At least it was a good run. And for a while there, it seemed like the Jets could really have had a shot at the Super Bowl.
At halftime, thousands of New Yorkers shared the same sinking feeling in the pit of their stomachs — that the Jets just wouldn’t be able to pull this one off. By game’s end, the 24-19 score reflected the cold reality of it: The Pittsburgh Steelers were to be the ones who earned the AFC Championship win — and a trip to Super Bowl XLV.
“Nobody thought we had this locked down going into it,” said 24-year-old Kevin Long, after watching the game’s first quarter at Stout on West 33rd Street.
Things only got worse from there. Just short of halftime, the Steelers’ overpowering defense put another touchdown in the books after forcing a crucial fumble by Jets QB Mark Sanchez, arguably the game’s turning point.
By then, one fan from Smithtown, LI, had all he could take. “We’re getting beat up, the defense has been completely dominated,” he muttered before venturing out from Stout into the bitter cold.
“Pittsburgh is a tough team,” said Vic Bhargave as the third quarter ended and it looked as though the Jets might rally to one of their trademark come-from-behind victories. “Its been a different team in the second half. We have more urgency. If we’d been playing like this at the beginning, this would have been a different game.”
Tough indeed, and they’ll have to be: The Steelers now move on to Cowboys Stadium to face the NFC champion Green Bay Packers on Feb. 6 in Super Bowl XLV.