After breezing to a win in the season opener, the Jets came back down to earth in Pittsburgh on Sunday in a 27-10 loss. By the third quarter it never really felt that close. Outside of the opening two series of the game the Jets offense was pathetic and the defense gave up 21 unanswered points from the second quarter to the final whistle.
What went wrong …
1. Not the anointed one
Last week against the Bills, the offense accounted for 34 points while it limited mistakes and made all the right calls. The catalyst was quarterback Mark Sanchez, who threw for 266 yards with three touchdowns and had just a first quarter interception. The headlines hailed his performance. It looked like that would happen again on Sunday as he started the game 4-of-5 for 70 yards, including a 14-yard touchdown pass on a slant route to Santonio Holmes. That score gave the Jets a 7-3 lead. But then the wheels came off for Sanchez, who completed just six passes for the remainder of the game. His performance will do nothing to quiet those who want to see backup quarterback Tim Tebow under center as the Jets’ starter.
2. Defense looks unbalanced
The Steelers offense scored on four of their first fives drives of the game, but the story here was ball security from Pittsburgh. Much was made of the Jets’ three interceptions last week, but the defense was reactive rather than proactive on Sunday. Pittsburgh didn’t have a single turnover. Yes, the Jets were without their best player, cornerback Darrelle Revis, but this was a systemic issue. A total of 10 different Pittsburgh receivers had a catch on Sunday, with four registering multiple catches. The Jets defense look confused, a major reason why the Steelers held the ball for 13 minutes more than New York.
3. LaRon the liability
A couple times against the Bills, Jets safety LaRon Landry went close to getting whistled on penalties. There was zero tolerance for his hard-hitting ways in Pittsburgh. He got called for a personal foul in the second quarter that set up the Steelers’ first touchdown of the game and a 13-10 lead. Then in the third quarter, he had a 15-yard penalty for a horse collar. The Steelers scored two plays later when Ben Roethlisberger found Mike Wallace down the sideline for a 37-yard touchdown. Landry brings plenty of speed and intimidation to the secondary, but his reputation in Washington for boneheaded plays seems to be following him to New York. Perhaps Eric Smith is the best option when he returns to health.
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.