Many media types felt that when the NY Jets entered Heinz Field to face the Pittsburgh Steelers, it would truly be a mismatch on paper, because the Steelers were 3-1 with the high-flying offense and the Jets wee 1-3, with their struggling offense. They felt that the Steelers would destroy the Jets and that there’s a reason why the Jets have only beat the Steelers once in Pittsburgh.
Every once in a while, the media gets it right.
Not only were the Jets a mismatch on paper vs. the Steelers, but they weren’t on the field either as the Steelers defeated them 31-13 to improve to 4-1 on the season. The Steelers are now all alone in first place in the AFC North Division and with the offense leading the way, they’re looking pretty unstoppable.
QB Ben Roethlisberger passed for 380 yards and 4 TDs-giving him 9 in 2 weeks. Several of his receivers benefited from his passes, but none more than 2nd-year WR Sammie Coates, who not only caught their first TD, but he would score their last TD and finish with 6 receptions for 139 yards. He would’ve caught a 3rd TD if he didn’t drop it while falling in the end zone, but a great game by the young man, nonetheless. Fellow WR Antonio Brown caught 9 passes for 78 yards and a TD, RB Le’Veon Bell caught 9 passes for 88 yards and TE Jesse James caught 6 passes for 43 yards and a TD. Not a bad day at the office for those pass-catchers.
After the Jets opened the game with a 35-yard FG by K Nick Folk, Big Ben went to work as he threw a bomb to Coates who ran it in for a 72-yard TD, giving the Steelers a 7-3 lead. Coates is looking like a true deep-threat as he continues to fill in for the suspended Martavis Bryant. Folk would close the Steelers lead to 7-6 with his 2nd field goal, and the Steelers offense would then fall asleep as they were unable to convert on their next few drives as they entered the second quarter.
The Steelers did get a drive going in the middle of the 2nd, but were unable to convert, and when K Chris Boswell lined up for a FG, HC Mike Tomlin called for a fake in which Boswell tried to run for 3 yards but only got 2, turning the ball over on downs. The Jets then took over and QB Ryan Kirkpatrick had his only successful drive of the game when he led the Jets on a 7 play-69-yard drive that ended when Fitzpatrick found WR Brandon Marshall for a 15-yard TD, giving the Jets their only lead of the game at 13-7. Hard to believe that this was the last points that the Jets would put on the field.
This must have woken up the Steelers offense, because they caught fire beginning with their next drive as Roethlisberger would once again orchestrate a drive that ended with a TD, this time to James, caught it from 1-yard out, giving lead back to the Steelers at 14-13 before halftime.
Believe it or not, there was only one score in the 3rd quarter as Boswell kicked a 47-yard FG to extend the Steelers lead to 17-13. And when Kirkpatrick and the Jets couldn’t convert to begin the 4th quarter, the Steelers were able to as Roethlisberger got them down the field yet again and found Brown for 5-yard TD, extending the Steelers lead to 24-13. And then late in the 4th quarter, the Steelers would deliver the knockout punch when Roethlisberger once again found Coates for a 5-yard TD giving the Steelers a 31-13 lead, which was the final score.
The Steelers defense suffered yet another blow when DE Cam Heyward left the game with a hamstring injury, but it didn’t affect that unit as they didn’t give up a point the entire second half, they also gave up a total of 80 yard in the half, and gave up only one TD the entire game. Impressive.
Meanwhile the Jets (1-4) will now have to do some soul-searching as they’re not looking like the team who the Steelers had to fight for the final AFC spot in 2015. No, it didn’t help that Pro-Bowl CB Darrelle Revis was out due to injury, but this team is truly struggling right now.
Kirkpatrick passed for 255 yards and a TD, RB Matt Forte ran for 53 yards and Marshall caught 8 passes for 114 yards and the TD. Bell led the Steelers RBs with 66 yards, but it was obviously that the running game wasn’t needed as much in this game.
Ray’s Take: I love it when a team takes advantage of scoring opportunities. No, it wasn’t like last week when they put of 43 points against KC, but let’s not be greedy, it would only 12 less points. I like how the Steelers offense got themselves together after losing their lead, and if teams want to continue to leave TE Jesse James wide-open in the end zone, he might challenge the NFL receiving TD record when it’s all done. As for my dude, WR Sammie Coates, he continues to get it done. Yes, he dropped a few-including that one that would’ve been a 3rd TD, but he made up for it in the 4th quarter. Big Ben is looking like a serious NFL MVP candidate, if you ask me. You want to complain about the Steelers D? Do me a favor: Check their stats, look at how they kept the Jets off the board the entire second half-and get back to me.
Injuries: In addition to Heyward’s injury, S Shamarko Thomas (groin), LB Jarvis Jones (wrist), and Coates (cut on hand) were also injured. Jones and Coates remained in the game.
The Steelers will now travel to Miami to face the Dolphins (1-4) who fell 30-17 to the Tennessee Titans (2-3) on Sunday.
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