Observations from yet another AFC Title game loss, this time in Pittsburgh to a Steelers team they had beaten by five just a few weeks ago.
1. Tackling – Not sure what happened, but in the first half of the loss, the team picked a bad time to forget how to tackle. They made Rashard Mendenhall look like Jim Brown in his prime. He broke tackles, and took screen passes and pushed Jets would-be tacklers aside all night. By the time the Jets defense started putting up a fight, they were down 24-0, and by then it was simply too late.
2. Wide Outs Nowhere to be found – While Santonio Holmes’ touchdown gave the Jets a shot of hope early in the third quarter, too often in the loss the combo of he and Braylon Edwards were invisible at best. Sure the Steelers pass rush had a lot to do with it, but at the same time, these are two guys that were paid to make plays, and it was tough to watch them play after play get little separation from the Steelers corners.
3. No sense of panic – Your down by two scores, you have scored just one TD all night, and your walking to the line of scrimmage wasting valuable time left in your season. Get the point? The Jets too often didn’t play with any sense of urgency, and wasted a long drive that they needed to get points on. Instead, the scene of Sanchez rushing to the sideline to get the plays was often a sight that made you want to throw a shoe though a TV. Forget about the excuse of the headset not working. Not good enough, and there’s ways around it, and the Jets didn’t play like it in the biggest game of the year.
4. All Bark, No Bite – Let’s face it, the Jets were flat. The fact the Steelers went on a drive that used up over half the first quarter showed that the team was not inspired to play Jets football. The team tried to put on a brave face, but the Steelers simply were the more physical team for the first 30 minutes, and that was enough to build a lead that was too much to overcome. Playing three games, on the road is a lot to ask of any team, and the Jets did their best to try and pretend it wasn’t a factor, but it was, and it showed with the way the Steelers played.