Steelers Defensive Breakdown: Limiting Mark Sanchez Key In Week 2 Victory

Sep 16, 2012; Pittsburgh , PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor (24) breaks up a pass intended for New York Jets wide receiver Santonio Holmes (10) during the first half of the game at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-US PRESSWIRE

The Jets offense had a lot of success against the Steelers defense on one particular play; 32 Santonio Draw A Flag.

Four of Pittsburgh's 10 penalties came against the Steelers' secondary, and the Jets got first downs on five penalties overall. The Jets got two penalties on Ike Taylor and a personal foul on Lawrence Timmons that extended their first two drives - the only drives they scored on in the game.

Taylor was savaged with flags all game, and outside of a pretty poor call, they were all more or less justified. He played Santonio Holmes tight in man coverage much of the game, and

The rest of the secondary, though, locked Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez down after a field goal in the second quarter, giving up a donut-for-eight (and 1-for-9 overall) passing on third downs.

Steelers/Jets Coverage: Van Dyke | Roster Review | Big Ben Adapting | Welcome Back Clark | Offensive Play Totals | Defensive Play Totals | Game Story | Inside The Stats: Offense |

The Steelers stopped the Jets on six consecutive drives in the second half, even without the benefit of splash plays. They registered two sacks (and one of them came via Cameron Heyward on the final play of the game) and didn't force a turnover in the final 30 minutes of play, but they swarmed all over the Jets receivers.

A big part of the reason for the Steelers' success was poor hands of those receivers. Momentum-killing drops plagued them in the second half, but the Steelers did a great job in both man and zone coverage, confusing Sanchez into a few poor throws.

The Jets running game, which looked powerful at the start of the game, slowed down by the end, with their last five drives (not including the game-ender) went for 67 total yards. Two of them lasted three plays and held possession for less than one minute.

Before that was a different story, though. The Steelers defensive line was getting blown off the ball to start the game. Outstanding run support by safety Ryan Clark and linebacker Lawrence Timmons limited the damage by the end, but overall it wasn't a great game for the Steelers run defense.

And yet, the Jets barely moved the ball, gaining just 219 yards over 10 drives (including a two-run clock-killer at the end of the first half).

Week 2 goes to show the importance of pass defense in today's game. The Steelers have had success over the last decade (and beyond) limiting if not eliminating an opponent's running game, forcing them to become a one-dimensional team. In Week 2, the Steelers did it the other way around, and the results were very familiar.


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