STEELERS 19, N.Y. JETS 6
Steelers' record: 1-4
One year ago: 2-3
Series record (including playoffs): Steelers lead, 19-4
Whenever a team gets to 0-4, especially a team unaccustomed to losing, there is a tendency for a "here we go again" mentality to take hold at the first sign of adversity. Coach Mike Tomlin is aware of that and saw it as a factor heading into the game against the Jets. "We have to have unwavering belief in the midst of the adversity that happens in every football game. Sometimes when you're 0-4, you're capable of wearing adversity differently. We can't wear it differently. We can't carry bags into the stadium. Regardless of what happens, you recognize there's going to be a little bit of adversity in 60 minute football games."
It was a third-and-1, a running situation for a team looking for its first victory of the season. But off play-action, Ben Roethlisberger hooked up with a wide open Emmanuel Sanders for a 55-yard touchdown. That broke the ice for the Steelers, who played much looser after that.
STAT THAT STANDS OUT
* When Shaun Suisham kicked a 35-yard field goal with 5:25 left in the first half to give the Steelers a 6-3 lead, it marked only the third time in the four-plus games that the Steelers were ahead of their opponent. The Steelers led the Titans, 2-0, in the opener, and they lead the Bengals, 3-0, in the opening stages of the season's second game.
- When Suisham connected on his fourth field goal of the day, he had made 42 of his last 43 attempts inside 50 yards out.
WHAT WENT RIGHT
* On a first-and-15 from the Pittsburgh 5-yard line, DE Muhammad Wilkerson beat LT Kelvin Beachum with a quick move to the inside and had a clean shot at Ben Roethlisberger in the end zone for a safety. Roethlisberger shook loose and was able to throw the ball away. Instead of the Jets owning a 2-0 lead, Zoltan Mesko got off a 47-yard punt, and the Jets ended up starting the possession at the Pittsburgh 45-yard line.
- On the possession following Mesko's punt, the Jets drove to a first down at the Steelers' 11-yard line, and then faced a third-and-1 at the 2-yard line. Cameron Heyward then stopped Bilal Powell for no gain, and after a penalty the Jets settled for a 25-yard field goal and a 3-0 lead.
- The ebb and flow of an NFL game. A holding penalty on Kelvin Beachum went a long way toward putting the Steelers into a third-and-15 hole from their 27-yard line, but Antonio Brown rescued them by taking a short pass and weaving it into a 16-yard gain. On the next play, Heath Miller got beat for a sack by Garrett McIntyre for an 8-yard loss, but then on the next play he went over safety Antonio Allen to catch a pass for a 31-yard gain that helped set up Shaun Suisham's 46-yard field goal that tied the game, 3-3, early in the second quarter.
- The Jets possession following Suisham's field goal was ended by a 10-yard sack by Jason Worilds on third down that forced a punt. The Jets' following possession was ended by a third-down sack by LaMarr Woodley that also forced a punt.
- When Shaun Suisham kicked a 48-yard field goal with 45 seconds left in the first half to make it 9-3, that six-point margin represented the Steelers' largest lead of the regular season.
- After the Steelers defense pitched a three-and-out to open the second half, the offense took the punt and gained 9 yards on two runs to set up a third-and-one at the 45-yard line. Using play-action to spring Emmanuel Sanders free in the secondary, Ben Roethlisberger lofted a perfect pass to complete the 55-yard touchdown that gave the Steelers a 16-6 lead less than three minutes into the second half.
- Punting from his own 27-yard line midway through the third quarter, Zoltan Mesko didn't get off a boomer, but gunner Shamarko Thomas was close enough to the ball when it landed to keep the Jets' returner away from it, and the punt rolled out of bounds at the 25-yard line for a 48-yard net.
- Two snaps after he missed a tackle on Jets RB Mike Woodson on an 18-yard run, Jarvis Jones pressured and hit Geno Smith as he was attempting to pass. The ball fluttered and was intercepted by Lawrence Timmons, who returned it 23 yards out to the 27-yard line to preserve the 19-6 lead.
WHAT WENT WRONG
* It started going badly even before the game began. Levi Brown, acquired in a trade during the bye to solidify the team's situation at left tackle, injured his right triceps during pregame warmups. Because it happened after the Steelers already had submitted their list of inactive players for the game – a list that included Mike Adams – they were forced to play the game with 45 guys instead of 46, and only six of those were offensive linemen. Guy Whimper was the only reserve along the offensive line.
- With the game tied, 3-3, the Steelers were facing a third-and-7 from the Jets 15-yard line. Under heavy pressure from OLB Quinton Coples, Ben Roethlisberger rifled a back-shoulder pass to Antonio Brown close to the pylon just across the goal-line. Brown, covered by Antonio Cromartie, couldn't hold onto the pass, and the Steelers settled for a field goal.
- Owning a 9-3 lead – their largest of the season – with 45 seconds remaining, the Steelers defense allowed the Jets to drive 51 yards in seven plays with the possession ending with a 39-yard field goal that made it 9-6 at halftime.
- The Steelers defense forced the Jets to punt with 4:11 left in the third period, but instead of the offense starting its possession close to the 35-yard line, an illegal block penalty on Curtis Brown moved it back to the Pittsburgh 21-yard line.
- Early in the fourth quarter, a second-and-goal from the Jets' 5-yard line became a second-and-goal from the 15-yard line as the result of a holding penalty on Kelvin Beachum.
- It was a third-and-3 late enough in the fourth quarter of a game the Steelers were leading by 19-3, a time in the game when a third-down conversion could have milked a couple of precious minutes off the clock. But Muhammad Wilkerson got away from Ramon Foster and sacked Ben Roethlisberger to force a punt.