A quick breakdown of the win Sunday that gives the Steelers a 4-1 record and puts them a game ahead of the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC North.
THREE THINGS TO LIKE
1. If all Cris Carter did was catch touchdowns, then all Vince Williams does is make tackles. For the second consecutive week, Williams started in place of the injured Ryan Shazier at inside linebacker and led the Steelers with stops. After getting 15 (13 solo) against the Chiefs, Williams had 9 tackles (8 solo) against the Jets. Three were for a loss and he also chipped in with a sack.
2. Antonio Brown brought some life to the punt return role. He broke off 33-yard and 18-yard returns, nearly taking the former the distance. No need for Eli Rogers to rush back from his turf toe injury, at least not on special teams.
3. Move over Reggie Jackson, Ben Roethlisberger is the new Mr. October, particulary at Heinz Field. Big Ben improved his record to 20-1 in October home games, the best mark by an NFL quarterback since 1970. For the second time in his career he’s thrown four touchdown passes in back-to-back games, actually combining for nine in wins over the Chiefs and Jets.
THREE THINGS NOT TO LIKE
1. Sammie Coates started and finished strong, but the middle left much to be desired. He dropped between three (if you’re generous) and five (if you’re nitpicking) passes. Yes, he had an injured hand that required stitches, but those drops aren’t providing the consistency the Steelers seek.
2. Alejandro Villanueva had a holding penalty in the first half, and he was in an illegal formation (the penalty was declined) when the Steelers tried a fake field goal. Speaking of the fake field goal, Jordan Berry showed his legs are better used for punting, not running.
3. Cornerback Ross Cockrell had two penalties (pass interference and holding) declined, and it was his deflection that allowed Brandon Marshall to haul in a 15-yard touchdown pass late in the first half. Cockrell was tasked with shadowing Marshall, who finished with eight receptions for 114 yards. To be fair, Cockrell did break up three passes and didn’t allow a completion longer than 19 yards.
Coaches and players raved about the job Chris Hubbard did filling in for Marcus Gilbert at right tackle. Roethlisberger was sacked just once, and Hubbard and the rest of the line provided enough time for him to pass for 380 yards.
UNSUNG HERO II
Berry has become the 12th defender for the Steelers. All three of his punts landed inside the Jets’ 20, marking the sixth time in his two-year career that he accomplished the feat. A 44-yarder pinned the Jets at their 11 in the first quarter. He sent a 43-yarder to the 13 after the first drive of the third quarter. And he crushed a 52-yarder to the 13 later in the quarter.
HE SAID IT
“Awesome. Awesome. Are you kidding me? They were unbelievable. How about Hubbard stepping up and playing. That is arguably one of the best defensive lines and front sevens in football, and our guys were just phenomenal. They are the catalyst for us. They drive us. We go as they go, and they had a great day today.” — Roethlisberger, on the offensive line.