The Pittsburgh Steelers are looking to keep up the momentum from a blowout victory a week ago, this time against a turnover-prone Jets team that has struggled to get into the win column. But they will be doing so short-handed, with several starters across both sides of the ball sidelined with a variety of injuries.
The injuries are fairly well-known by now, among them Ryan Shazier, Marcus Gilbert, Eli Rogers, and Robert Golden. In fact, the Steelers had so many injuries that they wound up placing a couple of players on injured reserve yesterday.
For the Jets, the inactives include cornerback Darrelle Revis and wide receiver Eric Decker, though Quincy Enunwa is active and expected to contribute in some capacity.
The Steelers deferred, with the Jets starting on offense from the 25. Enunwa started things off with a 13-yard catch and run. Brandon Marshall caught the second ball of the game in front of Ross Cockrell for 10 yards. Matt Forte added eight on the ground as the Jets crossed midfield. Cockrell was flagged for pass interference. Following an incomplete pass on a screen attempt, Ryan Fitzpatrick slid for about nine yards. On third and one, Cockrell deflected the pass intended for Marshall. The Jets got on the board first with a field goal, however.
A short pass for three yards to Jesse James opened the Steelers’ first drive. DeAngelo Williams got the first carry for no gain on second down. Reminiscent of Martavis Bryant, Sammie Coates streaked beyond the coverage for a 72-yard touchdown pass to jump out to a 7-3 lead.
Fitzpatrick connected with his tight end for nine yards on first down. From the 39, Forte squeezed through the middle for four yards. He was stopped for no gain on the following play. Sean Davis made the tackle on Bilal Powell after two yards on second down, but Fitzpatrick found Marshall for 18 yards.
From the Steelerss’ 43, a deep ball fell incomplete. Forte was dropped after a yard out of a two-back set on second down. Marshall dropped what should have been a third-down conversion, forcing the Jets to punt. The gunner was in the end zone on the punt, so it was a touchback.
James dropped the pass underneath on first down from the 20. Roethlisberger found Antonio Brown out of the slot for 11 yards on second down. From the 31, Le’Veon Bell got his first carry of the game for a six-yard gain. He was spun down after a three-yard gain. On third and one, Bell punched through a crease for about 10 yards to midfield.
Brown was lucky just to get back to the line of scrimmage on a screen pass from midfield after the Jets rallied to the ball. A hold brought the ball back to the Steelers’ 40. Bell picked up five yards on a screen pass, setting up third and 15, and probably lost a yard on a draw run. Jordan Berry‘s punt was fair caught at the 11.
Marshall was the recipient of a nine-yard reception on first down, but Vince Williams stopped Forte on second and one. Forte was able to get out to the edge on the third-and-one play, however, for nearly 30 yards to the 48.
After a six yarder on first down, Fitzpatrick found his tight end for a first down. From the 38, Anthony Chickillo notched the first sack of his career, knocking the ball loose, but Fitzpatrick recovered for a seven-yard loss. A screen pass picked up eight yards. On third and nine, Artie Burns made the tackle to keep the Jets behind the chains. Nick Folk was good from 48 yards out to make it a 7-6 game.
Coates returned the ensuing kickoff to the 21. Bell lowered the boom on a cornerback on a screen to the left for a 12-yard gain. Roethlisberger threw a dangerous floating screen pass for an incompletion on the following play. But he found Bell again for 11 yards to move the chains again. From the 41, he was lucky to gain one yard on the ground. An illegal use of hands penalty on the Jets moved the chains for the third time of the drive.
Another pass into the flat for Bell picked up four yards. He found a crease on the ground for nine yards. A deep shot to Markus Wheaton fell incomplete following some window dressing. In the meantime, Cameron Heyward left the game with a hamstring injury and his return was deemed questionable.
On second and 10, an inside screen to James picked up eight yards. On third and short, Roethlisberger couldn’t connect with Coates, who made a nice adjustment to get to the ball, but let it go through his arms. The Steelers ran a fake field goal, with Berry taking off and running, but he was unable to get to the first-down marker.
Taking over at the 31, the Jets used a screen to fend off a Steelers rush and pick up 13 yards. Powell was good for five yards on a pistol draw. Enunwa picked up 18 yards over the middle into Steelers territory. Javon Hargrave made the stop in at nose tackle on first down for no gain. Marshall got Cockrell turned around for 16 yards as the Jets reached the 20-yard line.
Forte was stopped after one yard. From the 15, Marshall reached over Cockrell in the end zone for the touchdown to take a 13-7 lead.
With 2:06 remaining and three timeouts, the Steelers look to get on the board before the half. On first down from the 25, Bell took a screen for nine yards to reach the two-minute warning. Bell was able to bounce to the outside for five yards on second and one. From the 39, Roethlsiberger pump faked before finding Brown for about 11 yards to midfield as the Steelers used their first timeout with 1:27 remaining.
Another quick pass to Bell went for eight, getting out of bounds. On second and two, Roethlisberger threw over Bell’s head with room to run. On third and two, with four wide, Roethlisberger found Brown for the first down, with the Steelers using their second timeout. A completion to Xavier Grimble went for 10 yards. From the 23, the pass to Coates in the end zone was defended well. Coates made up for it with an underneath reception with yards after the catch inside the five.
Five wide on first and goal from the three, Roethlisberger’s pass was incomplete to Wheaton because his feet were out of bounds, but a hold in the end zone on the Jets, setting up half the distance to the goal. Coates dropped a sure touchdown on the ensuing play at the goal line. On second down, James was left wide open in the middle of the end zone as the Steelers grabbed the lead with 41 seconds remaining on Roethlisberger’s second touchdown pass of the game, and 13th of the season.
A draw on first down was stuffed at the line for the Jets to end the half.