So much for all of that good feeling.
The Jets opened up the game on fire; quarterback Mark Sanchez completed four of his five passes for 80 yards, culminating in a touchdown to Santonio Holmes on a 14-yard slant; then, the Jets offense went on vacation.
The Jets offense stank it up. Mark Sanchez, pathetic; the play-calling by Tony Sparano, dreadful; the Jets receivers, hideous. The last time the Jets scored in this game, both tight end Jeff Cumberland and receiver Stephen Hill killed this offense by dropping catchable footballs which forced the Jets to settle for a Nick Folk field goal.
Sanchez, who had a much ballyhooed opener against the Bills, was bad. He reverted to some of his old tricks, under-throwing and over-throwing receivers, holding onto the ball way too long, and taking costly sacks. He was b-a-d. You can't kill the offensive line on this one because the time was there to throw, but Sanchez couldn't find his receivers, and his receivers never got open. When they did get open, (Holmes, this means you), they dropped the football!
Meanwhile, on the other side of the ball, the Jets clearly missed Darrelle Revis, as Ben Roethlisberger picked apart the Jets secondary for 275 yards and two touchdowns. Revis' absence became painfully obvious as Antonio Brown and Mike Wallace found themselves open in single coverage on several plays, all afternoon.
The straw that broke the camel's back happened in the third quarter when Roethlisberger withstood a Jets blitz and fired a Hail Mary air toward the end zone; Wallace come down with it in single coverage against Antonio Cromartie, who was nowhere near Wallace. 20-10, Steelers.
Cromartie and Ellis Lankster had given so much space to the Steelers wide receivers that any one of them could have walke, and still made big plays for Pittsburgh.
Finally, about adversity: Both teams came into this game missing some of their key pieces, but it was the Steelers who relied on the arm of Roethlisberger to carry them to victory. His effort Sunday against the Jets is the main reason the Steelers are 1-1 and not 0-2. Hence, the importance of having a franchise quarterback.
The Jets will try to say that missing Revis and tight end Dustin Keller, was the main reason they lost this game; the fact is the Jets were down 20-10 for much of the second half. To any other game and any other team, a 10-point deficit is nothing, especially in today's NFL, but with Sanchez in the saddle, the game felt lost from the get-go. This was a great chance with many of the Jets troops missing for Sanchez and the Jets receiving corps to take another step in their development, but, instead, they came up small.
In the NFL, teams have to find a way to win games without some of their better players; the Jets don't have the leadership to even make that possible. The rest is just excuse-making.