After a sparkling opening drive, the offensive firepower vanished as Mark Sanchez and his receivers failed to connect time and time again. It was a rollercoaster outing for Santonio Holmes, who hauled in a 14 yard touchdown reception in the first quarter, but dropped several key passes in the second half and finished with only three receptions for 28 yards. Sanchez's stellar start gave way to a lackluster final three quarters as the Steelers defense put the clamps on New York's passing attack.
With the exception of Tim Tebow's 22 yard third-quarter scamper, the Jets ground-and-pound was held in check, failing to produce any chunk yardage plays on the day. Ballcarriers Bilal Powell and Shonn Greene combined for 56 yards on 20 attempts, a pedestrian output to say the least. The Jets abandoned their running game in the second half and attempted to overcome a double-digit deficit riding Sanchez's arm. New York's ground game was unimaginative and inefficient on Sunday in Pittsburgh.
Sanchez barking out calls in the huddle
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger enjoyed his career-best performance against the Jets producing a scintillating 125.8 passer rating while converting 8-of-15 third down attempts. New York's secondary had no answer for the receiving combo of Antonio Brown and Mike Wallace who combined for 12 receptions, 153 yards and a touchdown. The Jets desperately missed the presence of four-time Pro Bowl cornerback Darrelle Revis, who missed the game after failing a concussion test. An all-around less than impressive effort from this short-handed unit.
The rushing numbers don't tell the entire story of the defense's sub-par performance, At first glance, 28 carries for just 66 yards may look quite impressive in the box score. Unfortunately, the Jets defense was plagued by missed tackles, with the Steelers gaining extra yardage and moving the chains,chewing critical game clock in the second half. New York's front wore down as the game reached the final period and Gang Green couldn't come up with a defensive stand to give the ball back to its offense.
Jeremy Kerley went from opening day hero to this week's goat with the former TCU standout muffing a punt return as the ball ricocheted off his helmet and into the grasp of the Steelers defenders. Placekicker Nick Folk connected on his 38-yard field goal attempt and punter Robert Malone booted six punts for a 45.3 yard average, but Kerley's special teams gaffe proved costly and overshadowed a solid outing from the rest of Mike Westhoff's unit.
The Jets were outplayed in every facet of the game and the coaching staff didn't make the necessary second half adjustments to keep New York in contention. Offensive coordinator Tony Sparano used Tebow on just one drive in spite of Sanchez's struggles and the Jets offense was unable to sustain drives and left their defense on the field for far too long. Defensive coordinator Mike Pettine couldn't scheme his way to overcome the loss of Revis as New York's secondary was victimized by Big Ben. All in all, not a performance to write home about for the guys with headsets.