Mixed results for pass rush

A look at Steelers 34, Jets 13 via the magic of the DVR:


Take a look at the best photos from regular season Week 5 game. The Steelers defeated the Jets 31-13.

THE ONES THAT GOT AWAY:** The Steelers followed up their four-sacks effort against the Chiefs with three more against the Jets but could have had more and should have had more in head coach Mike Tomlin's estimation.

"I thought we missed some finishes," Tomlin said Sunday afternoon at Heinz Field. "We had an opportunity to really have a nice sack production day but we let (Jets QB Ryan Fitzpatrick) escape several times. And we have to get better at finishing.

"It's a difficult thing to practice because of the nature of how you practice. But we have to find a way to get the quarterback on the ground in some more instances when we have an opportunity to."

Tomlin might have been referencing the following right about then:

-Second-and-9, Jets' 14-yard line, third quarter: DE Stephon Tuitt beat TE Kellen Davis inside and had a direct line to Fitzpatrick at the 6, but Fitzpatrick was able to step up and make Tuitt whiff before throwing the ball away. Tuitt missed a similar opportunity on Sept. 25 in Philadelphia.

-First-and-10, Jets' 25, fourth quarter: LB Vince Williams and DE Ricardo Mathews collapsed the pocket from opposite sides but Fitzpatrick was able to escape from both. He eventually stepped out of an attempted leg-tackle by Mathews on what became a 9-yard pass to RB Bilal Powell. Williams and Mathews each reacted afterward as if an opportunity had been missed.

-Second-and-10, Jets' 46, fourth quarter: FS Mike Mitchell came unblocked on a blitz but LG James Carpenter reached out and got an arm on Mitchell at the last second and knocked him off course. Mitchell got a hand on Fitzpatrick, who stepped up and threw incomplete.


MIXING IT UP:** It was anything but status quo in the secondary.

The Steelers played their standard four-defensive backs package against the Jets (CBs Willian Gay and Stephon Tuitt, Mitchell and SS Jordan Dangerfield, who started again in place of Robert Golden).

And they went with their usual five-defensive backs "nickel" look (with S/CB Sean Davis back from injury as the slot corner).

But they also played Gay, Cockrell, Davis and Mitchell in a four-man secondary, and Gay, Cockrell, Mitchell and CBs Artie Burns and Al-Hajj Shabazz, who had just been activated from the practice squad, in a five-DBs alignment.

And at times they used six defensive backs at a time (Gay, Cockrell, Mitchell, Dangerfield, Davis and Burns).

"The plan in the secondary was to just throw the house at them and see how they dealt with it," Cockrell said. "We tried to switch it up as much as possible. We tried to show them a lot of different looks.

"I think it worked well for us."

The Jets finished with 244 net yards passing, the lowest total against the Steelers since the Redskins managed 239 in the regular-season opener.


OLD SCHOOL APPROACH:** RB Le'Veon Bell often lined up where a wide receiver would while catching five passes for 34 yards on Oct. 2 against Kansas City.

Bell was targeted 12 times against the Jets (including a play on which Bell drew a penalty for defensive pass interference) and finished with nine receptions for 88 yards. But on almost every occasion Bell lined up in the backfield and ran to the left or right flat or worked his way through the rush to the middle of the field. Eight of his catches were made behind, at or within 1 yard of the line of scrimmage.

One reception came 4 yards down the field and went for a 12-yard gain after Bell had lined up in the slot.

The Steelers repeatedly found Bell in space in either flat and he used his ability after the catch to churn out gains of 12, 9, 8, 11, 11 and 16 yards after accepting short passes from QB Ben Roethlisberger.

By the time the Steelers faced a second-and-goal from the Jets' 1 with 44 seconds left in the second quarter, Bell already had six catches for 50 yards.

Perhaps that's why Jets LBs Darron Lee and Erin Henderson and S Rontez Miles all followed Bell into the right flat and TE Jesse James was left uncovered in the end zone.


HELP UNNECESSARY:** WR Darrius Heyward-Bey and TE Xavier Grimble chipped Jets DL Muhammed Wilkerson before he could get to RT Chris Hubbard on what became a 72-yard touchdown pass to WR Sammie Coates on the Steelers' third offensive snap.

It might have been the most help Hubbard received all afternoon.

Much of the rest of his first NFL start was spent handling Wilkerson or DL Steve McLendon one-on-one or executing switches on stunts with RG David DeCastro. Hubbard also showed the ability to staying with his man despite a stunt, handle double-team blocks with DeCastro or move from Wilkerson to DL Jarvis Jenkins on a combination block.

Training wheels weren't required.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.