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Steelers-Jets Recap Week 15

The Steelers allow a fairly unimpressive Jets team to come into Heinz Field and walk away with the win, 22-17.

– Ben started off slowly once again. There were a couple misfired passes here and there. As the game progressed Ben heated up and made some really nice passes. But once again, Ben seems to always look for the “homerun ball” when it’s not necessarily there and the offense suffers as drives stall out because of it. Ben did lead the Steelers from their own 8 yard line all the way down to the Jet 10 in the final minutes of the game but the victory was not meant to be as Ben flung two incompletions into the endzone as time expired.

– The Jets run defense was sloppy and shoddy today and Mendenhall made them pay for it. Mendy had one of his better games of the year, making great moves here and there to elude defenders and running with some nice authority at the LOS. He ended the game with 100 yards, the first time a RB has done that to the Jets all year. With the Jets defense blitzing a good bit, Mendy was, bizarrely, barely used in the passing game. Moore had a couple decent carries but was tackled for a key safety late in the game.

– Mike Wallace had over 100 yards and 7 grabs today to lead the WR’s. A good game overall, but there were a couple plays where his effort was a little questionable in getting to balls thrown his way. He also seemed to be off on his reads. He needs to step it up more as he is the #1 WR on this team now. Manny Sanders continues to play great, also grabbing 7 balls, some at crucial times in the game. Ward was fairly quiet with just 2 grabs. The other rookie WR, Antonio Brown also chipped in 2 grabs. Matt Spaeth was thrown the ball to about 100 times in this game and came away with 3 grabs. Why isn’t Miller thrown to that much in a game we’ll probably never know. Randel El caught 1 pass early in the game and then everyone watching the game forgot he was even on the team.

– The O-line actually played another decent game. Much improved over the last couple games where they were atrocious. Scott was once again the weaklink, he was the main culprit for the safety (aside from the playcall) and was once again sloppy in pass protection. The O-line overall did a real good job in the run game and OK with pass protection. Adams had a completely retarded personal foul penalty where he headbutted a Jet player. What a dumbass.

– The D-line played probably one of their worst games of the year. Hood did get some pressure on Sanchez on a couple plays and Kiesel had a nice blocked pass when the Jets were inside the Steeler redzone but aside from that not too impressive today. The Jets O-line was consistently getting a push on run plays.

– Probably one of the quietest games for the LB corps all year. Hardly any impact plays and no sacks except for 1 which was credited to Farrior, but it wasn’t really a sack as Sanchez didn’t lose yards and was running with the ball. Timmons did have a monster game in the tackling department, finishing with 10 tackles and 3 assists and Harrison also chipped in with 7 tackles and 3 assists. Woodley had another disappearing act in this game, finishing with just 2 tackles and a few pressures but not much. That has been ongoing trend with Lamar. Farrior chipped in with 6 tackles but didn’t do too much either.

– The secondary, without Troy, played OK. Mundy had a nice pass defense late in the game but was quiet apart from that. McFadden and Taylor both started the game off with some sloppy play and pass coverage but improved as the game progressed. Taylor played well against former teammate Santonio Holmes. Gay and Clark were both fairly quiet.

– The ST’s were horrible today outside of Suisham’s performance on FG’s, which continues to amaze. Bad kickoffs, bad coverage, bad punting.

– Lebeau was back to his old ways without Troy in the lineup. Instead of the aggressive defense that we’ve seen in recent weeks, Lebeau went back to a more passive style defense with some blitzing thrown in here and there. The Jets offense, which hadn’t scored an offensive TD since Thanksgiving! scored one in this game, along with 6 more points on top of that. Most of these points were scored on time-consuming drives. The Jets employed a lot of misdirection and trickery and Lebeau was clearly caught unaware as the Jets gained 1st downs late in the game while holding onto a slim lead. Not a good day for the legend.

– I’m getting a little sick and tired of writing the same thing about Arians every week. Was this week any different? Not really. It was the usual grab bag offense, the only difference was the Steelers were more aggressive early in the game on early downs. But it’s the same scheme where the entire weight of the offense is on Ben to sit back in the pocket and wait and wait and wait until a WR comes open 20 yards downfield. Again, hardly any short passes. There was one slant play to Spaeth that was a great quick release type play that went for almost 10 yards. Do we see it again in the game? Of course not. Later in the game Arians threw in some bizarre, overly conservative plays with the Steelers trailing, including the shotgun draw to Moore that resulted in a safety. What was also mind boggling is some of the personnel sets Arians sent out in the final seconds of the game as the Steelers offense was on the Jets 10. Isaac Redman, the FB, for some reason was lined up as the outside WR! Why? What is the point of that when you have Wallace and two potentially great rookie WR’s in Sander and Brown?? The bottomline is the Steelers were clearly aware that the offense needed to score more points with Troy out of the lineup but in the end only 17 were scored. That is a failure and it’s about the 7th or 8th time this offense has failed to score more than 20 points in a game this year.

– Tomlin pulled another turkey today, but unfortunately for him Troy was not in the lineup to make up for the coaching blunders on this team. Ben, the other game-saver on the team, almost pulled this team’s ass out of the fire but couldn’t quite do it. I guess it’s hard to be superman every week. Tomlin once again allowed his team to come out more flat and duller than a butter knife, allowing the Jets opening kickoff to go for a TD. The ST’s continues to slide as the season progresses. The discipline on this team is somewhat questionable as the Steelers were called for yet another stupid personal foul as Flozel Adams headbutted a Jets player. Another VERY questionable call in this game was when Tomlin elected to punt the ball at the Jets 34 on a 4th and 5 early in the game. The net difference was a measly 12 yards as the Jets returned the punt to the 22. How the hell does a punt coverage unit allow a punt return in that situation? It’s this type of overly conservative approach that hinders this team and Tomlin as a coach. Overall, Tomlin and his staff were outcoached today by an inferior team.

– Overall, a bad loss. Every phase of the team failed at critical moments or simply failed to deliver. The good news is the Steelers, somehow through the bizarre playoff rules of the NFL, clinched a playoff spot even with the loss. The bad news is the Steelers will not last very long in the playoffs if the team plays like they did today.

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