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Not All Went Wrong For Steelers In Sunday's Loss To Jets

We've been over the negatives - of which there were many - from Sunday's embarassing loss to the Jets. Well, the news doesn't get any better just yet. If we're to play better next Monday night, we'll have to do it without Santonio Holmes and Troy Polamalu, both of whom are listed as doubtful.

Despite the shoddy, uninspired play and poor execution on offense, there was cerintaly one big positive to take away from Sunday's game: the goal line defense.

Goal Line Stand #1:

As the 2-minute warning of the first half approached, the Jets took over at the Pittsburgh 49 yard line after picking off Ben Roethlisberger. Armed with three timeouts, the 2:00 warning, and a short field to work with, not to mention a 10-7 lead, the Jets were sitting pretty to pad their lead heading into half time. Just a few plays later, Thomas Jones made Polamalu whiff, then bounced off another would-be tackler before finally being brought down at the two by Anthony Smith.

1st and 2 from the Pittsburgh 2: Thomas Jones is stuffed by Farrior and Harrison.

2nd and 2 from Pittsburgh 2: Kellen Clemons fumbles into the endzone as he scrambled to the right pylon. The ball took a Steelers bounce and stayed in bounds long enough to pass over the goal-line before tumbling out. Touchback! Wait, defensive holding. Half the distance and automatic first down. So much for holding them to a FG I assumed.

1st and goal from Pittsburgh 1: Thomas Jones took it behind his right guard and tried to elevate over the goal line for the score. Denied by Tyrone Carter and Clark Haggans for no gain, and the Jets have to use their final timeout. Now the Jets have no choice but to throw it, lest they risk running out of time if a running play failed.

2nd and goal from Pittsburgh 1: Incomplete pass on a terrible play call (I hate the fade pattern unless you're throwing to Randy Moss, Plaxico, etc. Certainly not to Brad Smith, a former college QB).

3rd and goal from Pittsburgh 1: With just seconds left, the Jets are forced to kick a FG, and the Steelers stay within a mere 6 points of the Jets despite playing one of their worst halves of football all year.      

5 plays from inside the 2 yard line and we stand strong. Very, very impressive.

Despite poor tackling for most of the day, the Steelers D buckled down around the goal line

Goal Line Stand #2:

Granted, this was not really a goal-line stand like the one made in the first half, and it was pathetic that the Jets even gotten into position in the first place, but I was still proud of the fact that the D finally buckled down on the Jets last drive and held them to a game-tying FG. I should also note that the Jets bungled this one a bit, so even less praise should be directed the Steelers way. Still, they made the one play they needed to to keep the Jets out of the endzone (although if you analyze the above picture, you'll quickly notice Brad Smith should have made that catch to end the game in regulation). Nevertheless, the Jets had the ball at the Steelers 5 with 37 seconds remaining and one final timeout. After spiking the ball to stop the clock, the Jets were inexcusably penalized 5 yards on a Delay of Game penalty, sending them back to the 10, where it's harder to pull off a successful running play.

Honestly, as happy as I was to see us finally get after the Jets on those two handfulls of plays, it was disappointing that it took us that long to A) play with any edge and toughness on D and B) bring maximum pressure at Clemens that final drive.

Most self-respecting football fans despise the prevent defense in the 2-minute situation. It just doesn't work, especially in the pros where QB and WR can throw the quick stuff to the sidelines in their sleep. You gotta force a young'n like Clemens to make quick decisions even at the risk of giving up a big play.

An up-and-down day for the defense, but the goal-line stand in the first half was most certainly one of the few things we can look back at favorably.