Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers offense looked about as good as its possible to look in Weeks Eight and Nine, but every Sunday brings new challenges and the Jets defense proved to be too much for Pittsburgh on Sunday afternoon.
They forced three turnovers, sacked Roethlisberger twice and shut down the running game in a 20-13 win that gives them their first win since the opening Sunday of the season.
Roethlisberger threw two interceptions and never led the Steelers into the end zone until the final minutes in a loss that gives the Browns sole possession of first place in the AFC North. That touchdown, an 80-yard bomb to rookie Martavis Bryant, made things interesting until the Jets recovered an onside kick, but Roethlisberger’s 30-of-43 performance was about as far as you can get overall from the heights of his touchdown frenzy against the Colts and Ravens.
A Jets pass defense that has been slaughtered week in and week out this season made a similar turnaround. Safety Jaiquawn Jarrett was the standout in the secondary on Sunday as he accounted for both interceptions, a fumble recovery and a sack in a performance that makes Rex Ryan look pretty smart for starting Jarrett over first-round pick Calvin Pryor. That Pryor’s on the bench might not be great for General Manager John Idzik, but the rare Jets win might keep the banners calling for Idzik’s head from the skies for a couple of days.
Michael Vick was 10-of-18 for 125 yards and two touchdowns while also running for 42 yards. That puts him over 6,000 rushing yards for his career and the Jets rolled up 151 yards on the ground overall to limit the Steelers’ chances to climb back into the game until it was too late. It’s too late for the Jets to salvage much from this season, eight-game losing streaks have a way of sucking the air out of a team, but they can play spoilers and that’s just what they did on Sunday.