The last sighting of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ love-them-or-hate-them bumble outfits came against the New York Jets, and boy, was it a game. The Steelers once again deployed their now-polished high powered offense, and the defense did what they needed to do to walk away with a 31-13 victory.
The Jets received the ball first, as the began down the field. Ryan Fitzpatrick strung together a few passes, targeting Brandon Marshall on the regular. Ultimately, Ross Cockrell would blanket Marshall on a decisive 3rd down play, thus continuing the reputation of this redzone defense. Nick Folk would hit a 35-yard field goal; the Jets jumped to an early 3-0 lead.
Now, if you read our defensive scouting report, you’d know that the Jets’ defense allowed a plethora of 40+ yard splash plays; it only took Ben Roethlisberger and Sammie Coates three plays to connect deep for a 72 yard touchdown pass, making the game 7-3 for the good guys. It would be an up-and-down, feast-or-famine type day for the young receiver.
After both teams traded punts, it would be Anthony Chickillo who would register the first sack of the day for both sides, as his 7-yard strip sack (which would be retained by the Jets) assisted the stalled drive once more; Nick Folk would once again hit a 48-yard field goal, closing the gap to 7-6.
Returning to the impact of Coates, we would now see some of the ugly parts of his game- he dropped a sure 1st down, as Chris Boswell would come out for an attempted 46-yard field goal. Unfortunately, it would be an unsuccessful fake as Jordan Berry wouldn’t be able to bring the ball across the 1st down marker. The Steelers walked away with no points after putting together a 9 play, 46-yard drive that lasted over 5 minutes.
The Jets would take the gift, and charged down the field with a 7 play, 69-yard drive- the bend-but-don’t-break defense finally gave way, as Brandon Marshall would find the endzone after a tipped ball by Cockrell that truly should have been intercepted. That 15-yard touchdown made the game 13-7, as the Jets jumped out to the lead.
The Steelers ended the half by deploying their 2-minute offense a behind bunch of Le’Veon Bell short passes. After getting to the Jets’ redzone, Coates’ inconsistencies would once again rear their ugly head, as he dropped a wide-open 2 yard touchdown pass. Fortunately, Ben would find Jesse James for the touchdown reception to compensate 1 play later, as the Steelers would regain the lead to 14-13.
The first half saw the offense pool 226 total yards of offense, while allowing 216. They also had 14 first downs to go with those yards, with a 3-5 (60%) 3rd down conversion rate.
The second half began slowly, as the Jets’ offense wasn’t experiencing the same butter-like defensive texture they were seeing in the first. After a few punts, an Antonio Brown 53-yard punt return brought the ball into Jets’ redzone, and would have found its way into the endzone without a Calvin Pryor tackle. Unfortunately, the offense would have to settle for a 47-yard field goal after stuttering, going up 17-13.
The fourth quarter started with a bang, as Ben found Antonio Brown over the middle for a 5-yard touchdown catch after putting together a meticulous 9 play, 76 yard drive. Ben went 6/6 in the air; the lead grew to 24-13.
After 9 straight completions, the defensive line of the Jets finally showed its teeth as Leonard Williams beat Alejandro Villanueva for a strip sack into the arms of Sheldon Richardson. That possession would go nowhere for the Jets, as it would be the Steelers who would punch the ball into the endzone once more.
Sammie Coates would catch Ben’s 4th touchdown pass to the tune of 5 yards, capping a 12-play drive that went for over 5 minutes. The offense ended the game with a total of 30 first downs, and 436 yards of total offense. Conversely, the defense only allowed 100 second-half yards of total offense (316-yards on the game).
The final score was 31-13, as the Steelers offense put on yet another great display. The defense had its ups and downs, but made the necessary halftime adjustments to shut down Marshall and co., even forcing a few sacks. All in all, it was a thorough beat-down, as the team is in top-gear heading into next week against the Miami Dolphins.