The Jets lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday 19-6. It was another bump along the road of development for Geno Smith and a painful loss littered with injuries. A desperate, winless Pittsburgh team coming off of a bye faced a Jet team coming off of an emotional win on Monday night with only three days to practice and their arch rival next week is a recipe for an upset. How did it happen? Here is the good, the bad & the ugly:
1) The run defense – The Jets held the Steelers to 2.8 yards per carry today as the Steelers could get nothing going on the ground. Le’Von Bell had just 34 yards on 16 carries. David Harris who had 10 tackles (6 solo) as well as a sack, a tackle for loss and a quarterback hit led the way but Sheldon Richardson and Damon Harrison contributed as well as the Jets recorded six tackles for loss.
2) The pass rush – The pass rush recorded four sacks and another eight quarterback hits as they pressured Roethlisberger for most of the game. Wilkerson had a sack, could have had another for a safety, and had another quarterback hit. Garrett McIntyre registered one with a strong tackle to get the elusive quarterback down, David Harris got home up the middle and Douzable shared one with Pace.
3) The development of Stephen Hill and Jeff Cumberland – Coming into the year two of the biggest question marks on offense were what level of play could you expect from Stephen Hill and Jeff Cumberland? Hill underwhelmed in his 1st year as he was behind the 8 ball extra coming from an offense at Georgia Tech that did not feature the passing game. He was always going to be a project but how many years? Jeff Cumberland has shown flashes of the play making tight end that causes matchup problems for opposing tight ends and safeties. The key is consistency. Sunday Hill had three catches for 46 yards and had the defense beat for a touchdown that Geno Smith overthrew. He already has more yards than last year and is developing into a constant deep threat. Cumberland followed up his strong game Monday night with another strong one Sunday afternoon hauling in four catches for 59 yards. As the injuries pile up Cumberland and Hill’s roles are going to continue to grow.
4) Special Teams – Nick Folk was once again perfect on field goals hitting from 25 and 39 yards out. He also allowed just tw0 kick returns for 28 yards total. Gates averaged 28 yards per kickoff return and Kerley 11 yards per punt return both above average. Quigley averaged 44 yards and was not good. He had 2 opportunities to pin the Steelers deep but could only muster a fair catch near the 20 both times. The punt coverage team held a very dangerous returner in Brown to just 5.5 yards per return.