The Pittsburgh Steelers are riding a season-best three-game winning streak on the back of Ben Roethlisberger‘s stellar streak, having thrown 14 touchdown passes in the last three games. The team takes on the 1-8 New York Jets with a depleted secondary, and is very much expecting to grab sole possession of first place in the AFC North a few hours from now.
The Jets began with the ball, carried out to the 23-yard line. Percy Harvin got the carry on first down, gaining 12 yards out to the 35. On the following play, Chris Johnson picked up a second first down on a screen pass. Chris Ivory was good for six yards, and Harvin converted. Ivory picked up another chunk of eight on the following play to encroach upon field goal position.
From the 30, on second and two, Ivory picked up three yards to move the chains. William Gay missed a tackle in the backfield, leading to an eight-yard pickup. A false start, however, made it first and 15 from the 24. On third and three, Vick escaped pressure on third down to the 16. Ivory gashed the Steelers nickel defense for 12 yards to set up first and goal at the four. Will Allen stuck him at the line on first down. Vick avoided two tacklers on second down to just get back to the line of scrimmage. On third and goal, Vick couldn’t find Jeremy Kerley at the back of the end zone, and the Jets had to settle for a field goal.
Le’Veon Bell got the call on the first play for the Steelers, picking up three yards. He picked up another four on second down to set up third and three. Roethlisberger found Antonio Brown for 10 yards on his first throw to move the chains, which put Brown over 1000 yards for the season. The Jets checked Will Johnson in the backfield on a screen, but Roethlisberger threw to him anyway, and the play resulted in a five-yard loss. On second and 15, Bell could not hold on to his quarterback’s pass over the middle. Now third and 15, following a timeout, Roethlisberger was taken down on a coverage sack with nothing open down the field.
On the first play after the Steelers’ punt, the Jets ran play action and found T.J. Graham on a go route past Gay for the 67-yard score, leaving the Steelers trailing 10-0 in the first quarter. Brown fumbled on a screen pass on the first play of the Steelers’ ensuing drive, his first fumble of the year on 73 receptions, and the Jets recovered.
Taking over on the 20, Vick was brought down behind the line of scrimmage for a loss. He made tacklers miss on the next play, however for 18 yards to set up first and goal. Harvin could only get to the two running to his left. On second down, Ivory was stuffed in the backfield for a loss of three. On third and goal from the five, following a timeout by the Jets offense, Vick, with time to throw, found tight end Jace Amaro in the back of the end zone to go up 17-0.
Markus Wheaton returned the kickoff to the 30-yard line. Bell picked up a few yards to close out a disastrous first quarter for the Steelers. On the first play of the second quarter, Bell followed a Maurkice Pouncey block for a 10-yard gain through the air. Dri Archer was smothered on a screen pass for a loss of one on the following play. Bell picked up six yards to set up third and five, The Steelers were flagged for a delay of game, but Jason Babin hit Roethlisberger and brought him to the ground even though the play was obviously dead.
After the third down lifeline, Roethlisberger managed to flick the ball to Bell as he was going down for five yards. LeGarrette Blount picked up the first down on two carries down to the 25. Bell was tackled for a loss on a screen pass on the following play. He got that back and more with eight yards to set up third and three on the ground. Brown got the first down, tackled as he made the catch.
Bell picked up two yards to the 10 on first down, but Roethlisberger was picked off on second down off a deflected pass intended for Martavis Bryant, his first interception in several games.
Taking over at the 11, Johnson picked up four yards up the right side on first down. Sean Spence made the tackle on second down for a third and short. Harvin moved the chain on an end around. After five more yards on first down, Vick was forced to throw the ball away, but he found Harvin for seven on third down.
Harvin added another three yards on first down on the ground. Vick and Amaro hooked up on a catch and run of 21 yards, but the Jets’ other tight end was flagged for offensive pass interference. On second and 17 now, Johnson barely got back to the line of scrimmage. On third and long, Vick scrambled, but on for seven yards, and the Jets had to punt for the first time. Mike Tomlin challenged that Vick fumbled the ball, but ruling on the field stood. Brown, hoping to spark some life into the Steelers, tried to run up on the punt and let the ball go off his hands. The Jets recovered at the Steelers’ 28.
The defense did close on Vick on third and long, forcing the Jets to settle for a field goal attempt, which was wide. Hoping for points before halftime, Bell was stopped for no gain on first down. Roethlisberger and Brown hooked up to midfield, and the Steelers clocked it. He avoided pressure and found Lance Moore for 15 yards, who fell before being able to get out of bounds. Roethlisberger clocked it again for a long field goal attempt. Shaun Suisham‘s 53-yard attempt was good, setting a new career-long to give the Steelers a heartbeat heading into the locker room.