Down 24-3 entering the second half, it’s pretty evident why the New York Jets lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers 24-19 in the AFC Championship game last night.
But look a little deeper and you’ll see that the Jets were poised to take over the game in the second half and come away with the victory.
Starting at their own 19 with 50 seconds left in the third quarter, and down 24-10, there was plenty of time left to do something. With the Jets defense finally awakened, it was now up to Offensive Coordinator Brian Schottenheimer and the Jets offense to make some noise.
What would occur on that drive would decide the game.
13 plays to be exact. 13 plays and 8:39 left in the game got the Jets to the Steelers’ 2-yard line. Over 7 minutes of offense to get to the 2 yard down, down by 14. A score and the Jets would have been down by 7 with over 8 minutes to play. Plenty of time. A new game.
First down: Shonn Greene up the middle for one yard.
Then chaos. Jets QB Mark Sanchez would go on to say that the radio in his helmet had gone haywire, something that was happening all game. “The problem was the headset kept going out multiple times during the game,” Sanchez said. “I had to run over and get a couple of calls, piece together some calls in the headset that came in broken up. It’s just one of those things that we were fighting through and I was proud of our guys for trying to piece it together.”
Second Down: Hurrying to get the play off as the play-clock hit zero, Sanchez threw a low pass into the end zone for tight end Dustin Keller; incomplete.
Third Down: Run with Greene? Nope, Schottenheimer would call another pass, this time a slant to Santonio Holmes that would be easily broken up by LB LaMarr Woodley.
Fourth Down: Run with Greene? Nope, Schottenheimer would try a run up the middle with LaDainian Tomlinson. Result: Stuffed. No gain. “I couldn’t get the ball up to extend it,” LT said.
Turnover on downs. Game over. Another lost opportunity for the Jets. By throwing the ball on second and third down within the Steelers 1 yard line, Schottenheimer did not give the Jets the best opportunity to win. Say what you will about the headsets and the Jets trying to confuse the Steelers; the fact is the ‘Ground and Pound’ did not show up when it mattered most.