The win, combined with a loss by the Baltimore Ravens, put the Steelers back on track in the race for the AFC North.
Here are five things that we learned from the Steelers’ victory.
No training camp? No problem for Mike Wallace.
The Roethlisberger-Wallace connection made its true debut of the year when the two connected on a 37-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter.
It was a brilliant play on both ends as Roethlisberger underthrew Wallace, who did an excellent job of coming back to the ball. What was more impressive was the nifty footwork that kept him in bounds.
Wallace had 74 yards on five receptions, but he wasn’t the top target. That honor went to Antonio Brown.
Brown showed the toughness of Hines Ward on one reception as he finished with seven receptions for 79 yards.
Emmanuel Sanders chipped in with three receptions for 33 yards and helped keep the chains moving.
This group of receivers is very versatile and their numbers should improve as they continue to get comfortable with the new offense.
Roethlisberger was near perfect on Sunday as he completed 24 of 31 passes for 275 yards and two touchdowns
While he was sacked three times and under pressure for a good part of the afternoon, Roethlisberger also did an outstanding job of getting rid of the ball quickly when given the opportunity and not taking any unnecessary risks.
There is still no quarterback better at escaping pressure—which he did on at least three or four occasions against the Jets—to either make a play or get rid of the ball.
Roethlisberger also used his secondary receiving options well, completing eight passes to the backs and tight ends. This was highlighted by a touchdown pass to Heath Miller.
At this point, the only thing that we need to see from the offense is taking a few more chances downfield. The receiving talent is too good not to.
Establishing the run is understandable. Forcing the run can be a bit much.
Todd Haley put a clear emphasis on the ground game in training camp, and it continues to show during the season.
The problem at this point is it is putting the team in a lot of long-yardage situations. That is just making things harder on itself.
There were two runs to the outside that lost over five yards each—a seven-yard loss by Isaac Redman and a six-yard loss by Jonathan Dwyer.
That did not discourage Haley, who ran the Redman and Dwyer 12 times each.
Redman only had 25 yards but did score, while Dwyer finished with 28 yards.
A major part of the problem continues to be the blocking from the offensive line. Willie Colon missed at least two blocks that would have resulted in huge holes, while fullback Will Johnson missed a seal block that caused a run for a loss.
Despite the lack of success, the Steelers are still trying, and they’ll need to get much better as the season progresses if they want to have a balanced attack on offense.
As I watched the game I took a moment and asked myself, “Why is Larry Foote playing better than Lawrence Timmons?”
Foote once again was one of the better defenders on the field and that is not what the Steelers want to see.
With seven tackles, Foote was second on the team, but he was very active in the first half before his production fell off after tweaking his leg.
Meanwhile, Ryan Clark made up for missing the opening week of the season.
Clark made an excellent play to knock a pass away from Stephen Hill in what otherwise may have been a touchdown. He had eight tackles—including one for a loss—on the day to lead the Steelers.
Players such as Timmons and LaMarr Woodley picked it up as the game went on, but Foote and Clark were dependable throughout the entire game.
Mike Tomlin has a lot of great qualities and it shows with the performance of his team. However, he still has some very weak areas as head coach.
One is challenges, and the other is clock management.
Clock management once again gave Tomlin some problems in the second half.
The Steelers used all three timeouts well before the end of the game. While one was to take some extra time to adjust for the Jets' punt formation shift, the other two were areas that could be improved upon.
For this particular game, the use of timeouts was not a big deal because of the big lead, but it won’t always be that way. Clock management becomes a concern nearly every week.
Things looked good for the Steelers following an opening drive to go ahead of the Jets by a field goal, but then they got a slap to the face when Mark Sanchez easily marched the Jets down the field for a touchdown to Santonio Holmes.
Now this game looked like it was going to be a very tough contest, but that is not how things turned out.
The Steelers offense continued to move the ball efficiently and the defense clamped down as the Steelers began to dominate the game.
What was more impressive was how Pittsburgh overcame 10 penalties, including several asinine calls in the second half.
There have a been many bad calls at Heinz Field over the years, but the boos were never louder than a sequence of bogus penalties called by the replacement refs, highlighted by a pass interference call on Ike Taylor—who was nowhere near the receiver.
The Steelers handled the adversity well and went out and made the plays that they needed to win. They will have to do the same next week as they travel west to face the Oakland Raiders.