Jets notebook: Colon: Jets abandoned run game too soon
Former Steelers offensive lineman Willie Colon said he was sure the Jets would move the ball against the Steelers' defense. So he was surprised that the Jets went away from the run game early in the second half.
“I definitely feel like we could have stayed with the run game,” he said. “I thought we were being efficient in that aspect of the game. We have to learn from it and move on and get ready for New England.”
The Jets rushed for 83 yards on 20 carries, a 4.2 average. In the second half, they ran the ball just eight times compared to 22 pass attempts.
The Jets have fared well in the red zone this season, but the Steelers intercepted quarterback Geno Smith twice inside the 20.
“If you're deep in the red zone and the ball gets turned over, that's going to be an issue.” Smith said.
The issue was primarily the Steelers' pressure on Smith, who completed 19 of 34 passes for 201 yards.
Big miss for Smith, Hill
Smith earned the starting job by making big throws in the second half and rallying the Jets to come-from-behind wins. But with a chance to shift the momentum, Smith missed a wide-open Stephen Hill on a pass that could have trimmed a 16-6 deficit. Hill sprinted past cornerback Ike Taylor and safety Troy Polamalu, but Smith's throw was a foot too long.
“You've got to make the most of your opportunities,” said Hill, who caught only three of eight passes thrown his way.
Defense shines in defeat
The Jets' second-ranked defense held the Steelers to 73 yards rushing and had four sacks — including one on receiver Antonio Brown's attempted lateral pass.
The Steelers averaged only 2.8 yards per carry, but cornerback Antonio Cromartie was beaten by receiver Emmanuel Sanders on the biggest play of the game, a 55-yard scoring pass in the third quarter on third-and-1.