By Dale Grdnic
PITTSBURGH — The New York Jets and Pittsburgh Steelers were missing three starters each due to injuries, but that didn’t stop their AFC matchup — won by the Steelers, 27-10 — from being entertaining Sunday at Heinz Field.
The Steelers secured the victory on a 37-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to Mike Wallace midway through the third quarter. To set up the scoring pass, Roethlisberger hit Antonio Brown for 11, but LaRon Landry’s horse-collar tackle added 15 yards to get the Steelers into scoring range. Three plays later, on third-and-16, Wallace beat Antonio Cromartie with a leaping grab in the end zone.
The final nail in the Jets was a 14-play, 75-yard drive in an amazing 10:13. Isaac Redman returned to make a couple big plays on receptions and plow in from the 2 for the touchdown. Jonathan Dwyer had touch, physical runs in the red zone to get it to the 2, and Roethlisberger hit Brown for nine and Heath Miller for 11 and two clutch first downs.
The Steelers scored three times during the first half, including two 45-yard field goals by Shaun Suisham and a short touchdown pass from Roethlisberger to Miller, on drives that lasted 10, nine and 11 plays, respectively. The Jets needed just eight plays to score their first touchdown, a three-yard toss from Mark Sanchez to Santonio Holmes, and added a 38-yard field goal by Nick Folk to cap a 12-play possession.
The Steelers took a lead into the locker room at halftime, 13-10, when Roethlisberger led an 11-play, 80-yard drive in 5:40 with several key pass plays. He hit running back Jonathan Dwyer for 12 yards and Emmanuel Sanders for 10. Sanders also caught a 19-yarder later in the drive, and a late hit by Landry on the play gave the Steelers 13 more yards to the 14.
Dwyer ran for six yards and one to make it third-and-three, but Roethlisberger found Jerricho Cotchery for six to the 1 and a first-and-goal. Roethlisberger stuck a quick pass into Cotchery, who held on in traffic. On the ensuing play, Miller beat linebacker Calvin Pace to the outside for the easy TD.
Despite lengthy drives on their opening two possessions, the Steelers had to settle for long Suisham field goals. The Steelers’ opening drive lasted 10 plays and 5:53 as Brown ran for nine on a reverse for a first down, and Roethlisberger connected with Wallace for 10. He also flipped a screen out to fullback Will Johnson, who rumbled 26 yards to the 19, but a negative run by Isaac Redman and sack forced the field-goal attempt.
Suishman’s second field-goal drive lasted nine plays and 4:23, and big plays were for 10 yards on a pass to Brown, a 13-yard run by Redman and 18-yard pass to Brown, but the drive stalled on negative runs by Redman and Rainey. And Suisham had to kick a field goal.
The only Jets touchdown was a spectacular eight-play, 90-yard drive that was capped by a 14-yard scoring pass from Sanchez to Holmes. The two also hooked up for an 11-yard gain early in the drive or the Jets would have had to punt from deep in their territory. Then came a pass-interference call on Ike Taylor, who was whistled twice while watching Holmes even though he did not touch him either time. The second call, Holmes actually was open. That’s how far off Taylor was, and he still got called.
Sanchez connected with Jeremy Kerley for 45 yards, and on a third-and-three play from the 14, he hit Holmes in the end zone.
Notes: Pittsburgh won the time of possession battle, 36:36 to 23:24…..Jet QB Mark Sanchez went 10/27 for 138 yards and 1 TD and completed just six passes after going 4 of 5 on the Jets opening drive of the game that resulted in a Sanchez 14 yard TD pass to Santonio Holmes……Pittsburgh went 8-15 on third down……Jets QB Tim Tebow had 1 rush for 22 yards in the game…..
QB Ben Roethlisberger – 24/31, 275 yards, 2 TD, 125.1 QB rating
RB Jonathan Dwyer 12 CAR – 28 Yards
RB Isaac Redman 12 CAR – 25 Yards – 1 TD
WR Antonio Brown 7 REC – 79 Yards
WR Mike Wallace 5 REC – 74 Yards – 1 TD
WR Emmanuel Sanders 3 REC – 33 Yards
FB Will Johnson 1 REC – 26 Yards
TE Heath Miller 3 REC – 19 Yards – 1 TD
RB Isaac Redman 1 REC – 14 Yards
RB Jonathan Dwyer 1 REC – 12 Yards
TE Leonard Pope 1 REC – 7 Yards
WR Jerricho Cotchery 1 REC – 6 Yards
RB Chris Rainey 1 REC – 5 Yards
Ryan Clark 8 tackles
Larry Foote 7 tackles
Brett Keisel 5 tackles
Ryan Mundy 5 tackles
Lawrence Timmons 4 tackles
Casey Hampton 3 tackles
Keenan Lewis 3 tackles
LaMarr Woodley 2 tackles, 1 sack
Steve McLendon 2 tackles
Cam Heyward 1 tackle, 1 sack
Brandon Johnson 1 tackle
Ziggy Hood 1 tackle
Cortez Allen 1 tackle
K Shaun Suisham 2/2 FG
P Drew Butler 5 Punts for 205 yards, 41.0 AVG