The New York Jets have their second win of the season after a victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Friday, 20-13. Michael Vick started for the Jets and played well, with some big plays in the passing game (two touchdowns and no interceptions), while Ben Roethlisberger threw a pair of interceptions for Pittsburgh. New York managed four turnovers on the game and limited the Steelers to just 36 yards rushing in total.
Pittsburgh made things interesting with under two minutes to go, when Roethlisberger found wide receiver Martavis Bryant for an 80-yard touchdown. Pittsburgh lined up for an onside kick, down a touchdown and with a timeout remaining. But it was a bad kick, the Jets recovered and kneeled the game out for a win.
After one quarter, the Jets had 164 total yards and 17 points, while the Steelers had zero points and a grand total of 5 yards. In other words, it wasn't pretty from the get-go. Things calmed down for the Steelers a bit after that first quarter, and they managed their first points of the game with a 53-yard field goal. Ben Roethlisberger threw his first interception on the drive before that but fortunately for Pittsburgh, the Jets were finding it difficult to score off of turnovers.
Roethlisberger threw his second interception of the game early on in the second half but again, the Jets were unable to convert that into points. The third quarter proceeded without much incident, save for the Jets kicking another field goal to make it a three-score game. The Steelers put together a really impressive drive at the end of the quarter, bolstered by a huge 45-yard pass to Martavis Bryant, but they stalled and Shaun Suisham had to attempt a paltry 23-yard field goal.
They missed that field goal.
Pittsburgh would go on to attempt another field goal in the fourth, and that one went through, but the team still trailed by two touchdowns, eventually losing by one score.
Three things we learned:
1) Michael Vick still knows how to play football
Vick has had an up-and-down career to say the least. He's gone weeks without having big games and he's had hot streaks where defenses simply have no hope to keep up. On Sunday against the Steelers, Vick may have launched one of those hot streaks. After 12 seasons in the NFL, it's very easy to forget about Vick and his abilities, especially when he loses and regains starting jobs.
But not only did Vick have a pretty solid game from a statistical standpoint, he flashed his elite speed and his elite arm on two very big plays on Sunday. First, we'll take a look at the ridiculous 67-yard touchdown pass to T.J. Graham:
That pass traveled 50 yards through the air, the first pass that went 50 yards downfield by a Jets quarterback since Mark Sanchez in 2010, as noted by ESPN. Not only was it an impressive throw due to how far it traveled, it was aimed perfectly and of course, was a perfect spiral. You can't get a prettier pass than that one. But Vick also made big things happen with his legs on Sunday, as evidenced below:
That subtle juke left the Steelers defender on the ground, and it set the Jets up with a nice first-and-goal situation. We're not going to say that Pittsburgh forgot that Vick is really good at playing football but it sure does look he caught the Steelers by surprise.
Vick rushed for 39 yards and became the first quarterback in NFL history to rush for 6,000 yards in his career.
2) New York has to work on capitalizing on mistakes
Things were fairly tense for much of the game for New York, and that has a lot to do with the fact that it failed to convert its turnovers into points. There were two Roethlisberger interceptions and two fumbles from wide receiver Antonio Brown in the first three quarters, but the Jets only turned one of those four turnovers into points. That came when Brown fumbled and gave the ball up on Pittsburgh's 20-yard line, so the Jets had very little to actually do on that drive.
Fortunately for the Jets, they managed to put up six off of that turnover. Despite the fact that they led by three scores for much of the game, there was always some worry that the Steelers would be able to start a comeback. This time, it worked out for the Jets of course, but they need to do a better job as a whole of capitalizing on the opposing team's mistakes going forward.
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3) When it rains, it pours for the Steelers
The Steelers has a decent drive or two throughout the game, but for the most part, they never managed to right the ship once things started going poorly. On their second offensive drive, Brown fumbled the ball away and set the Jets up with what would be an easy touchdown. From there, they never quite looked right. Even when they did start to put a solid drive together, a sack or a bad throw set them back.
There's even the aforementioned missed field goal. Suisham missed a 23-yard field goal, which is the shortest miss of any kick this season (that GIF has to be in the running for saddest GIF of the season, doesn't it?). The Steelers followed that up with another big drive and a red zone appearance, but they had to settle with another field goal attempt. That one went through, but they were then quiet until under two minutes remained in the game. After a touchdown they attempted an onside kick, but they had no chance of recovering.