The Jets remain technically in first place in the AFC East after the loss. However, with all four teams at 1-1, that does not mean very much.
Ordinarily one of the most feared passing defenses in the league, the Jets defense was soft against the Steelers. All of their failings were exacerbated and made possible by the absence of their best player.
The Steelers were able to get away with a comically one-dimensional offensive game plan. They ran predictable passing plays almost the entire game. They finally began running in the fourth quarter, when the game was well in hand.
All in all, the Steelers rushing attack was ineffective, garnering only 66 yards on 28 attempts. They gave up seven tackles for loss, including four to linebacker Garrett McIntyre.
They were able to get away with these imperfections because the passing game was operating smoothly. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger completed 24 of 31 passes for 275 yards.
No Coverage Sacks
The Jets often rack up a few coverage sacks in any given game. With their cornerback trio of Revis, Antonio Cromartie and Kyle Wilson locking down the receivers, four- and five-man rushes have time to take down quarterbacks.
With Steelers receivers constantly being open in Week 2, these rushes were not enough. The Jets recorded only three sacks, two of which amounted to losses of less than five yards.
Revis' absence does not only free up the opposition's best wide receiver to make plays. It also has a ripple effect that changes the way the entire defense operates. Both halves of the field become viable targets.
As a result, the quarterback can get rid of the ball faster, negating the impact of quarterback pressures. Furthermore, the requirement to play more defensive backs and zone coverage weakens the ability to blitz and opens up the defense against running plays.
All of these second-order effects wore away at the Jets defense on Sunday.
Like any offense, the Jets offense thrives off of points-off-turnovers. Without Revis out there, Roethlisberger was able to find open targets time and time again while under duress. He was able to avoid mistakes and interceptions. The Steelers as a team committed no turnovers in the game.
The Jets were forced into playing a relatively conservative zone, and several of the Steelers' wide receivers exploited that. The Jets recorded only three pass deflections. Meanwhile, an impressive 10 different Steelers receivers caught passes.
The Jets will attempt to redeem themselves in Week 3 when they head to Miami. Miami is a division rival and a team the Jets should be able to handle with relative ease.
Jets fans should hope that Revis is back in action for that game. His presence affects every aspect of the Jets defense.