New York Jets: A Loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers Takes the Shine off Week 1
But let’s all remain calm, Jets fans. It could be worse. What if you are living in Dallas or New England this week?
Everyone knew that going into Pittsburgh short-handed wouldn’t be easy.
So what happened to cause the Jets to lose this contest?
After a stellar opening game against the Bills, and after a couple of nice Jets drives to open the game against the Steelers, the Jets stalled. The Steelers and Ben Roethlisberger took over and beat the Jets 27-10. It was impressive considering that the Steelers were playing without James Harrison and Troy Polamalu.
As reported by Connor Orr of nj.com, Rex Ryan attributed at least part of the loss to a lack of sharpness during the week at practice. That tells me that the Jets probably spent the week congratulating themselves on the win against Buffalo.
That kind of nonsense has to stop.
You can’t rest on your laurels, nor can you take continued success for granted. The Jets coaching staff and the veteran players need to impress that upon the team.
The other big issue was third downs, both offensively and defensively: The Jets offense couldn’t make them and their defense couldn’t stop the Steelers from converting them.
The Jets showed us all how slim the margin for error is with this 2012 squad.
Not having Darrelle Revis really hurt. On no play was it more apparent than when Roethlisberger heaved a 3rd-and-16 touchdown pass to the corner of the end zone and Mike Wallace grabbed it. You knew the Steelers were going to test Antonio Cromartie, and Big Ben won that time. If Darrelle Revis had been in the game, that pass might not have been complete.
Not having Dustin Keller was just as big of a loss for the offense. He might have provided a spark to an offense that was completely flat after opening by putting up points. Sanchez and Keller have such great chemistry; it is really evident how much he is missed.
What troubles me about this loss is that there is no obvious culprit—no boneheaded interceptions thrown by Mark Sanchez, for example. That’s huge progress for Sanchez, who has had a terrible tendency in the past to try to play hero ball and force bad throws when things aren’t going well offensively.
But it’s also a little worrisome that no one is stepping up to make plays.
Holmes had a couple of awful drops. For a ground-and-pound running team, the running was pretty uninspiring. The Jets were just…flat.
Where are the playmakers?
And let me address the folks who think the answer is "Tim Tebow to the rescue": When you’re down by 17, you’ve got to throw the ball. It’d be nice if the receivers could either a) get open, or b) not drop the ball. That truth, however, will not quell the "Start Tebow Now" brigade.
This is where the danger lies. Rex Ryan and his staff are going to have to work overtime to not let tiny little fissures turn into full-blown cracks of dissent within the locker room. A bad half of football does not mean it is time to sit Sanchez, especially since he got so little help from the rest of the offensive players.
What the Jets need to do now is get healthy and focus on Miami.
They cannot look past the Dolphins to the 49ers. The Jets got a major gift in the form of the Patriots upset loss. Every division win for them will be critical because there will likely be five or six teams in the scrum for the two Wild Card spots at the end of the year and I still do not think they can beat the Patriots to win the AFC East.
Notching up another division win and getting rid of the bad taste in their mouths from how things ended in Miami last year is as good a place to start as any.
The season is still young. It’s not time to panic. Yet. The Jets need to go to Miami, take care of business and reassess after that.
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