Jets vs. Steelers: Live AFC Championship Game Scores, Analysis and Reaction
Jets vs. Steelers tonight, playing for the AFC Championship.
The New York Jets surprised just about everyone last week when they defeated the vaunted New England Patriots, 28-21, in Foxborough.
Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez, who has struggled at times this season, had perhaps the game of his life against the Patriots, throwing for three touchdowns and completing 64 percent of his passes.
A lot of this had to do with the Jets going back to their modus operandi, shoving their running game down New England's throat and allowing Sanchez to excel while throwing the ball just 25 times.
A lot of people have the Pittsburgh Steelers defeating the Jets at home tonight, but if the Patriots game showed us anything, it's that the Jets are clearly a different team than in the regular season.
Follow along for game previews, matchups, and, of course, updates throughout the AFC Championship Game.
Jack LaLanne: Fitness Extraordinaire Dies at Age 96.
Jack LaLanne, known as the godfather of fitness, died at his California home in Morro Bay on Sunday from respiratory failure due to pneumonia.
LaLanne was a model for vitality even in his 90s.
LaLanne didn't start watching what he ate and how he lived his life until he was 15, but eventually whittled a diet for himself, including two meals a day of raw, unprocessed foods and no snacks.
One of the most impressive feats of LaLanne's was he pulled an 1,000-pound boat from Alcatraz Island to Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco at age 60.
At age 70, he pulled 70 people in 70 boats for a good 1 1/2 miles.
LaLanne was also known for The Jack LaLanne Show, which ran for 34 years.
Jets Steelers: Jets Down by Five Points As AFC Championship Winds Down.
As we approach the two-minute warning of the AFC Championship Game, the New York Jets have closed to within five points of the Pittsburgh Steelers, 24-19.
The Jets were down, 24-3, at halftime, and have used a 16-0 run to close within reach.
Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez has stormed back in the second half, throwing two touchdowns passes, including a 45-yarder to receiver Santonio Holmes.
The Jets have also recorded a safety after being stopped at the goal line in the third quarter.
Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger is just 9-of-18 with two interceptions in the game.
The Steelers have been able to move the ball regardless with running back Rashard Mendenhall, who has 117 yards and a touchdown.
Caleb Hanie: Bears Third String QB Falls Short With Reins to Super Bowl.
After Chicago Bears QB Jay Cutler was injured in the first half and backup Todd Collins was pulled after throwing four straight incompletions, the Bears' Super Bowl dreams were in the hands of third-string QB Caleb Hanie.
Hanie, a second-year pro who had attempted 14 passes before the NFC Championship Game, completed 13-of-20 passes for 153 yards and a touchdown Sunday, but also threw two interceptions, one of which was returned 18 yards for a touchdown by Packers defensive tackle B.J. Raji.
Hanie, who was undrafted out of Colorado State, had completed 8-of-14 passes for 66 yards and an interception before taking the reins Sunday.
N.Y. Jets: Jets Score Safety After Steelers' Goal Line Stand.
One play after the Pittsburgh Steelers had a huge goal line stand against the New York Jets on the Pittsburgh 1-yard line, the Jets have just recorded a safety against the Steelers and are now down, 24-12, with seven minutes remaining in the game.
The Jets will now get the ball kicked to them with a chance to still win the game down 12 points.
The safety came after Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger fumbled at the 1-yard line and recovered the fumble in the end zone and was tackled.
The Jets had just been held to zero points after a 17-play, 80-yard drive that lasted over eight minutes.
Now the Jets are driving in Steelers territory with a chance to score again and make it a one-possession game.
Martina McBride: Impresses Singing National Anthem Before AFC Championship Game.
Country singer Martina McBride, who sang in Pittsburgh two years ago, was invited back to sing The Star-Spangled Banner Sunday before the AFC Championship Game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and New York Jets.
McBride impressed, continuing an apparent tradition in the 2011 NFL playoffs of having really good National Anthem singers.
Chicago Blackhawks National Anthem singer Jim Cornelison first made waves singing The Star-Spangled Banner before the divisional round matchup between the Chicago Bears and Seattle Seahawks and continued today in Chicago before the NFC Championship Game.
Rashard Mendenhall: Steelers Running Back Having Huge Game Against Jets.
Pittsburgh Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall, who had 100 yards and a touchdown against the New York Jets in Week 15, is continuing his dominance against the Green and White in the AFC Championship Game on Sunday.
Mendenhall has rushed for 116 yards and a score in Pittsburgh and also has two catches for 32 yards.
The Jets, who held opposition to 3.6 yards per carry in the regular season, don't appear to have an answer for Mendenhall, who is averaging 4.8 yards per carry tonight despite averaging 3.9 yards per carry in the regular season.
As the fourth quarter begins with the Steelers up, 24-10, if the Steelers pull off the win a lot of credit has to go to Mendenhall, especially with QB Ben Roethlisberger struggling in the game.
Packers Pro Shop: Packers Retailers Seeing Gold and Green.
Since the Green Bay Packers made their way into the NFC Championship Game (not to mention winning it), Packers retailers of jerseys and memorabilia are seeing an influx of shoppers eager to get their hands on Packers merchandise.
And the demand doesn't just exist in Wisconsin.
Kate Hogan of Packers Pro Shop said they are shipping anywhere from Japan to Australia to the United Kingdom to even Iceland.
NFC Championship shirts have been the big seller, but jerseys have also been purchased in droves.
Mike Walters of the Jersey Store said Clay Matthews jersey have been a hot item.
"Clay Matthews jerseys flying off. We just got 144 more in today, fortunately. We've got people waiting for those as well," Walters said.
Jets vs. Steelers 2011: Jets Storming Back in Second Half of AFC Championship.
After finding themselves in a serious hole at halftime, down 24-3, the New York Jets have stormed back against the Pittsburgh Steelers, rattling off seven unanswered points and currently trailing, 24-10.
The Jets started off the second half with a five-play, 90-yard drive for a TD, capped off by a 45-yard touchdown pass from QB Mark Sanchez to receiver Santonio Holmes.
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger ended the Steelers' first drive of the second half with an interception, but the Steelers are currently driving back into Jets territory as the third quarter winds down.
Holmes leads the Jets with two catches for 61 yards and the touchdown.
Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall already has over 115 yards rushing and a touchdown.
Cutler: Bears QB Explains Himself After Sitting Out Second Half Against Packers.
Amid mounting criticism of Chicago Bears QB Jay Cutler after he sat out the second half of the NFC Championship Game against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, Cutler was forced to defend himself in the locker room after the game.
After a knee injury in the first half, Cutler was forced to sit out of the game by the training staff.
Since he sat out, a lot of NFL players have reportedly questioned his toughness via Twitter, and the media questioned the quarterback about the criticism after the game:
“No comment,” Cutler said.
Cutler said it was a "lonely feeling" to sit out the second half while backups Todd Collins and Caleb Hanie took the reins.
Cutler threw for over 3,000 yards and 23 touchdowns to 16 interceptions this season.
He was 6-of-14 for 80 yards and an interception before leaving the game.
Mark Sanchez: Jets QB Hurt in Second Quarter Against Steelers.
After being hit from behind by Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor on a blitz, New York Jets QB Mark Sanchez had to spend time on the sideline inside the two-minute warning of the first half in the AFC Championship Game Sunday.
He's come back into the game, but it appeared as if he was in pain after the big CB blitz.
The play resulted in a fumble by Sanchez, which was returned for a touchdown by the Steelers.
The Steelers now lead, 24-0, as the first half comes to a close in Pittsburgh.
The Jets have some serious ground to make up.
Do they have it in them to make a miraculous comeback on the road?
We shall see.
Sanchez is 3-of-8 for 24 yards and a fumble in the game thus far.
Jets vs. Steelers 2011: Steelers Take 17-Point Lead Toward End of Half.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are currently beating up on the New York Jets, 17-0, as the first half of the AFC Championship Game winds down.
The Steelers scored with two minutes left in the half on a Ben Roethlisberger two-yard gallop into the end zone.
Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall has been a big part of the Steelers' success against the Jets.
Mendenhall has 95 yards rushing and a touchdown on 17 carries. He also has two catches for 32 yards.
The Steelers have over 230 total yards of offense, while the Jets have managed just 25 yards total and are starting just their fourth drive of the game.
Roethlisberger is 7-of-14 for 96 yards and an interception.
NFL Playoffs 2011: Steelers Lead Jets by 10 Points in Second Quarter.
With about six minutes left in the second quarter, the Pittsburgh Steelers are currently leading the New York Jets, 10-0, in the AFC Championship Game in Pittsburgh.
The Jets have 22 total yards in the game and have run 10 plays to the Steelers' 31 plays in the game.
Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall has picked up right where he left off against the Jets in Week 15, rushing for 89 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries.
In Week 15, Mendenhall rushed for 100 yards and a TD on 17 carries.
The Steelers held the Baltimore Ravens to 126 total yards last week in the divisional round of the playoffs.
The Jets, who usually find success pounding the rock through the line, are having trouble gaining yards on the ground, which has disrupted the offense and appears to be forcing the Jets to put the game in quarterback Mark Sanchez' hands.
The Jets have just punted again after only their third drive of the game.
Todd Collins: Todd Collins Mix Doesn't Work for Bears Against Packers.
There's an alcoholic mix called Tom Collins Mix that can make one feel giddy.
Unfortunately for the Chicago Bears, Todd Collins Mix isn't quite the same thing.
The career backup quarterback entered the game for the Bears after starting quarterback Jay Cutler went down with a knee injury against the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game.
Four passes and four incompletions later, Bears coach Lovie Smith yanked Collins from the game:
"We felt Todd was the next guy." Added Smith: "We went through a few series and moved on from there."
"Moving on" would be the appropriate words after the Bears came within a touchdown of the Packers in the second half after trailing, 14-0, in the first half when Cutler was under center.
Third-string QB Caleb Hanie did a serviceable job until he threw an interception to defensive tackle B.J. Raji that was returned 18 yards for a TD to put the Packers up, 21-7.
Jets vs. Steelers 2011: Jets Finish with 19 Total Yards in First Quarter.
After one quarter of action in the AFC Championship Game, the New York Jets find themselves trailing the Pittsburgh Steelers, 7-0.
The Jets have been severely limited by the Steelers' defense, with only 17 yards passing and two yards rushing.
The Steelers have possessed the ball for over 10 minutes, while the Jets have had the ball for just four.
The Steelers have run 18 plays to the Jets' seven.
And Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall has found success running the ball against a Jets defense that allowed just 3.6 yards per carry in the regular season.
Mendenhall has 41 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries thus far.
Mendenhall rushed for 100 yards and a touchdown against the Jets in Week 15.
Carson Palmer: Cincinnati Bengals QB Demanding Trade.
Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer is reportedly demanding a trade, according to ESPN.
ESPN reported that several sources have said Palmer has asked to be traded and will contemplate retirement if the Bengals do not heed his request.
Palmer, who was drafted first overall in 2003 by the Bengals, is still under contract through 2014.
Sources reportedly said Palmer is frustrated with the team's "inconsistencies."
After making it to the playoffs last season with a record of 10-6, the Bengals were favored to return to the postseason again this year, especially after adding receiver Terrell Owens.
But the Bengals finished 4-12 in 2010, largely considered one of the worst teams in the NFL.
Palmer could land in Seattle with the Seahawks, San Francisco with the 49ers (where his wife grew up), or Arizona with the Cardinals.
Palmer threw for almost 4,000 yards this season, with 26 touchdowns to 20 interceptions.