Now that the glee from the victory over the Patsies has subsided, it’s time for the next stop of the “SHOCK THE WORLD TOUR“…Pittsburgh. Throughout the week, there was not much crazy talk eminating from the Steelers or the Jets camps. In fact, quite the opposite. The Steelers and the Jets showered praise on one another as the week wore on. Now that we close in on kickoff, some tension is bubbling up. You can smell the competition building as Jets Defensive Coordinator Pettine called Hines Ward out for his illegal back side hits and warned he “better watch out.” Pittsburgh CB Ike Taylor stated that he will lay out former Steeler Santonio Holmes if given the chance. These are strong words. You can sense the tension building!
Bart Scott – “CAN’T WAIT!”
Bart Scott’s beautiful diatribe while being interviewed after the Patriots game by Sal Palantonio. Click the link to see the video!
The Keys to beating the Pittsburgh Steelers
I am under no illusion that this game against the Steelers will be easier than the last two. You KNOW that the game will be tight, any little edge may sway it either way. As such, here are the keys to beating the Steelers and moving on to Dallas for the Super Bowl.
- Pressure Roethlisberger – The Steelers gave up six sacks to the Ravens in but the Baltimore game turned on the fumble by Ray Rice early in the third quarter. Pressure by the Ravens led to a critical fumble by Roethlisberger which led directly to a touchdown. The Jets must apply presure to Roethlisberger and try to strip the ball from his hands or force a bad pass.
- Establish the Run Game – The Jets are a running team. They use the run to establish a tempo. They use the run to beat down a defense so by the third and fourth quarter, the defense is tired and on their heels. They use the run to keep the clock moving and the opposing offense on the bench. They use the run to keep their defense fresh and off the field and they use the run to set up an efficient passing game through a play action pass. Due to all of these factors, the Jets MUST establish their running game and cannot deviate from running the ball.
- Keep Sanchez Clean – The Jets Offensive line must not allow any sacks of Sanchez. We all know about the shoulder issue and the prior knee issue. For the sake of the team, they need to keep his uniform clean…no sacks! Also they must locate TROY POLAMALU. That guy is a whirling dervish of chaos and can singlehandedly change a game’s dynamic. The last regular season game between the Steelers and Ravens turned on a Polamalu strip sack.
- Special Teams Must Do Better – In the first meeting between the Steelers and the Jets, the Jets ran back the opening kickoff for a TD. In the playoffs, the Jets Punter and kicker have fared rather poorly. We need punts that are downed inside the 20 and we need FG conversions. This game may come down to a field position battle and a field goal. We need to have our special teams ready to go.
- Contain Heath Miller - In the last Jets-Steelers game, Heath Miller did not play due to a concusion suffered the prior week. Miller is back and he can be deadly. The Jets must have good coverage on Miller so that they are not burned by seam routes, crossing patterns and drag routes. I would suggest that the Jets assign Broadney Pool to cover Miller.
- No Turnovers – When the Jets do not turn the ball over, they really make it easier for the team as a whole. Sanchez has only thrown one interception in the last two playoff games and the team has not fumbled. We need to maintain that focus because the Steelers are opportunistic.
- Keep the Game Close – The Jets are not built to comeback from a multi-TD defecit. If the Jets can lead the game or trail by less than a touchdown, they can win this game. The key is to not allow the other team to pile the points on.
I have faith that the Jets will be well prepared for this match up with the Steelers. In last year’s match up with the Colts, many of the players were just happy to be there. Now, the players realize that opportunities like this happen far less often than they think. The Jets have already beaten the Steelers in Heinz Field this season so they know they can do it. They are better prepared this year and have the weapons. At this point, it’s all about desire and the will to win. Let’s see whose team has more desire. As Bart Scott said when asked about Pittsburgh game…”CAN’T WAIT!!!”
About the Author
Written by Gabe Hidalgo
I am a HUGE Jets/Mets fan.Blogging about NYC sports and life is fun for me, so join me for the ride...