Written by: Manny Barrios of Trash Talk Sports
Debacle. Say it with the thickest New York accent you can Imagine, duh-baah-kle. That is the word that best describes the lackadaisical, pass dropping, poor tackling performance the Jets (1-1) managed to put together in the Steel City as they dropped to 1-1 on the year in a 27-10 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers (1-1).
After the Steelers began the game with a 45-yard-field goal on their opening possession to take a 3-0 lead, the Jets offense took to Heinz Field on their own 10. It seemed as though Mark Sanchez and the Jets were going to pick up where they left off in week one; Strong defense. Explosive offense. Sanchez was accurate and steady in engineering a drive that featured a well balanced mix of run and pass. He connected with Jeremy Kerley on a 46 yd reception up the left seam that set the Jets up just outside the red zone and capped it off with a 14 yd strike to Santonio Holmes, giving the Jets a 7-3 lead in the 1st qtr.
The defense stayed firm on Pittsburgh’s next possession, holding them to three points, cutting the lead 7-6 in favor of the Jets. Sanchez and the offense responded by getting into field goal position, producing three points of their own. It was the first time they had scored on their first two possessions of a game since their final game of 2009 season; it would also be the last time they scored on this day. Pittsburgh’s offensive unit broke through late in the 2 qtr capitalizing on a soft, but stupid 15 yd penalty courtesy of Laron Landry to put the Steelers on the Jets 13. They would work their way to the one, and on 1st and goal off of the play action, Roethlisberger found Heath Miller by the back pylon. This was a drive that was extended by poor tackling and Big Ben’s ability to shed defenders when outside the pocket, as he escaped the grasp of Landry even though he had him dead to rights. Going into the half it was Pittsburgh 13 and the Jets 10.
It would be Jets ball to start the 3rd, and to open things up, the Jets were able to move the ball for a couple of first downs, but were not effective, forcing them to punt the ball. This handed the Steelers excellent field position on the Jets 41. This drive would end in a touchdown and would also include another personal foul on Landry for a horse collar, and a missed tackle by David Harris, who also had Roethlisberger in his grasp but failed to bring him down. Then there’s the mental lapse on the part of Antonio Cromartie, who allowed Mike Wallace to get position on him in what was a Hail-Mary-like heave right in front of the end zone, making it 20-10 with 8:44 to go in the 3rd.
It was this was the turning point of the game.
On the Jets ensuing possession, the Steelers defense were given their first dose of Tim Tebow, who delivered a 22 yd run to start the drive. On the following play, the Wild Cat would also produce a 12 yd run from Joe Mcknight. Third time wasn’t a charm, as they lined up and lost 6 yds on a toss to Shaun Greene, and the drive stalled from there. Following a stop by the Jet D, Pittsburgh punted the ball away only to get it back after it was muffed by Jeremy Kerley. The turnover could not have come at a worse time, as the clock was becoming a factor. The Jets needed every possession if they were to cut into the lead. The Steelers did not capitalize on the special team’s miscue, but were able to pin the Jets back on their own 6. They were able to move the chains, but did go three and out on the fresh set of downs.
It was Jet ball to start the 4th qtr, a possession that would see perhaps one of the worst Pass Interference calls in the history of the game. Ike Taylor being the latest victim of the inexperienced replacement referees. Yardage from the phantom call would produce the only first down on that possession. The Jets punted the ball for the Steelers who would go on a 10 minute 13 second drive ending in a flurry of missed tackles that allowed Redman into the end zone ,making it 27-10 and putting the game out of reach. It would eventually hold up to be the final score 27-10.
In what is a very young season, the loss was more disappointing than disheartening or discouraging. It was frustrating to see how many second chances we afforded Roethlisberger, as there were four separate occasions where we seemed to have him wrapped up for a loss, and Big Ben would do what he does best, shed the tackle and find the open man.
We were far from being fundamentally sound as well. Dropped passes by Santonio Holmes and Stephen Hill, Reuland not recognizing the blitz was and failed to turn around at all for the quick pass, Kerley muffing the punt, defense allowing The big 3rd down plays for first downs, and the offense not making the big play on 3rd down. Let’s not forget Mark Sanchez passing 10-27 for 138 yds and a TD. He was four for five on the opening drive, and only completed six passes after that. He actually did not complete a pass to a wide receiver again, until there was just 21 seconds left in the game!
As I said…Debacle. Only word to describe it.
Something to note, Darrelle Revis did not play, had he done so, either Antonio Brown 7-79 or Mike Wallace 5-74 would have been irrelevant. His presence most certainly would have changed the complexion of the game. Shaun green missing a good portion of the game due to a head injury didn’t help us either. It felt as if he was just getting it going.
On a positive note, the jets offensive line seemed solid once again. It is safe to say at this point Austin Howard will anchor down and remain the starting RT for the remainder of the season. The Jets now head to Miami for a divisional matchup against the Dolphins, who are coming off of a road win against the Cleveland Browns. If the Jets are who they say they are, there should be no problems and a nice bounce back should be in line. If they are who the rest of the league and media say they are…………….