Steelers Improve to 4-1 with 31-13 Victory Over the New York Jets

The Steelers defeated the Jets, 31-13, at Heinz Field Sunday afternoon to improve to 4-1 for the first time since 2010.

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger completed 34 of 47 passes for 380 and four touchdowns, including two in the fourth quarter that turned a rather tight affair into a no-doubter.

After New York opened the scoring with a Nick Folk field goal, the Steelers quickly responded when Roethlisberger found Sammie Coates for a 72-yard touchdown pass on third and seven.

The Jets then scored 10-unanswered points to take a 13-7 lead with just over two-minutes left in the first half. However, the Steelers quickly marched down the field on an 11-play, 75-yard drive that culminated in a one-yard touchdown pass from Roethlisberger to tight end Jesse James to give the home team a 14-13 lead at the break.

Pittsburgh’s defense looked pretty vulnerable in the first half, as New York amassed 219 total yards on offense. But in the second half, Keith Butler’s unit put the clamps down in a big way, limiting the Jets to 97 yards over the final two periods, forcing five-straight punts when the game was still in doubt and, of course, pitching a shutout on the scoreboard.

Also, the defense got after the quarterback for the second week in a row, as Ryan Fitzpatrick was sacked three times–including the first career sack by outside linebacker Anthony Chickillo.

Finally, New York only had 16 first downs to the Steelers 30 and was held to two of 11 on third down.

The game wasn’t without its ups and downs, particularly for the youngster Coates, who had a career day (six catches for 139 yards and his first two touchdowns as a pro) but also dropped several passes and suffered a severe laceration on his left hand that, according to Mark Kaboly of DKPittsburghSports.com, required 17 stitches at halftime. 

As for Pittsburgh’s star receiver–Antonio Brown–he caught nine passes for 78 yards and a five-yard  touchdown in the fourth quarter to make it 24-13. Brown also returned a punt 33 yards early in the third quarter and appeared to be one Calvin Pryor tackle away from taking it the distance.

In his second game since returning from a three-week suspension to start the season, running back Le’Veon Bell again was a weapon of mass destruction, as he carried 20 times for 66 yards and added another 88 yards on nine receptions.

Speaking of youngsters who experienced some ups and downs on Sunday, third-year corner Ross Cockrell had his hands full as he battled accomplished receiver Brandon Marshall all afternoon; Marshall probably got the best of  the match-up, as he caught eight passes for 114 yards and a touchdown that, by rights, Cockrell should have intercepted in the end zone late in the second quarter. But, just like the rest of the Steelers defense, Cockrell finished with a flurry, as he limited Marshall to two catches for 28 yards after the break.

Other than Coates’ hand laceration, the only other injury of note may turn out to be a big one, as star defensive end Cameron Heyward left the game in the first half with a hamstring injury and never returned.

Next Sunday, the Steelers travel to Miami to take on the Dolphins at 1 p.m.

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