Jets continue the mental mistakes in 31-13 loss to the Steelers

PITTSBURGH — So much for that championship week of practice.

With mistakes aplenty — including at least one major one by Todd Bowles — the Jets continued their downward spiral on Sunday by dropping their fourth game in a row with a 31-13 loss to the Steelers. The Jets now sit at 1-4 with their playoff hopes looking slimmer and slimmer by the day.

Last week Bowles admitted to the Daily News that mental mistakes, which he referred to as “a Fubar, or a f–k up, whatever you want to call it,” had been costly to the Jets. That was again the case as a blown coverage was responsible for an easy Pittsburgh touchdown at the end of the first half. But Bowles also will be accused of his own “Fubar” after some inexplicably conservative fourth down decisions, including a choice to punt on 4th-and-2 while down by two scores on their own 46-yard line with 7:29 remaining in the game.

The Jets’ secondary, which was missing Darrelle Revis, was burned early on by Sammie Coates for a long touchdown before blowing the coverage against Jesse James before halftime. Antonio Brown added two more scores in the second half. Meanwhile the defensive front struggled to get pressure on Ben Roethlisberger, though Leonard Williams did get a strip sack late in the game.

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Steelers wide receiver Sammie Coates blows past Jets cornerback Marcus Williams for early TD.

Steelers wide receiver Sammie Coates blows past Jets cornerback Marcus Williams for early TD.

(Fred Vuich/AP)

Roethlisberger finished the game with 380 passing yards and four touchdowns.

Gang Green’s offense held its own in the first half, scoring 13 points — including a Brandon Marshall touchdown pass. But the offense struggled mightily after half time and couldn’t put any more points on the board. The one bright spot for the Jets was that Ryan Fitzpatrick, who completed 25 of 38 pass attempts for 255 yards and a touchdown, didn’t throw any interceptions, but that will be of solace to members of Gang Green Nation.

The Jets start has been about as brutal as anyone could have imagined. While they have lost to four good teams — the Bengals, Chiefs, Seahawks and now Steelers — they have put themselves in an extremely deep hole in the standings.

Ryan Fitzpatrick struggles to get the Jets into the end zone, but manages to recover this fumble.

Ryan Fitzpatrick struggles to get the Jets into the end zone, but manages to recover this fumble.

(Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

The Jets moved the ball on their opening drive but stalled out at the 17-yard line and Bowles declined to go for it on 4th-and-1, settling for a 35-yard field goal to put the Jets up 3-0.

Darrelle Revis doesn’t make it through Jets practice on Wednesday

But that lead didn’t last long, because the Jets defense began the game in disastrous fashion. On the Steelers’ third play from scrimmage, Roethlisberger threw a deep pass to Coates, who straight up burned Marcus Williams on a go route for a 72-yard touchdown that put Pittsburgh ahead 7-3 4:44 into the game.

Gang Green continued to move the ball, and on their third drive Matt Forte broke out a 28-yard third-down run. But again, the Jets were stopped in Steelers’ territory and elected to kick a 48-yard Nick Folk field goal early in the second quarter to make the score 7-6.

Ben Roethlisberger throws for nearly 400 yards with 4 TD passes in the Steelers romp.

Ben Roethlisberger throws for nearly 400 yards with 4 TD passes in the Steelers romp.

(Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Finally, late in the fourth quarter, Gang Green was able to break through for a TD. Fitzpatrick led the Jets downfield on a seven-play, 69-yard drive and then threw a 50/50 ball to Marshall in the end zone. That trust in Marshall paid off, as the receiver nabbed the ball in the end zone after it tipped off the hands of Steelers CB Ross Cockrell for a 15-yard touchdown to put the Jets up 13-7 with 2:06 left in the half.

But the Steelers responded with a well-executed two-minute drill in which Roethlisberger methodically moved his team 75 yards on 11 plays. On 2nd and goal from the one-yard line, the Jets had yet another miscommunication in coverage and Jesse James was left wide open for an easy touchdown to put the Steelers back ahead, 14-13, with 41 seconds left in the half. It appeared that either Darron Lee or Rontez Miles were supposed to be marking the tight end.

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The Jets held the Steelers to just a field goal in the third quarter, but couldn’t get their offense moving like it was in the first half. On the first play of the fourth quarter, the Steelers extended their lead when Roethlisberger hit his elite receiver, Antonio Brown, for a five-yard touchdown pass. That put the Steelers ahead 24-13 with 14:55 left in the game.

Brandon Marshall's touchdown isn't enough to get the Jets back into the win column.

Brandon Marshall’s touchdown isn’t enough to get the Jets back into the win column.

(Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

With 9:36 left in the game, the Jets defense got the break it needed when Leonard Williams forced a Roethlisberger fumble, which popped into the hands of Sheldon Richardson. That allowed the Jets to take over at their own 19-yard line, though Richardson was hurt on the play.

On the ensuing drive the Jets made progress but were faced with a 4th-and-2 from their own 46 yard line with 7:29 remaining. Bowles made the shockingly conservative call to punt at that point, one of several conservative fourth down decisions by him during the game.

The Steelers, leading by two scores, took advantage of Bowles’ error and milked the clock all the way down to the 1:46 mark before Coates scored again, to put the Steelers up 31-13 and ice the game. Bowles made yet another game management error on the drive, calling a timeout with the clock stopped just before the touchdown.

Tags:
todd bowles
new york jets
pittsburgh steelers
ryan fitzpatrick
nfl
brandon marshall
ben roethlisberger
darrelle revis

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