Final Score: NY Jets 22, Pittsburgh 17
Pittsburgh, PA (Sports Network) - Mark Sanchez scrambled for a game-tying
touchdown and the New York Jets scored 12 unanswered points to snap a two-game
losing streak with a 22-17 win over Pittsburgh.
The Jets defense bent, but didn't break as Ben Roethlisberger led the
Steelers on a drive in the final 2:08 of the game. Roethlisberger threw
incomplete into the end zone on a 10-yard pass after time expired.
It was the first time the Jets ever won a game in Pittsburgh. They were 0-6 in
the Steel City entering the game and could have to travel to face the Steelers
again in the playoffs.
"We may be back," said Jets head coach Rex Ryan. "That's a heck of a football
team [but] our guys battled back."
Pittsburgh took a 17-10 lead on Rashard Mendenhall's two-yard touchdown run on
the first series of the second half, but Sanchez scored on a bootleg to tie
the game and the Jets (10-4) moved ahead in the fourth quarter on Nick Folk's
34-yard field goal and a safety when Jason Taylor tackled Mewelde Moore in the
Sanchez completed 19 of his 29 passes for 170 yards, hitting Braylon Edwards
eight times for 100 yards. Although he didn't throw a touchdown pass,
Sanchez's scrambling score in the third quarter was New York's first offensive
touchdown in 12 quarters.
Brad Smith ran the opening kickoff back 97 yards, taking it down the right
sideline for the Jets' other touchdown on Sunday.
The Steelers (10-4) had a four-game winning streak snapped, losing for the
first time since November 14 to New England, but still clinched a playoff
berth because of strength-of-victory tiebreakers.
Roethlisberger ran 22 yards for a first down on the final drive and completed
passes of 29 yards to Emmanuel Sanders, 18 yards to Mike Wallace and 16 yards
to Antonio Brown to take the Steelers from their own eight-yard line to the
New York 10.
But his throw to tight end Matt Spaeth in the left side of the end zone with
zeroes on the clock fell incomplete.
"I'll take this one on me because I need to make more plays," said
Roethlisberger, who finished 23-of-44 for 264 yards and a nine-yard touchdown
pass to Spaeth that tied the game at 7-7 in the first quarter.
Mendenhall rushed 17 times for 100 yards.
The teams traded field goals at the end of the first half -- Folk kicked a 25-
yarder and Shaun Suisham was good from 42 yards -- and headed to their locker
rooms tied 10-10.
Mendenhall's bruising two-yard run through the middle of the line capped
Pittsburgh's 74-yard drive to open the third quarter and made it 17-10.
New York had been without an offensive touchdown since Sanchez hit Santonio
Holmes for a 13-yard score in the third quarter of a 26-10 win over Cincinnati
on November 25.
In between then and Sunday, the Jets suffered two embarrassing losses: a 45-3
dismantling by AFC East rival New England and a 10-6 loss in the rain to Miami
Sanchez put an end to the streak, perfectly executing a fake handoff and
taking the bootleg into the end zone on the left side to cap a 66-yard drive
and tie the game at 17-17.
"We practice that against our defense," said Sanchez. "It just caught them
off-guard. It was a great call at the right time."
Pittsburgh punted, and Folk booted a 34-yarder to give New York the lead 4:53
into the fourth quarter.
Three series later, Pittsburgh was pinned down at its own three-yard line by a
Steve Weatherford punt. Moore took a handoff on the first play and was met at
the goal line by Taylor, who threw him down for the safety and a 22-17 lead.
Without the safety, the Steelers could have tried a game-tying field goal on
their final drive. Instead they needed a touchdown, and Roethlisberger's
offense came up 10 yards short.
Holmes had six catches for 40 yards...LaDainian Tomlinson led New York with 49
yards rushing on 11 carries, while Shonn Greene had 40 yards on 12
runs...Roethlisberger fumbled twice, but didn't lose either one...The Jets are
3-1 in the last four meetings...Tomlinson had one catch, joining Marshall
Faulk and Larry Centers as the only NFL running backs with 50 or more
receptions in nine seasons.
12/20 02:04:46 ET
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