Sunday, October 13, 2013

Steelers Wake Up, Slap Jets Back to Reality

STEELERS 19 
JETS 6 

So after a huge victory on Monday night that left Jets fans delirious over the prospects of their football team, New York came crashing back to earth after the Pittsburgh Steelers smacked the Jets in the mouth in a 19-6 defensive slugfest.

If nothing else, the Jets loss to Pittsburgh proved one thing: this is a team that is still too young, too raw, and, still not ready to handle prosperity.

Some called this game against the 0-4 Steelers a "trap game." Not the case; not against the PITTSBURGH STEELERS, a franchise that defines success in every syllable of their name.

Sure the Steelers were winless, but this is still a team filled with champions from the quarterback to the coaching staff, and the defensive secondary. There are too many guys who have been there and done that, something that the Jets have not done.

The Steelers dominated this game. They held the ball for almost 36 minutes, and Ben Roethlisberger withstood the Jets front seven pressure to pick apart New York's spotty secondary. If there was a day that the Jets missed Darrell Revis, this was the day.

Roethlisberger was 23-of-30 for 264 yards and converted all six of the Steelers third downs through the air.

With the Jets holding an early 3-0 lead, Big Ben completed a huge 16-yard pass to Antonio Brown and a 31-yard completion to Heath Miller to set the Steelers up in Jets territory, before settling for a field goal to tie it at three.

Big completions for Big Ben would be the story of the day. He hit Brown on four consecutive passes late in the second quarter to set up another Steelers field goal to make it 9-3.

Give the Jets defense credit. They kept the Steelers out of the endzone for much of the day. The only mistake the unit made was the 55-yard touchdown grab made by Emanuel Sanders, who blew past Antonio Cromartie en route to the end zone to make it 16-6.

The Jets had their chances to turn this thing around, but couldn't do it.  First, Geno Smith hit a wide open Stephen Hill on a pump fake for 20-yards to the Steelers 21, but safety Troy Polamalu made a great play, banging Hill out of bounds at the 20 to force the Jets to kick a field goal to make it 9-6. If Polamalu were not in the area, Hill would have easily scored to give the Jets the lead.

In the third quarter, with New York poised to score a touchdown, Smith made a boneheaded decision by throwing the football into triple coverage on third and three at the Steelers 27 only to have it picked off by Ryan Clark. That was really the turning point right there. If the Jets score, the game is 16-13. Instead Pittsburgh held onto their 16-6 lead.

While Smith threw two picks, he wasn't awful. His biggest issues was the fact he couldn't handle Pittsburgh's vaunted blitzes and pressures, something that most rookie quarterbacks struggle to handle regardless. Not to mention, it seemed like New York never had the football in this ballgame.

At 3-3, the Jets are now facing the disaster scenario once again. Going back to their 38-13 loss to Tennessee, New York is in the middle of the toughest part of their schedule, a stretch that they are currently 1-2 in. With New England, Cincinnati and New Orleans coming up, things could get very ugly for the Jets ... fast.

Reports Sunday morning were that Rex Ryan and GM John Idzik were "getting along." If the Jets should drop the next three games and fall to 3-6, bet on the dollar that tensions "will rise" once again.

To quote former NFL coach Dennis Green, "They are who we thought they were." That is exactly how one would describe both the Jets and Steelers after this game today.

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