The Jets entered their Week 5 matchup with a plethora of secondary issues, and it was further exploited by the Steelers’ aerial attack in a 31-13 defeat.
Ben Roethlisberger was his usual stellar self tossing four touchdowns en route to a 34-of-47, 380-yard afternoon against a Jets secondary that was already struggling and looked even worse without the services of the injured Darrelle Revis. The future Hall of Famer and Pittsburgh native missed the game due to a lingering hamstring injury, but the way Roethlisberger was slinging the ball around the field, it probably wouldn’t have mattered if Revis was available.
The Steelers (4-1) used four long scoring drives of at least 75 yards to run the Jets (1-4) ragged, particularly late when Pittsburgh was nursing a two-possession lead and in their time-consuming four-minute offense.
New York just didn’t have any answers for the black and gold, as its impressive first half gave way to a very unproductive — and scoreless — second half.
Here’s a look at what happened, as the Jets’ season is in peril.
1. Primary problems in the secondary
Roethlisberger and company had their ways with the Jets secondary, as the quarterback connected with six different receivers. At one point in time, Roethlisberger had 14-straight completions, essentially salting away the game late — following a peculiar decision from Todd Bowles to eschew a short fourth-down attempt near midfield and down two possessions and punt midway through the final stanza. Big Ben’s favorite target was of course Antonio Brown, who snared nine receptions for 78 yards and a touchdown — including a no-frills reaction on the score. Sammie Coates remained Roethlisberger’s most beloved big-play target, though, with a game-high 139 yards on six catches (11 targets) and two touchdowns. Running back Le’Veon Bell wasn’t to be outdone, as he matched the starting wideouts with 11 targets of his own en route to a nine-catch, 98-yard afternoon. The Jets secondary has been under siege all season, as the 71 percent completion rate to opposing quarterbacks can attest — and Roethlisberger one-upped that with a 72 percent rate.
2. No rush at all
Roethlisberger was clean for most of the game, and had too much time to pick and choose his targets, as the Jets could only muster one sack. It’s been a surprising and quizzical decline in the pass rush department for a Jets front seven that entered the game with 11 sacks. But seven of those sacks came in the opener and there have only been five since. It’s a perilous combination for a Jets defense that has had problems covering in the secondary, because if the pass rush can’t help cover their warts, it’s going to continue to be a long and ugly season for Gang Green.
For once, Ryan Fitzpatrick wasn’t the primary reason for a defeat, as he went 25-of-38 for 255 yards and a touchdown — and no interceptions. He was sacked three times and when he did have time to throw, he didn’t get much help from his supporting cast. Even wideout Brandon Marshall — who had a great statistical game with eight catches for 114 yards and a touchdown — had his issues at times, botching three of his 15 targets — accounting for a game-high three drops. The Jets entered the game with nine drops, which was the third in the league, and helped that stat go up with a rough day in Pittsburgh.
Gang Green notes:
- Brandon Bostic registered the first Jets reception by a tight end at the 10:10 mark of the first quarter — in the fifth game of the season.