Too little, too late…the story of the 2010-11 season for the New York Jets.
Overcoming an early case of jitters that caused them to fall behind 24-0 at one point, Gang Green nearly pulled off the unimaginable as they stormed back to score 19 points against the tough as nails Pittsburgh Steelers defense, eventually losing the game 24-19.
The root cause of the loss was the Jets inability to stop Pittsburgh’s running game. Rashard Mendenhall racked up 121 yards and a touchdown. The Steelers moved the ball with ease on the ground, allowing them to dictate the pace of the game.
New York quarterback Mark Sanchez showed moxie in leading the comeback as he threw for 233 yards and two touchdowns in the loss. He was also the victim of a controversial call when Pittsburgh’s William Gay stripped him of the ball on a sack when his arm appeared to clearly be going forward. The call should have been ruled an incomplete pass but instead Gay ran the ruled fumble back for a touchdown that ended up being the game’s difference maker.
The Jets defense showed some nice resilience after being overwhelmed initially, though. They intercepted Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger twice, sacked him two more times and recorded a safety.
Still, the Jets came out completely flat and handed the game to Pittsburgh in doing so. You simply cannot fall behind on most NFL clubs (let alone the Steelers) by such a large deficit and expect to emerge victorious.
The old sports adage is: “You must first lose in order to learn how to win.” If that’s the case, then Rex Ryan’s team now has a graduate degree in the practice. This game marked the second straight AFC championship game the Jets have lost under Ryan, proving that they still need seasoning to take that final step. The question will be, though, whether or not they can keep this current squad together to make a third run.
I’ll be starting my offseason content soon.
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Written by Frank Mazzola