The Pittsburgh Steelers finally got out of their own way and in the process finally broke into the win column after a 19-6 victory on the road against the New York Jets. Yes, the game was not perfect, but by not turning the ball over and actually forcing two turnovers the team did just enough for the win, the 600th as a franchise.Ben Roethlisberger was efficient behind the newly formed offensive line that played one man short as newly acquired tackle Levi Brown was injured during warm-ups. In fact, according to head coach Mike Tomlin, this could be a significant triceps injury keeping him out of action for some time. Luckily, new left tackle Kelvin Beachum held his own and the offense did not see anyone else go down.
Roethlisberger was solid, going 23-for-30 for 264 yards and one score, a 55-yard strike to Emmanuel Sanders for the only touchdown in the contest. More importantly, he was clutch in the face of a stout defensive attack from the Jets that held the Steelers stuggling running game to a minimal impact. Antonio Brown (9-86) and Heath Miller (6-84) paced the receiving corps, in a game plan that featured a lot of quick passes and screens to assist the offensive line. Even when the offense bogged down on some drive, kicker Shaun Suisham again proved to be an automatic weapon connecting on four field goals to complete the scoring.
Defensively, the big news was the unit’s ability to finally force a turnover. In all, they forced Jets quarterback Geno Smith into two Red Zone interceptions, one by Ryan Clark at the goal line and one by Lawrence Timmons at the three. In both cases, the turnovers were aided by strong play up front with pressure on the quarterback from defensive end Cameron Heyward and linebacker Jarvis Jones.
The Steelers defense also recorded three sacks to go with the constant pressure and two turnovers. Jason Worilds, LaMarr Woodley, and recently demoted Ziggy Hood all recorded sacks in the contest. Hood was seeing extended playing time in the second half as starter Brett Keisel was out of the line-up after injuring his ribs in the first half.
Besides the injuries to Keisel and Brown, tight end David Johnson suffered a wrist injury in the first quarter and did not return. At this point, his injury, like Browns’ is being termed as potentially significant, and will be re-evaluated when the Steelers return to Pittsburgh.
For the 1-4 Steelers, there is little time to enjoy the franchises milestone with win 600, as they must start preparations for the hated Baltimore Ravens (3-3). It is worth noting though, that the Steelers did become the first AFC team to record that number of victories and are only the fourth to do so in NFL History.
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