This is one of those occasions where I am glad I am wrong. In the prediction portion of the preview I said that the Steelers were going to be able to make the game close but I thought it would come down to a late field goal and that the Jets would win. Well, for the most part the game was close due to some pretty bad offense by each team but in the second half, namely the third quarter, the Steelers dominated and made it seem like they were up by more than 13 points. The Steelers scored touched, led the game, gave up zero touchdowns, and created multiple turnovers. It was almost like it was a new team on the field. Yay wins.
A few observations:
-Ben Roethlisberger was really good today. For most of the season he has been hit and miss in games and has been turning the football over a lot but today was his best game of the season. He didn't throw for 300 yards or toss five touchdown passes but he did complete almost 77% of his passes and didn't turn the football over. Exactly what the Steelers needed. The offensive line was not good today and despite that Ben was able to hit on some quick passes and when he had a chance to go deep he made it count. He finished the day 23-for-30 for 264 yards and a touchdown and when in trouble he relied on his top performers this year, Antonio Brown and Heath Miller, for 15 of his completions. Great all around day for #7.
-The biggest story of the day might be that the Steelers created a couple turnovers. Two of them. Coming into the game they didn't have any. Zero. Today they intercepted Geno Smith twice when the Jets were deep in Steelers territory and it probably won them the game. Teams usually win football games because they create a couple of turnovers and pressure the quarterback. The Steelers did that. They sacked Smith three times and picked him off twice and gave the offense a few more possessions. Ryan Clark got the first turnover of the season and while that didn't lead to any points it had to let that defensive unit breathe a huge sigh of relief. The other interception came on the second to last possession for the Jets when they were still somewhat in the game and at the Steelers 12 yard line with about two minutes to go and Jarvis Jones got free and hit Smith as he was going and it went right into Lawrence Timmons' arms. Perfect.
-I think that most people know this but Shaun Suisham has been really good in his time with the Steelers. He continued to stay perfect with the Steelers as he knocked down all four field goal attempts today including two of them outside 40 yards. While a lot of people think kicking is too easy (which it probably is) as soon as you take it for granted your kicker is going to miss a big one that turns the tide of a game or season (looking at you Mike Vanderjagt).
-Antonio Brown has been really good this year. I have been known as not believing that he is a number one guy and while I still think that is mostly true there is nothing really all that bad you can say about his this season. Going into the game he was ranked as one of the top receivers according to Football Outsiders and his play has really mirrored that despite how bad the Steelers have been as a whole. He was targeted today 11 times and made nine catches and while one of those incompletions were a touchdown pass he should have probably caught it was all good for AB again today. He even completed a pass today for 15 yards. He was also sacked on another pass play inside the red zone (why isn't your $100M quarterback throwing in the red zone?) but I am going to ignore that.
-It is pretty remarkable how quickly Miller has come back from his knee being shredded last December. I really wasn't expecting him to jump right back into play and be a difference maker this quickly but he has and he's been a huge boost for the offense. He is Ben's security blanket and he got seven targets today and caught six of them which included a really outstanding 31 yard catch early in the game when he was being double covered. Guys like Miller coming back so quickly and being so good after having a major knee injury should be the exception and not the rule but I am glad that Miller seems to be one of those exceptions.
-Nothing negative today. The Steelers won for the first time this season and while I didn't think it would take till after the bye week for that to happen this is where things are and even at 1-4 I am happy when the Steelers win.