There's a lot of blame to go around for the Jets' lopsided loss to the Steelers on Sunday, but I'm going to have to lay most of it on Gang Green's anemic offense. It started well with Mark Sanchez leading a 90-yard drive, the longest opening drive for the Jets since 1997. The Sanchise was 4-of-5 for 80 yards, including a beautiful 45-yard toss to Jeremy Kerley. On that Kerley catch, Sanchez looked and pumped right, and then threw it down the middle. Real sweet.
It was pretty much downhill for the Jets offense from there. They managed to score three points on a Nick Folk 38-yard field goal in the following drive but thereafter were shut out. The balance of the game was marked with multiple incompletions, dropped passes and 3-and-outs.
Unlike last week, Sanchez was pressured often with two sacks, three QB hits and five deflected passes. Lowlights included new RT Austin Howard allowing LaMarr Woodley to blow past him and crush Sanchez, and the failure of TE Jeff Cumberland (filling in for injured Dustin Keller) to realize that he was the "hot read" on a Steelers blitz.
The Jets defense played pretty well. The Steelers weren't able to run the ball effectively and were primarily limited to short underneath passes. However, the Jets' offensive woes negatively affected the defense's ability to keep the score close. Because the offense was unable to move the ball, the defense was forced to stay on the field for most of the second half. This led to the defensive unit getting tired, missing tackles and other mental lapses.
I'm a big LaRon Landry fan but he was called for two ridiculous penalties (late hit and horse collar) and missed sacking QB Ben Roethlisberger despite getting in the backfield untouched. However, the backbreaker play of the game occurred in the third quarter on third-and-16, when Roethlisberger threw up a wounded duck that WR Mike Wallace hauled down for a 37-yard touchdown. Antonio Cromartie was caught out of position, allowing Wallace to make the catch uncontested.
The Jets special teams weren't much of a factor. Punt returner Jeremy Kerley was hit in the face mask by a punt, leading to a Pittsburgh fumble recovery. Fortunately, this miscue did not lead to a Steelers score.
There isn't much time for the Jets to lick their wounds. Next week the Jets are in Miami to face divisional rival Dolphins.