Mark Sanchez played valiantly in the second half, dusting himself off after a nightmarish opening stanza. The man they call the "Sanchise" finished the game completing 20 of 33 passes for 233 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. Trailing 24-3, with 12:20 remaining in the third quarter, the Jets faced a third and 4 from the Steelers 45-yard line. Sanchez dropped back, faking a hand off to half back LaDanian Tomlinson and unleashed a bomb to a wide open Santonio Holmes who cradled the ball against his chest for the score. The touchdown spurred New York to a stellar second half as they nearly completed the greatest comeback in title game history. Despite the Steelers making the Jets offense one dimensional, Mark Sanchez showcased his big-game prowess playing with poise and confidence against arguably the best defense in the NFL.
Rashard Mendenhall gouged the Jets run defense, stepping through tackles and shedding would-be defenders. New York had no answer for the Steelers' ground and pound game as Pittsburgh took the fight to New York and dominated the line of scrimmage. Inexplicably, Gang Green came out flat playing tentatively on both sides of the football culminating in a 24-3 point first half deficit. Offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer's play calling was perplexing, setting the Jets up with third and long yardage scenarios time and time again. Somebody should have told "Schotty" the game started at 6:00PM and not at 8:00PM.
The Jets have not scored an opening quarter offensive touchdown since Week 4 of the regular season against the Buffalo Bills.
"We played a good half. We never played a good game, and that was the difference," head coach Rex Ryan said. "You get to this point, you've got to play a great game against a great opponent and we played a good half and that was it."
Despite the loss, this team showed its backbone in a futile second half comeback. The Jets faithful can take solace in the fact that Rex Ryan is a resilient leader and he along with the general manger Mike Tannenbaum will do everything in their power to get the Jets over the hump. For the Jets, it's adios until the 2011 regular season, unless of course Rex and the boys are up for an encore of HBO's Hard Knocks!