Steelers vs Jets Second Half Notes And Observations

Below are my notes and observations from the first half of the Pittsburgh Steelers in their 20-13 loss to the New York Jets.

  • The Steelers managed to end the half recovering from a lost fumble after the Jets missed a field goal and the offense was able to drive the length of the field in less than a minute to come away with points heading into halftime. That momentum would not carry into the second half, despite starting with the ball.
  • On first down, Ben Roethlisberger and Martavis Bryant connected for nine yards. Darrius Heyward-Bey dropped a pass on second and one, and LeGarrette Blount was nearly stopped short on third and one.
  • The offense converted two more first downs after that, but then Roethlisberger made a really poor throw down the middle to Markus Wheaton that was not only overthrown, but ill-advised, trying to fit it in between four Jets. Jaiquawn Jarrett was naturally the one to intercept the pass.
  • Looking at the play in the All-22 view, it’s clear that Roethlisberger had Wheaton wide open early on the play, but he told his receiver to fade down the field instead of taking the obvious completion. That allowed Jarrett the time to break on the ball and take advantage of the overthrow.
  • It’s worth keeping in mind, of course, that Roethlisberger is the least of the team’s offensive concerns. And for that matter, the Jets did very little on offense in the second half either.
  • On first down for the Jets, James Harrison easily beat the tight end to make a leg tackle on Chris Ivory at the line of scrimmage.
  • The Jets gained nine yards to Eric Decker on second down, but after a false start, Antwon Blake made a textbook tackle on the much larger receiver for no gain.
  • The Steelers, unfortunately, responded with a quick three and out on three incompletions, including two deep balls to Bryant. The first pass hung up short, and the rookie wasn’t in position to come back to it. On third down, Roethlisberger had to try to beat the blitz and was forced to launch the ball partially off his back foot to where he thought Bryant might be, but he couldn’t get it there.
  • The Jets came back, starting with good field position, setting themselves up with a first down on the 12 before the defense was finally able to tighten up. On third down, William Gay probably should have had an interception. The ensuing field goal made it a three-possession game with almost 20 minutes to play.
  • After a false start pushed them back to the 15, Roethlisberger tried again for his big target down the field, this time finding him for 45 yards as Bryant was able to come back to the ball.
  • Kelvin Beachum was beaten one on one for a sack on the next play, but Roethlisberger and Heath Miller connected for 16 yards, and Le’Veon Bell gained five on third and one.
  • The Steelers had a third and one at the four-yard line, but the Jets defense closed on Bell for a loss. Many argued the Steelers should have gone for it, and that was before Shaun Suisham proceeded to shank a glorified extra point.
  • The defense quickly got the ball back, with Jason Worilds throwing Michael Vick back for a loss of six on the sack on third down, but it took the Steelers six minutes to muster just a field goal in response.
  • Roethlisberger turned to Antonio Brown repeatedly on the drive, making three big plays and setting them up with first and goal on the one. He broke a tackle and nearly got into the end zone on his own on that play.
  • On first and goal, Roethlisberger targeted…um…James Harrison in the end zone, who drew a pass interference call, which made it first and goal from the half-yard mark.
  • Harrison stayed in as a fullback on the next play, but Blount didn’t even follow his block, and he lost half a yard. On the next play, he was tackled for and eight-yard loss. Roethlisberger’s third-down pass was deflected at close range.
  • Heyward-Bey recovered the ensuing onside kick after a field goal, but he was flagged for being offside.
  • The Jets were able to hold on to the ball and bleed about three minutes off the clock while holding a two-touchdown lead, with the Steelers getting the ball back with four minutes left in the game.
  • After back to back 12-yard gains to Wheaton, Roethlisberger let the snap bounced off his hands on third and five, which he recovered for a 16-yard loss. Jarrett came in late on a delayed blitz to force the ball away for a turnover on downs.
  • The Steelers did force a three and out, but there was less than 90 seconds remaining at that point. Still, Roethlisberger connected with Bryant for an 80-yard touchdown to give them the slimmest of chances to come back.
  • But Suisham’s second onside try was quite poor, traveling 13 yards right into Decker’s hands, sealing the 20-13 loss.
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