Pittsburgh, P.A. - Sammie Coates joined a privileged group of wide receivers to torch members of the New York Jets secondary on a weekly basis - finishing with six catches for 139 yards and two touchdowns. That - combined with Ben Roethlisberger (34-47, 72.3 completion percentage) picking apart the Jets secondary throwing for 380 yards and four touchdowns - helped the Pittsburgh Steelers defeat the Jets, 31-13 at Heinz Field.
Albert Einstein once said the definition of insanity is "doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results." At this point, insanity does not do the current trend justice as the same mistakes that have plagued the New York Jets through the first four weeks of the regular season proved - again - too much to overcome. The miscommunication, lapses in defensive coverage, lack of adjustments and poor coaching decisions provided the same result that has grown too familiar this season for the Jets - a gut-wrenching loss.
"I take all of the blame," said head coach Todd Bowles after being asked about the team's start to the season. "As I lead, they follow. I have to do a better job leading these guys, preparing them on both sides of the ball and we have to move from there. You can put it all on me."
The Jets came out of the gate fast with a seven-play, 58-yard drive before Nick Folk drilled a 35-yard field goal to strike first. Ryan Fitzpatrick threw five times on that drive while handing the ball to Matt Forte (12 carries for 53 yards) once. New York's signal caller managed to avoid the costly turnover that killed his team's chances the previous two weeks, converting 25 of 38 passes for 265 yards and one touchdown. Although Fitzpatrick protected the football, he lacked the finishing touch needed to find the end zone more times than his counterpart - Ben Roethlisberger.
Roethlisberger responded to the Jets opening field goal in three plays, going 75 yards for a touchdown. 72 of those yards came off a deep toss down the sideline to Sammie Coates who outran Marcus Williams to the end zone. It marked another week the Jets secondary were outclassed by a younger, faster and stronger opponent. Roethlisberger finished with a quarterback rating of 124.4, marking the fifth consecutive game an opposing quarterback has finished with a rating over 100 against the Jets defense.
"We gave [Roethlisberger] too much time," said Bowles. "He started dumping things underneath and they made some plays. We need to find a way to have consistent pressure up the middle. They had massive protection."
New York's vaunted pass rush - that has looked far from stout - failed to generate consistency pressuring Pittsburgh's signal caller. Roethlisberger was sacked three times but was able to distribute the wealth to different weapons like Le'Veon Bell (nine catches for 88 yards), Antonio Brown (nine catches for 78 yards and one touchdown) and tight end Jesse James (six catches for 43 yards and one touchdown).
After the Jets were able to stop Roethlisberger and Co. in the second quarter, Fitzpatrick marched downfield to retake the lead when Brandon Marshall (eight catches for 114 yards and one touchdown) stole an interception away from Steelers cornerback Ross Cockrell in the end zone. Marshall's touchdown late in the first half evidently sparked the Steelers offense to drive 75 yards on 12 plays capped off by Jesse James' lone touchdown of the afternoon.
The script has typically been the same for the Jets through five games - keep it close in the first half then take the foot off the gas pedal in the final 30 minutes. Opponents have outscored the Jets 68-30 in the second half and the trend continued on Sunday as Pittsburgh outscored the Jets 17-0 in the second frame. That helped the Steelers completely pull away to clinch their fourth win of the season.
"We stalled," Bowles said after evaluating the team's second half performance. "We didn't make things happen but we played hard. We just have to get better at what we're doing."
Several questionable calls from Todd Bowles and his coaching staff made the Steelers' road to victory slightly easier as the head coach burned timeouts on careless personnel mistakes and elected to punt the football on fourth and short opportunities late in the game.
"There was enough time on the clock so we figured we can pin them deep," Bowles said about the head-scratching punt on fourth-and-2 from their own 46-yard line with about seven minutes left in the fourth quarter. "It wasn't too conservative."
The offense - contrary to what Bowles said - played it conservative while the defense lacked the killer instinct. It is back to the drawing board once again. The Jets have another tough task ahead as they visit the Arizona Cardinals next Monday Night.
"I believe in this team. I believe in this coaching staff. I think we are going to fight and do everything we can," said Bowles. "You gotta let go, rebuild and reload."
David Harris - Hamstring
Darryl Roberts - Shoulder
Nick Mangold - Knee
Joe Barone is a staff writer for JetsInsider.com/NYJScout.com. He can be reached on Twitter (@28JoeBarone), or via email (firstname.lastname@example.org).null