For the second straight year, the New York Jets fell in the AFC Championship game; this time, the Pittsburgh Steelers were the culprit of their demise.
Pittsburgh dominated the first half. They ran the ball effectively all day long, but the first half was especially impressive. In thirty minutes, the Steelers managed to chock up as many yards on the ground as the Jets typically allow in an entire game – if not more. Down 17-0 late in the second quarter, the Jets made the mistake of attempting a pass on third down deep within their own territory. Sanchez coughed up the football, and the Steelers ran it in for a touchdown to take a 24-0 lead. It was an especially disappointing moment, since the movement of Mark’s arm almost made it an incomplete pass – which would have saved the Jets a touchdown.
Before the half, however, Nick Folk did connect on a field goal to put the Jets down 3 scores, 24-3. Still, you really had a sense that Gang Green was out of this one.
They responded to adversity with a quick drive to lead off the second half with a touchdown, pulling to within 14 points. But a drive stalled late in the game, when the Jets called 2 straight passes and a run near the goal line. They couldn’t get that damn ball in the endzone!
That’s when the defense stepped up, forcing a fumble that resulted in a safety – the Jets pulled to within 12, at 24-12. The Jets had a long (too long) and sloppy (too sloppy) touchdown drive to get within one score at 24-19. But two Steelers first downs (both through the air) sealed the deal for Pittsburgh and the Jets fell, 24-19 in their second straight AFC Championship loss.
It’s a tough pill to swallow for Jets fans, who have seen their team sniff the Superbowl two years in a row and fall just short. Still, Rex and Sanchez are here to stay and so is the new winning tradition of the boys in green.
From all of your friends at JetNation.com, we will see you – and the Lombardi trophy – next year. Go Jets!