Jets crash again, but pride remains
The New York Jets had plenty of pride before tangling with the Steelers on Sunday night in the AFC Championship Game at Heinz Field.
They left with a 24-19 loss -- coach Rex Ryan's third consecutive title game defeat, his second in a row with New York -- but their pride was intact.
"People want to criticize us, you go ahead," Ryan said after the game. "But you really have no right."
The Steelers rushed for 166 yards against the league's third-best run defense, but they almost let a 24-3 halftime lead disappear when the Jets rallied and controlled much of the fourth quarter.
In a quarter when games are usually won and lost, the losing team possessed the football for nearly 12 minutes.
"We played a good half; we just never played a good game," Ryan said. "You have to give Pittsburgh credit. That is a heck of a football team there. If you plan on beating them, you better put four quarters together, and we didn't do that today."
Only Chicago running back Matt Forte had gained more than 100 yards (113) against the Jets this season, and that didn't occur until Dec. 26. Overall, opponents averaged 90.9 per game.
So -- wouldn't you know it• -- the Steelers stubbornly and effectively leaned on their running game in the first half. Running back Rashard Mendenhall finished with 121 yards on 27 carries and had the team's first touchdown -- a 1-yard run in the first quarter. But in the second half, he was held to 26 yards on 10 carries.
"They did a great job of running the football, and we did a poor job of tackling for whatever reason," Ryan said. "Our technique wasn't as good. We made some adjustments at halftime. Our tackling was not up to our standards by any stretch of the imagination."
Ryan said he was disappointed that his defense allowed big first-down completions to tight end Heath Miller and receiver Antonio Brown -- the latter on third-and-6 late in the fourth quarter. He thought cornerback Brodney Pool had a chance to knock away the pass to Miller.
"He went for the swipe instead of putting the glove in there," Ryan said. "It was the first time our defense hasn't responded and gotten a big stop to give our offense a chance to win the game."
Ryan defiantly said the Jets will return next season -- and every season after that, if necessary, until they get it right.
"I am proud of this team," he said. "Our goal for next year, I got news for you, it will not change, and it will never change. We are going to chase it until we get it. And then we will chase it after that again."
Steelers vs. Jets AFC Championship
The Pittsburgh Steelers vs. the New York Jets in the 2011 AFC Championship at Heinz Field, Sunday, January 23, 2011.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers’ Bryant returns from drug suspension, ‘won’t happen again’
- New Steelers kicker Boswell ready for challenge at Heinz
- Steelers notebook: Shazier practices, hopes to play Monday at Chargers
- Nothing normal about Steelers’ standard as backups fill vital roles
- Steelers cut Scobee, sign free agent kicker Boswell
- Steelers notebook: Safety Mitchell shrugs off Ravens WR’s comments
- New book credits Nunn for Steelers’ 1970s success
- Four downs: Williams brothers on the rise
- Steelers film study: Team finds success blitzing members of secondary
- Running back Williams to pick up load for Steelers with Bell out
- Rossi: Put this Steelers loss squarely on the kicker