Jets vs. Steelers: Stats That Mattered in New York's Week 2 Loss
My colleague, NFC East lead writer Brad Gagnon, put it best: "The reality is that [stats] rarely tell the whole story, but I also find that they almost always tell part of the story."
Ultimately, the "whole story" will only be written when the season is over, when we have an idea of how these stats look in the end; but for now, let's just take a look at the stats that had an impact on Sunday's game between the New York Jets and Pittsburgh Steelers.
Typically, under Rex Ryan, the Jets have fielded one of the most efficient pass defenses in the league. Roethlisberger carved them up like Thanksgiving turkey on Sunday, going 24-of-31 passing (77.4 percent completions) for 275 yards (8.9 YPA) and two touchdowns, with a passer rating of 125.1 on the day.
He had completed 81.3 percent of his passes through the first half, according to NFL.com's game book. The Steelers got everyone involved; eight different receivers caught a pass in the first half, and 10 different receivers total.
It really seemed like no matter what the Jets did, whether they blitzed or not, they couldn't get Roethlisberger out of rhythm. According to Pro Football Focus, he posted a 114.1 passer rating on 19 drop-backs where he was blitzed, and a 137.5 passer rating when the Jets opted not to blitz.
This matters because while the absence of cornerback Darrelle Revis certainly didn't help, it wasn't the only factor behind such a drastic downswing for the Jets' defense. Everyone gave up their fair share of catches.
Last week, that number was all the way down at 18.5 percent, climbing 11.1 percentage points this week.
Many of those throws were forced deep passes, and Pro Football Focus notes that Sanchez went 4-of-12 on passes deeper than 10 yards off the line of scrimmage.
This matters because the Jets are a ball control, ground-and-pound style of offense. They likely saw some opportunities to take advantage of Pittsburgh's aggressive play at safety, but those deep shots often came at the expense of moving the ball at all. The Jets weren't having much success running it, and their receivers also had a hard time getting off the line of scrimmage. A crowded short area may have also had to do with the increase in deep passes.
Either way, the Jets need to find balance offensively and create rhythm if they want to return to what worked so well for them against the Bills.
That's the number of tackles for loss the Jets' defense racked up against the Steelers' offense. They only tackled Bills runners twice for a loss last week.
The Jets gave up an average of just 2.4 yards per carry against the Steelers, flashing that hard-nosed, stingy run defense that we knew this defensive line was capable of. That was about the only element of the Steelers' offense that the Jets were consistently disrupting, but it helped keep them in the game early, holding the Steelers to just six points through the first 28 minutes of play.
This is important because the Jets will have to continue to take away the running game if they are unable to create effective pressure, as has been the problem for the past couple of weeks.
Erik Frenz is the AFC East lead blogger for Bleacher Report. Be sure to follow Erik on Twitter and "like" the AFC East blog on Facebook to keep up with all the updates. Unless specified otherwise, all quotes are obtained firsthand.
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