We had to know it was too good to be true. Ben Roethlisberger was playing video games on opposing defenses and the Steelers were rising through the ranks in the NFL. And then Mike Tomlin’s squad went on the road to play a 1-8 team, and we should know what to expect by now. The Steelers fell flat against a punch line of an organization led by a coach everyone forgot about and the ghost of Michael Vick. If you feel like the Steelers are an 8-8 team again, Sunday reinforced that notion. For every game you win impressively, you lose one in deflating fashion. That’s what makes a team .500, and with another game against a bad team in primetime next week, we’ll see if the trend continues.
The Steelers defer the opening kickoff.
“Come at me, Jets.”
Percy Harvin gets the call first on a short end-around. The Jets employ a series of short, high-percentage passes to open up running lanes and they march down the field on their opening drive. William Gay gets torched in the backfield missing a tackle. Willie Colon takes a penalty for the Jets, just to remind Steeler fans he’s still in the league.
Michael Vick and Chris Ivory work the Jets into a goal-to-go situation. The Steelers hold the line, and the Jets barely sneak a short field goal through the uprights. 3-0.
For some reason, LeGarrette Blount is still deep on kickoffs, so the Steelers start from about their own 20.
The odd trio of Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant, and Darrius Heyward-Bey come out with the starting offense. While all the talk has been about Ben Roethlisberger’s unstoppable right arm, Le’Veon Bell gets the early carries to start things off.
It’s Brown who catches the first football to convert a short 3rd down. Will Johnson catches a ball for a loss somehow, the Steelers burn a time out, and the drive stalls there.
Not the best drive out of the Steelers.
Vick goes deep to some dude. 10-0.
Real talk: Michael Vick in his prime was the most exciting football player I’ve ever seen.
Antonio Brown fumbles. Not enough video evidence to overturn the call, and the Jets take over in the red zone. Vick jukes Brice McCain off the surface of the earth. Another guy you’ve never heard of catches a touchdown pass. 17-0.
Markus Wheaton runs the kickoff almost to the 30. See, it isn’t that hard to find acceptable replacement-level kickof returners.
Bell picks up a respectable gain on a screen pass. The Steelers take a delay of game penalty, but Jason Babin still charges through David DeCastro and dives
into Ben’s legs as the referees are blowing whistles. That actually undoes the delay of game in favor of a personal foul.
“HURRRR I’M A IDJIT” -Jason Babin
Ben improvises under pressure and turns a sack into a sloppy completion to Bell for a few yards. Blount crunches through a pile for a first down. Bell checks back in the game and moves the ball on the ground.
Ben goes for Bryant at the goal line, and the pass gets batted away. A Jet dives under it for an interception.
Sometimes the other team just makes a play.
The Jets get a big play wiped out by offensive pass interference. Cam Heyward chases Vick to the outside on 3rd & long and he gets bumped out of bounds. He
loses the football and his helmet, but gets up yelling at someone about something.
Heyward has the presence of mind to dive onto the football. Tomlin challenges to try and get the football back. Everyone thinks it’s Steelers’ ball, but
they stay with the call on the field and the Jets keep the ball.
Aside: That’s the right call. Whistles had been blowing for a few seconds because the nearest referee thought the play was dead. Even if he was wrong, the so-called “Hochuli Rule” protects players who have a clear and immediate recovery of a loose football. Heyward took a good few seconds after the whistle to dive on the ball while other players were standing around. Like it or not, they should not have awarded possession to the Steelers. And they didn’t.
Also Antonio Brown muffs the punt and the Jets recover.
Nick Folk misses a field goal.
The Steelers take over with no time outs and about 40 seconds left, and they immediately run a quick screen pass to Bell. The clock starts running so the Steelers have to spike the ball after every play. They manage to cross into Jet territory and clock it with one second on the clock.
Suisham breaks the shutout from 53 yards away. 17-3.
Bunny break. We could all use it.
Coming out of the half, Ben is now allowed to throw footballs. The Steelers suddenly start getting first downs. Ben gets cocky or something, because he ends the drive by lofting a gorgeous rainbow pass to this Jarrett guy who keeps getting all the turnovers.
The Jets shoot themselves in the foot with a false start on 3rd & 1. Antwon Blake makes a textbook tackle on the next play and the Jets have to punt.
The Ben from two weeks ago is still M.I.A. and the current incarnation misfires on three straight passes. The Steelers punt it right back.
Vick rolls out and takes off down the sideline for like 20 yards. Harvin gets back in the game and the Jets continue their march into the red zone. Vick calls a time out. William Gay can’t hold on to an easy interception from Vick, so the Jets manage another field goal. 20-3.
Ben goes deep for Bryant, who finally goes up to get the football. Heath Miller sees his first few targets of the game and pulls the offense forward. The “Heath” cheer is audible in New York.
Bell gets stuffed on 3rd & 1 near the goal line.
Suisham shanks a 23 yard field goal.
oh hey there
Jason Worilds finally sacks Vick. The Jets punt.
Markus Wheaton picks up a first down to the outside. Bryant gets the call on a screen and Brown picks up the first down. Bryant drops a pass so Ben goes back to Brown.
This drive brought to you by the letter ‘B’
Ben throws for James Harrison at the goal line. One referee sees him and instinctively calls someone for roughing the passer.
Cunning deception to play the refs like that.
LeGarrette Blount is gifted with 1st & goal from the half yard line and somehow turns it into 3rd & goal at the 10. Suisham makes it from 27 this time. 20-6.
The Steelers go with the onside kick and Darrius Heyward-Bey recovers it. A flag for a bogus offside negates the recovery because it’s just that kind of day. They kick it deep and turn the game over to the defense with six minutes left.
The Jets get a few first downs and shave some time off the clock, but they eventually punt it away with 4:07 left.
Ben goes to Wheaton on back-to-back plays. The Steelers go no-huddle but without much sense of urgency. A bad snap flies over Bens head and he goes for it on 4th & 21. He throws an injured duck to Antonio Brown and the Jets take over on downs.
Vick takes an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty while the Jets are running the clock down because he’s an idiot. Rex Ryan follows suit and gets a bench penalty chasing down Terry McAulay to scream at him for it.
Go lick a foot.
It’s 4th & 100 miles so the Jets punt. Ben flings the football deep. The Jets are probably already in the locker room and Martavis Bryant scores. 20-13.
Like it was that easy all along.
Eric Decker catches the onside kick. The Jets take a knee and Mike Mitchell tries to jump the center like Troy Polamalu used to be able to do. Everyone starts fighting. Whatever.
A man called Josh summed the game up pretty succinctly:
— Joshua Cypess (@JoshuaCypess) November 9, 2014
-Really well officiated game overall by Terry McAulay and his crew. If we point out every time they make a mistake, it’s only fair to give them credit when they do well.
-Except for that offside call on the Steelers’ onside kick. That was wrong.
-Will Mike Tomlin continue to plead ignorance about his team’s trend against losing teams if they fall to Tennessee next week?