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Jets Slammed Back Down To Earth By Steelers

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PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 16 :  Santonio Holmes #10 of the New York Jets can't hold onto the ball after being hit by Ryan Clark #25 of the Pittsburgh Steelers in front Ike Taylor #24 on September 16, 2012 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)

PITTSBURGH, PA – SEPTEMBER 16 : Santonio Holmes #10 of the New York Jets can’t hold onto the ball after being hit by Ryan Clark #25 of the Pittsburgh Steelers in front Ike Taylor #24 on September 16, 2012 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)

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PITTSBURGH (AP) _ Just as quickly as they emerged after a
dreadful preseason, Mark Sanchez and the short-lived high-powered
New York Jets offense were jarringly knocked back to reality.

A week after setting a franchise record for points in a season
opener with a defeat of Buffalo, the Jets’ offense reverted back
into its listless preseason form in a 27-10 loss to the Pittsburgh
Steelers on Sunday.

New York managed 219 yards of offense and converted one third
down in the second half.

“We weren’t our best,” said Sanchez, who was 10 for 27 for 138
yards and a touchdown but wasn’t the same after taking a hit from
Lawrence Timmons early in the second quarter. “The throws weren’t
there at times. The catches weren’t there at times. … Poor
execution.”

The Jets looked a lot like the juggernaut they were in a 48-28
blowout of the Bills the previous week during their first two
drives against Pittsburgh.

Santonio Holmes caught a 14-yard touchdown pass from Sanchez to
cap a 90-yard drive on New York’s first possession, and Nick Folk’s
38-yard field goal came at the end of a 61-yard drive the next time
the Jets (1-1) had the ball to give them a 10-6 lead.

But Sanchez did not lead another drive into Pittsburgh territory
until the waning seconds when the game was decided.

“They outperformed us,” Sanchez said of the Pittsburgh
defense. “And that’s the way it goes. It’s a tough loss, but same
thing with Buffalo _ you can’t get too high after a win, you can’t
get too low after a loss. Take it on the chin and move on.”

Sanchez took a hit to the chin from Timmons early in the second
quarter. He had connected on four of his first five passes, but
after absorbing the hit from Timmons that induced a personal foul
flag, Sanchez completed only three of his next 17 attempts.

When asked if the hit affected his play afterward, Sanchez
chuckled.

“They got a good shot at me,” he said. “That’s the way it
goes; it’s a physical game.”

Sanchez wasn’t the only Jets offensive star to take a shot
during that second-quarter drive. Running back Shonn Greene also
left the game due to a head injury, but he was back in the game for
the start of the second half.

“It was a good hit, I came on the sidelines, took all the
tests, passed them all and I was fine,” Greene said.

Just like Sanchez, though, Greene’s production suffered after
taking a hit. He netted zero yards on four carries in the second
half.

“Because of the lead, we kind of had to abandon the run a
little bit,” Greene said.

Ben Roethlisberger completed 24 of 31 passes for 275 yards and
two touchdowns. His 125.1 passer rating was the second-highest ever
against the Jets. He guided the Steelers to an 8-for-15 performance
on third downs.

Pittsburgh’s longest third-down conversion resulted in
Roethlisberger’s 37-yard touchdown pass to Mike Wallace on
third-and-16.

“It came down to we couldn’t get off the field on third down
(defensively) and we couldn’t stay on the field on third down
(offensively),” Jets coach Rex Ryan said.

Roethlisberger hit Heath Miller for a 1-yard score to give the
Steelers (1-1) the lead late in the first half. Isaac Redman added
a late 2-yard touchdown run for Pittsburgh, which had little
trouble avoiding its first 0-2 start in a decade.

With Roethlisberger expertly running new offensive coordinator
Todd Haley’s versatile system, he picked apart a Jets secondary
that looked exposed without injured star cornerback Darrelle Revis.
Roethlisberger completed passes to 10 different receivers as
Pittsburgh held the ball for more than 36 minutes.

“Ben is one of the top in the game,” Wallace said. “I’ll ride
with him against anybody.”

Wallace’s leaping, acrobatic touchdown in which he kept both
feet in bounds against Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie gave the
Steelers a 20-10 lead midway through the third quarter.

The game slipping away, the Jets turned to Tim Tebow, who
engineered a 29-23 upset win by the Denver Broncos over the
Steelers in the playoffs last January. Tebow needed just two plays
to put the Jets in Pittsburgh territory, but the drive soon
stalled.

Tebow had a 22-yard carry on the first play and took two
additional snaps. After a 6-yard loss by Greene, Sanchez ran back
into the huddle. Two incompletions later, the Jets were punting and
didn’t take another meaningful snap in Pittsburgh territory the
rest of the game.

“We can’t get negative plays, it always hurts when you do,”
Tebow said. “I felt like we had things rolling for a little …
but it’s a game of momentum. When you lose it, it’s hard to get it
back.”

Ryan suggested that Greene’s injury limited Tebow’s snaps
because Greene is part of the personnel package with Tebow in the
game.

A meeting of two of the league’s better defenses lacked
considerable star power due to injuries. Pittsburgh sat linebacker
James Harrison (right knee) and safety Troy Polamalu (strained
right calf), while Revis didn’t make the trip due to a concussion
sustained last week.

The Jets certainly could have used Revis against Roethlisberger,
who was sacked three times but used his size to extend a handful of
other plays the Steelers turned into big gains.

“You can prepare all you want _ there’s nothing you can do
unless you get your hands on him,” New York linebacker Garrett
McIntyre said. “He steps up, he steps out, he steps sideways. He
doesn’t just step up. It’s amazing what he does back there. He’s
been doing it for a long time. Give him credit.”

Added Ryan: “Every time you play him, you appreciate him more
and more.”

NOTES: The Steelers have won 10 straight home openers, the
longest active streak in the league. … Greene finished with 11
carries for 23 yards … New York fullback John Conner went out
with a knee injury in the third quarter and did not return. …
Roethlisberger has 27,099 career passing yards, moving him within
900 yards of the team record of 27,898 held by Terry Bradshaw. …
Roethlisberger’s passer rating of 125.1 is the highest given up by
New York under Ryan.
___
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(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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