What a ride! This roller coaster season has ups and downs even within individual games. Following the Steelers’ first drive that ended with a perfect 72-yard touchdown pass from Ben Roethlisberger to Sammie Coates, it looked as if the Steelers were about to hang fifty points on the listless NY Jets. While they did put up 31-points and only allow 13, they left points out ther,e and there were some head-scratching moments during the game.
Follow along as I show you what I saw.
What worked: The bumblebee jerseys making their final appearance with a win. The Steelers’ version of the triplets worked very well. Ben, Bell and Brown all made big plays and moved the ball. The next man up. Anyone still questioning Vince Williams’ value to this team should look at his stat line the last two weeks. From my seat, it looks like that contract extension he signed was worth every cent and then some. Williams is playing smart, and playing fast. He’s making plays from sideline-to-sideline, and even in the backfield. Playing middle linebacker with a tackling machine next to him in Lawrence Timmons, Williams led the team in tackles and added a sack for a second week in a row.
Ben’s confidence in Sammie Coates continues to grow, despite a few drops and not finishing his route on the missed touchdown in the middle of the end zone. The offense looked confident despite playing with their third string right tackle. Jesse James is quietly building a nice rapport with his quarterback.
Defensive adjustments in the second half kept Brandon Marshall to 31 second half yards. I could ramble more about what worked, but suffice it to say the Steelers did what good teams do. They overcame adversity in the form of injuries, and some sloppy play, and made the adjustments they needed. They kept their foot on the gas and powered forward for the 18-point win.
What Didn’t Work: A fake punt. Honestly I thought it had a chance, but Jordan Berry is just not fast enough to outrun defenders. Questionable call? Sure it was, but I for one like it when Tomlin takes a chance occasionally.
The *&^%$* injury bug. Now Cameron Heyward has a hamstring injury which was severe enough to warrant an MRI. I could talk about Sammie Coates struggling, but I won’t. He, like his team, overcame and had a really good stat line. In a game where the Steelers could have accepted some miscues and missed opportunities, but instead dug deep and continued to put up points while holding the Jets to 13, I have a hard time finding too much wrong.
At the end of the day, this is exactly the type of game the Steelers needed. They’re not going to have the type of game they did against KC every week. They will be tested. Their skills, their mettle and their fortitude were all put to the test on Sunday. As a team, the Steelers put on their big boy pants, made some adjustments and kept on truckin’. They didn’t buckle and didn’t regress under a little bit of adversity. This is the type of game teams with Super Bowl aspirations win, and they won big.