it appeared. How we responded to it was very critical. Our guys handled adversity well and moved forward.”

From that point on the Steelers responded by winning 10 out of their last 11 games including eight straight with the lone loss being against the New England Patriots in Week 15 in a controversial finish. Pittsburgh possesses one of the league’s most balanced teams on both sides of the ball.

What should also be noted is that in the loss to the Jaguars, Ben Roethlisberger threw a career-high five interceptions with a pair of them returned for touchdowns and were able to remain in the game. It speaks to how close that contest would have been without those two key plays.

There will also be an entirely different atmosphere on Sunday this time around at Heinz Field. The Steelers will be at full strength with star wide receiver Antonio Brown available to play while running back Le’Veon Bell figures to have a huge dosage in the running game after receiving just 15 carries in the team’s last meeting.

This matchup could ultimately become determined once again between the Steelers’ explosive offense against the Jaguars’ stout defense. Nonetheless, it should all make for another enticing playoff game.