Subtle Not Part of the Steelers' Plan

This week, the Steelers beat the New York Jets with toughness more than anything else, writes Mike Prisuta.

It was going to take depth and dedication to beat the Jets minus James Harrison and Troy Polamalu, an attention to detail and a discipline and a resolve that potential champions can muster and wannabes can only talk about.

But most of all it was going to take some toughness.

The Steelers were going to have to get mad at having lost to Denver and then they were going to have to get even at 1-1 by beating the Jets.

Mission accomplished.

It was no Mozart, as Bill Cowher no doubt agrees in the wake of Steelers 27, Jets 10. But it was what this team needed at this stage of the season.

The examples of what got the Steelers past the Jets despite being down a couple of All-Pros are numerous, but there's none more appropriate than wide receiver Antonio Brown catching that pass for 9 yards on third-and-4 from the Jets' 39-yard line midway through the fourth quarter. Brown caught the ball and then caught a vicious lick from safety LaRon Landry and all but laughed off the contact from a guy who lives to take such shots.

We know this because Brown popped right back up and celebrated the first down.

Not a lot of guys are able to do that against Landry, who has a hard-earned and well-deserved reputation for bell-ringing, one that preceded him to Heinz Field on Sunday.

"I have a reputation, too," Brown insisted.

If he didn't before, he does now.

Another guy who was as tough as he needed to be was cornerback Ike Taylor.

Early on Taylor was beaten by wide receiver Santonio Holmes for a touchdown. A number of penalty flags -- three before I lost count -- were also thrown Taylor's way as the afternoon wore on.

But Taylor kept battling, physically, mentally and emotionally.

Taylor never gave up the fight. And by game's end Holmes had been targeted 11 times and had managed just 3 receptions for 28 yards.

Guard Willie Colon pulling to help get running back Isaac Redman into the end zone for the exclamation-point score was another example of what the Steelers brought to this brawl.

Those grinding drives didn't happen by accident.

And they weren't finished with sixes out of happenstance.

"We knew if we kept hitting them, hitting them, hitting them they were going to eventually fold and they did toward the end," offensive tackle Max Starks said.

The Steelers hit the Jets with whatever was necessary.

That included running backs Jonathan Dwyer and Redman delivering blows with second effort, Brown absorbing that monster shot from Landry, and Ben Roethlisberger shaking free from would-be sacks and throwing darts downfield.

Not all of the time, but enough of them time.

"Whatever it takes" is apparently still in vogue on the North Shore.

"I think we were all a little disappointed in ourselves from last week," tight end Heath Miller said. "I think we took a step in the right direction today.

"I thought we had other chances to put the game away earlier than we did, but we did and we're happy about it."

Added defensive end, defensive captain and developing team-conscious Brett Keisel: "We wanted to respond. We didn't feel like we played that well last week. Anytime that happens you want to respond."

The Steelers' response against the Jets was obvious.

They still have that gear to shift into, that switch to throw.

They'll need to play better eventually, but for now that response was more than enough.

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