The New York Jets were clearly hurt by the loss of Darrelle Revis Sunday at Heinz Field as they simply didn’t have the personnel to cover Mike Wallace, Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders, Heath Miller and former Jet Jerricho Cotchery, playing for the first time against his old team.
The biggest thorn in the side of Gang Green, however, was just too much Ben Roethlisberger. Sunday’s contest was a classic Big Ben game as no matter how overmatched his linemen would be, no matter what kind of pressure the Jets would throw the Pittsburgh Steelers’ quarterback’s way, Roethlisberger always seemed to buy the right amount of time to make the right throw to the right receiver. Perhaps the most promising revelation for Pittsburgh’s offense–or most dooming, for New York, who had just given up 169 yards rushing to the Buffalo Bills’ C.J. Spiller the week before–was their ability to keep the running game afloat with Jonathan Dwyer and Isaac Redman in the backfield while Rashard Mendenhall still recovers from injury.
As impressively as the Steelers’ offense performed is as disappointing as the Jets’ offense was, given their point explosion the previous week against the Bills.While the offensive line played fairly well, particularly right tackle Austin Howard against Steelers outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley, it was really the skill position players who underperformed for the Jets. Mark Sanchez, after a crisp first quarter that included a touchdown pass to Santonio Holmes, seemed uncomfortable in the pocket and out of sync with his receivers for much of the day, making far too many poor decisions and inaccurate throws to give his team a good chance to win.
Of the good throws Sanchez did make, several were dropped and Jet receivers even seemed intimidated by the Steelers’ imposing back eight. Shonn Greene once again proved that he’s not one of the better running backs in the NFL, too often going down on first contact and missing holes, while his line gave him at least a chance to be solidly productive. A positive sign for New York’s backfield was the running of second-year back Bilal Powell, who churned out 33 yards on nine carries.
A lackluster offense and too many big plays surrendered on defense was recipe for disaster for head coach Rex Ryan’s squad, who will need to play much better next week to beat the Miami Dolphins, who just recorded their first victory of the 2012 season.