That was the message the Steelers sent Sunday with their 27-3 win at Jacksonville.
With the Steelers’ Thanksgiving-night showdown against the Ravens looming in four days, this visit to the one-win Jaguars sure had all the fixins’ of a trap game.
But instead of their annual (and sometimes semiannual) slip-up against a lowly opponent, the Steelers became just the 17th team in the Super Bowl era to start a season 10-0.
There was no need for the 1972 Dolphins to chill any champagne on Sunday, not with the Steelers turning in their biggest margin of victory on the road since they beat the Texans 34-6 on Christmas Day in 2017.
This was the Steelers’ fourth straight win at Jacksonville, but none of the three previous ones came by more than one score and those were against Jaguars teams that were 5-11 (2008), 3-13 (2014) and 5-11 (2018).
No one expected this to be an easy win, and had it been common knowledge that Mike Glennon was a Jaguar, there probably wouldn’t have been any aspirin left on shelves in Western Pennsylvania this weekend.
Sean Gentille of The Athletic recently called Glennon “the patron QB saint of bad Steelers losses.” Glennon has just six career wins. One of them came at Heinz Field as a member of the 2-14 Buccaneers in 2014 and another came in Chicago as signal caller of the 5-11 Bears against the Steelers in 2017.
Glennon couldn’t hurt the Steelers Sunday, however. He couldn’t even beat out Jake Luton. Making his third career start, the rookie was intercepted four times (twice each by Terrell Edmunds and Minkah Fitzpatrick) and sacked twice. He completed just 16 of his 37 passes for 151 yards.
Not only did the Steelers avoid looking ahead to the Ravens, they also earned the luxury of pulling their starters with six minutes left and getting a little extra rest for that game.
After the Jaguars (1-9) jumped out to a 3-0 lead, the Steelers shut them out for the final 55 minutes. Not since a 37-3 win at Carolina in 2006 have the Steelers allowed three points or less on the road. Bud Dupree and Stephon Tuitt both sacked Luton Sunday. Fitzpatrick and Edmunds, who both were drafted in the first round in 2018 (Fitzpatrick by the Dolphins), became the first Steelers to have two interceptions in the same game since Alvoid Mays and Willie Williams in 1995.
The Steelers’ offensive line also made a little history by protecting Ben Roethlisberger from any sacks for the third straight game. It’s the first time in Roethlisberger’s career that he hasn’t been sacked in three straight games. He threw for 267 yards with two touchdowns and an interception.
Chase Claypool and Eric Ebron had the touchdowns, and Diontae Johnson caught a career-high 12 passes for 111 yards. James Conner quieted the moaning and groaning about the Steelers’ running game with 89 yards on 13 carries (6.8 yards per carry) and Benny Snell added a rushing touchdown.
Could this Steelers team, which is 10-0 for the first time in the 87-year history of the franchise, be immune to trap games? There aren’t many such games remaining on their schedule. The Washington Football Team (3-7) visits Heinz Field in Week 13. The Bengals (2-7-1), who have lost Joe Burrow, host the Steelers in Week 15.
The Steelers go to Cleveland in Week 17, but the Browns are no pushovers at 7-3 and the Steelers might be resting their starters by then.
It would be nice to finally get through a season without losing to an underdog opponent, but at some point we’re going to have to get over this upset angst. Even the 1979 Steelers, who won the Super Bowl, lost on the road to an 0-6 Bengals team.
Teams like the Jaguars won’t be around in January. The Steelers will need to beat teams much better than that to win their seventh Super Bowl.
And this year they’ve shown that they’re capable of beating anyone.
Follow Mike @Steel_Tweets.