The Steelers lost to the expansion Texans by the count of 24-6 back in 2002 despite tallying 422 yards to Houston's 47. Five turnovers did the Steelers in that day and four turnovers in New York did the Steelers in, as Pittsburgh fell to the Jets, 20-13.
Pittsburgh's offense mustered nearly 100 more total yards than New York's offense. They converted more than half of their third downs. Ben Roethlisberger once again topped 320 passing yards. But a lack of a running game and a contagious case of the turnovers were too much for Pittsburgh to overcome. An inexcusable, missed 23-yard field goal doesn't help either.
After three-straight victories at home, you knew the Steelers wouldn't be able to play at this high level forever. But to fall this hard? Against a team that had lost eight consecutive games? No one saw this coming. And while it's way too early to panic, this loss is ugly enough to conjure up some serious concern about the future of this team.
Simply put, the Steelers couldn't match the Jets' level of intensity on Sunday. They weren't as focused, not as sharp, and showed a lack of poise more typical of a team with New York's overall record than Pittsburgh. It was a complete 180 turnaround from what the team showed in their last three games. All except for the team's slow start, which has become something of a trend. Pittsburgh started slow against Houston and Baltimore before coming to life in the second quarter of both games. The Steelers again sleepwalked through the early stages of Sunday's game but, unlike the past few weeks, they weren't able to overcome their slow start.
While this Steelers team is better than their outfits of the previous two seasons, they're not good enough to give anything less than their best effort and expect a victory. Let's hope that message hits home as the team flies back home to Pittsburgh tonight, hopefully leaving today's stink-bomb of a game in the Big Apple where it belongs.