Jets defeat Steelers, 22-17
Steelers' Matt Spaeth celebrates his touchdown catch in the second quarter against the Jets.
Jets' Jason Taylor throws Steelers' Mewelde Moore to the ground in the endzone for a safety in the fourth quarter.
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A lack of discipline both on their kickoff team and in the personal foul department cost the Steelers today as the New York Jets came from behind in the second half to upset them, 22-17, at Heinz Field.
A late safety prevented the Steelers from going for a field goal to tie it on their final drive, which reached the New York 10 with nine seconds left. The game ended there on two incomplete passes into the end zone by Ben Roethlisberger.
The Jets, who had not scored a touchdown in their previous two games, struck on the opening kick of the first half when Brad Smith returned it 97 yards for a touchdown. The Steelers eventually went ahead in the third quarter but two personal fouls cost them dearly, as did several play fakes and trick plays on offense by the Jets.
There were no turnovers in the game and the Troy Polamalu-less Steelers managed just one sack on defense.
The Steelers, losing for the third time at home this season, fell to 10-4 and tumbled back into a first-place tie in the AFC North Division with Baltimore. However, should the Steelers win their final two games -- Thursday at home against Carolina and Jan. 2 at Cleveland -- they will win the division and earn the AFC's No. 2 playoff seed and the bye that goes with it in the first round.
The Jets kept on pace for a wildcard playoff berth with a 10-4 record.
The Jets took the final lead on Nick Folk's 34-yard field goal with 10:07 left. The Steelers seemingly had the Jets stopped when, on third down at the New York 46, Polamalu replacement Ryan Mundy missed a clear shot on a sack of quarterback Mark Sanchez, who then completed a 16-yard pass to Braylon Edwards to keep the scoring drive going.
New York added a two-point safety with 2:38 left when Jason Taylor tackled Mewelde Moore for a 3-yard loss in the end zone on the first play of the Steelers' series.
The Steelers snapped a 10-10 halftime lead on the first series of the third quarter when Rashard Mendenhall ran for a 1-yard touchdown, his 10th rushing this season.
But the Jets came back on their first series to tie it, 17-17. With fourth-and-one at the seven, quarterback Mark Sanchez faked a handoff in the power formation and ran around left end with no defender near him for the score. The drive was highlighted by Braylon Edwards' 15-yard catch and then a hit by safety Ryan Clark to Edwards' head, yielding another 15 yards on the roughing call. It gave the Jets a first down at the 16.
Another 15-yard personal foul stymied a good-looking drive for the Steelers late in the third quarter. Ben Roethlisberger completed a 17-yard pass to Mike Wallace for a first down at the 46. However, tackle Flozell Adams was flagged for hitting Darrelle Revis in the head after the play. The Steelers went back to their 32 and the drive died.
Matt Spaeth, starting at tight end for Heath Miller, scored his first touchdown of the season, a 9-yard pass from Roethlisberger in the first period to tie the game 7-7.
The Steelers special teams returned to those bad, old days of '09 when they allowed four kickoff returns for touchdowns. Sunday, they allowed one when Brad Smith returned the opening kickoff virtually untouched down the right sideline 97 yards for a touchdown and a 7-0 Jets lead.
After flirting with a score on their second series that died at the Jets' 34, the Steelers tied it midway through the second quarter. Roethlisberger hit Spaeth with a 9-yard touchdown pass on third down. It was the fourth third-down conversion of that 96-yard, 16-play drive. It also was the fifth time Roethlisberger sent a pass Spaeth's way and the first time it was completed.
The Jets, though, took a 10-7 lead on the next series that began at their 37 after a poor kickoff. The big play of the series came when Mark Sanchez hit Braylon Edwards with a 38-yard pass over Bryant McFadden to the 11.
Nick Folk kicked a 25-yard field goal to put the Jets on top 10-7.
The Steelers then tied it with 33 seconds left on the half on Shaun Suisham's 42-yard field goal to cap a 10-play 53-yard drive.
First Published December 19, 2010 5:39 pm