Steelers/Jets Post-Game Report
The Steelers took a huge step in winning potentially their last AFC Central division title.� Should they beat the Ravens in Baltimore next week by more than 3 points, the division crown is theirs.� The Steelers also put the Jets in bit of a funk with a stellar job on both sides of the ball � a performance that must leave New York wondering about the playoffs. Here�s why:
The Steeler defense � Even though the Steelers failed once again to register a sack, the defense only yielded 220 total yards and a meager 61 on the ground.� This is far different than the huge chunks of yardage Pittsburgh had been giving up over the past few weeks.
That aside, the real indicator was how tough this unit played for most of the game.� The Jet offense offered little in the way of a scoring threat all day.� If not for Curtis Martin, this offense would rank among the worst in football.� Back in the early nineties, when Blitzburg was in full force, the Steelers had a way of exposing teams in much the same way they did Sunday.� The Jets ground game and balanced offense - highly regarded coming in - looked childish and foolish under the heavy scrutiny of the Steeler defense. The Jets cannot feel good about themselves after this game.� Their confidence has been shattered to say the least and it should not be a surprise to anyone if the Jets end their season without a playoff spot.
The Steeler offense � Once again the offense moved the ball with relative ease for most of the game.� Stewart played well if not spectacular and delivered the ball with crispness and decisiveness.� He is having a Pro Bowl season � aside from Gannon, there is not a better QB in the AFC right now than Stewart.� He is one of this team�s leaders like him or not.
Troy Edwards is continuing to find a role on Special teams and seems to be more active in the offense.� His attitude is also vastly improved.� In short, the offense and indeed, this team, has gelled and shows the signs of having remarkable chemistry.
Of course, if this were a perfect world, the Steelers would not be burdened with nagging weaknesses that may impact the fortunes of this team in January:
- Plaxico Burress does not and will not catch the ball with his hands.� He is as raw a talent as a High School All-American making his move to the college level.� Why this has not been addressed and remains a problem is disturbing.� Maybe if Burress can figure it out on his own, he will give the Steelers a legitimate deep threat every week.� Otherwise, he will show flashes of brilliance but will never realize his potential.
- Kris Brown�s foot.� What can anyone say?� After the Raven disaster, Brown seemed to have no ill affect from his 4 missed FG performance as he booted the Steelers to victory the following week in overtime.� Life has not gone well for Brown since then.� The pigskin has been leaping off Brown�s foot in all sorts of directions � wide left, wide right, too low�.
- Kris Brown�s head.� Once again, should anyone need reminding, ask last year�s Titans how critical a field kicker with his head screwed on straight can be.� Del Greco had a great career booting the ball only to loose his mental edge because of one missed field goal.� From there, Del Greco missed several game-winning field goals during the rest of that year including 3 FGs against the Ravens in the playoffs.�� Unfortunately, Kris Brown is nowhere near the kicker Del Greco was.
- No Sacks and little Pressure.� The Steeler defense cannot go into the conservative tank on defense.� Their aggressiveness has disappeared � Yes, teams are now taking quick drops and getting the ball to their receivers to avoid the pass rush, but the Steelers are rarely sending anyone and are not finding the mismatches.� It seems as if the coaching staff has also pulled in the reigns on Joey Porter.� Porter does not rush wide as he did early in the season.� Instead, Porter seems to have been coached to make his living on containment rather than on sacks.� This mentality might have been good against McNair, but when Vinny Testeverde was standing 10 feet away, the Steelers should have made every effort to get to him.� They didn�t
Well, the Steelers are 10-2 and are preparing to make one last curtain call on the mighty stage that has been our AFC Central � the best and truest division in football.� Make no mistake, this is no magic show nor is their success the product of mere slight of hand � the men of steel are for real.