The start of the second quarter of the season for the Pittsburgh Steelers got off to a stinging start, for the visiting New York Jets. Decked out in their 1934 throwback jersey’s that many NFL fans call the “Bumble Bee” uniforms, the trio of Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell led the swarm against the Jets for the 31-13 victory.
It wasn’t the first offensive play from scrimmage like last week, but the third when Ben Roethlisberger connected with Sammie Coates on a 72-yard touchdown on 3rd and 7. I always say third down is one of the three most important statistical categories that indicates a win or loss. The only thing better than moving the chains on third down, is scoring on it.
Here’s why the Steelers won. The offense was 5 for 10 (.50%) on 3rd down, while the defense held the Jets to 2 for 11 and 0 for 1 on 4th down. You have to stay on the field on offense and get off the field on defense to win in this league. The dominance on third down allowed Roethlisberger and the offense to win the time of possession battle 31:50 to 28:10. In total the Black & Gold made 30 first downs (23 passing, 3 rushing, 4 to penalties). The last indicator of a victory is the turnover battle, which Pittsburgh lost 1-0. But, if you win two of those three, you win the game. I guarantee it. It’s the same story every week, that’s why I say it every week.
But, it also doesn’t hurt when you have arguably the best quarterback in football, and without a doubt the best overall running back and wide receiver in the game. In most cases, the only people that can stop this trio is themselves. Roethlisberger 34 of 47 for 380 yards and 4 touchdowns. Bell once again was dominant overall gaining 154 yards from scrimmage (66 rush, 88 receiving) a stat he’s led the league in per game average since he entered the league. While Brown didn’t have a monster game by his standards, his 9 catches for 78 yards and a touchdown were more than enough to draw the focus and attention of the New York secondary allowing Coates to go off for 139 yards on 6 catches and two touchdowns himself. Although, he should’ve had a day reminiscent of the one Markus Wheaton had last season against the Seattle Seahawks when he went for 200+ receiving yards, had he caught a few more passes.
The defense also showed up, earning three more sacks in consecutive weeks after only having one in the first three games. Fitzpatrick was held below 300+ passing yards (255) which had been a problem for the Steelers even in the 3 previous wins. The Jets only amassed 316 total yards on the day (244 passing, 72 rushing).
The two major disappointments of the day are the Steelers D is the only unit that hasn’t picked off Ryan Fitzpatrick this season. The Jets QB came into the game leading the league with 10, and just threw 3 last week to the Seattle Seahawks. The second disappointment and more concerning one, is Cam Heyward left the game with a hamstring injury in the first half.
With the Baltimore Ravens 16-10 loss to the Washington Redskins, the Steelers are now in first place alone in the AFC North. Next up for the ‘Burgh, the 1-4 Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium in South Florida next Sunday. Kickoff is set for 1:00 pm.
• Sammie Coates earned his first career 100+ receiving yard game. On his first catch of the game he caught his sixth pass of over 40 yards on the season for the 72-yard touchdown.
• Ben Roethlisberger extended his streak of throwing at least 1 touchdown pass in a game to 41, the 2nd longest streak in NFL history, and with his 3rd touchdown pass of the day, to Antonio Brown, he earned his six consecutive 3+ TD pass game at Heinz Field.