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Pit stomp: Jets come up short

Steelers’ dominant first half too much to overcome, as they advance to Super Bowl XLV vs. the Packers.

Steelers 24, Jets 19

What went wrong ...

1
Stunned
— So much for that swagger. The Steelers put together a systematic 15-play, 66-yard drive on their first series, capped off by a Rashard Mendenhall touchdown. It set the tone for the rest of the first half, as the Steelers jumped out to a 24-0 lead. “They came at us,” defensive end Shaun Ellis said. “We had a lot of missed tackles.”

2 Running on empty — The halftime score line of 24-3 wasn’t the most lopsided number from the game, it was the running game. At the end of the first half, the Steelers had 135 rushing yards, the Jets 1. This powerful rushing attack allowed the Steelers to hold the ball for more than 21 minutes in the first half. “You can’t play 30 minutes in a game like this, of this magnitude,” quarterback Mark Sanchez said.

3 Schott to the heart — The Jets came back from the dead trailing 24-10 early in the fourth quarter. Mark Sanchez finally looked comfortable, leading a balanced 80-yard drive that ate up more than eight minutes. Then, a devastatingly bad series of play-calling by offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer halted all momentum. Schotty inexplicably called for two pass plays then sent LaDainian Tomlinson, not bruising back Shonn Greene, in on fourth down. LT was stuffed at the point of attack, all but sealing the Jets’ fate. “Well, we tried to score,” head coach Rex Ryan said.

Figured you out

The Jets’ usual formula for success was shut down yesterday in Pittsburgh.

» Week 15, NYJ 22, PIT 17
The Jets got a safety from their defense and a kickoff return TD from?Brad Smith.
» Yesterday’s loss:
The defense came up with another safety, but special teams was unusually ineffective. Steve?Weatherford had a shank and the Jets were called for a costly roughing the punter penalty.

» Wild card, NYJ 17, IND 16
Mark Sanchez erased a halftime deficit with two lengthy scoring drives.
» Yesterday’s loss:
The Jets were stuffed on the goal-line on an all-important lengthy drive in the fourth quarter.

» Divisional, NYJ 28, NE 21
The Jets out-gained the Patriots on the ground and constantly pressured Tom Brady, sacking him a season-high five times.
» Yesterday’s loss:
The Steelers’ injury-plagued O-line was simply too physical for the Jets’ front.

 
 
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