Thursday, October 06, 2016

The Jets, and the rest of the NFL, should be very afraid of these Steelers

By Manish Mehta
October 3, 2016

Ben Roethlisberger might be the quarter-season MVP with a 100.8 passer rating, 1,116 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Ben Roethlisberger might be the quarter-season MVP with a 100.8 passer rating, 1,116 yards and 11 touchdowns.


The Steelers' thorough humiliation of the Chiefs in front of a primetime national audience Sunday makes you wonder exactly what kind of pain they might inflict on the hemorrhaging Jets this week.

Todd Bowles & Co. should be afraid.

Very afraid.
One week after Kansas City undressed the Jets, they were ripped apart by Pittsburgh in a 43-14 soul-smashing beatdown that reestablished Mike Tomlin's offense as the scariest bunch in all the land.
The numbers geeks will give the Jets no shot in Pittsburgh this weekend. The math is ugly. The Jets lost to the Chiefs 24-3 in Week 3. The Steelers destroyed Kansas City 43-14 Sunday night.
By the transitive property of inequalities, the Steelers should beat the Jets by precisely 50 points.
Relax, Gang Green faithful. It won't get that out of hand (I think).
The challenge, however, is daunting for a Jets secondary that has looked lost in this big-boy league. The Steelers' high-octane offense doesn't quite appear to be an elixir. Alas, the Browns don't appear on the Jets schedule until Week 8. Figures.
Bowles publicly remains confident that his awful secondary will right the ship.
By every objective measure, they should struggle against Ben Roethlisberger, who became the sixth quarterback in NFL history to throw five touchdowns in a game five times in his career with his masterpiece on Sunday. Big Ben, the best quarterback not named Brady that the Jets will face this season, went 22-for-27 for 300 yards, 5 TDs, no turnovers and a 152.5 passer rating in the laugher over the Chiefs.
The man completed passes to nine different players (two RBs, three TEs and four WRs) for Pete's sakes. The Jets couldn't stop a one-legged, 5-foot-11 quarterback in their loss to the Seahawks. How are they supposed to stop a 6-5, 240-pound human with healthy limbs?
The Jets have allowed 17 passes of at least 20 yards, including a league-high seven of at least 40 yards. The Steelers are third in the NFL with 18 20-plus yard completions and second with five of at least 40 yards. Wide receiver Sammy Coates has a league-best five catches of at least 40 yards, including at least one in every game.
The math is not on the Jets side.
Neither is the personnel.
Pittsburgh boasts the NFL's most explosive triplets now that all-everything running back Le'Veon Bell is back from suspension. "Le'Veon is one of the best in the world at what he does,'' Tomlin said. "His presence is always significant."
Maybe so, but Bell's 178 total yards in his season debut took a back seat to the aerial show that Big Ben put on. The Steelers averaged a ridiculous 7.9 yards per play. Antonio Brown did Antonio Brown things with a pair of touchdown receptions to help the Steelers race out to a 22-0 lead ... in the first quarter.
Roethlisberger was an unstoppable force that threw three touchdowns of at least 30 yards in the 436-yard offensive outburst.
The Jets, meanwhile, struggled against a hobbled Russell Wilson. Led by an underachieving and overpaid Darrelle Revis, who exited Sunday's loss with a hamstring injury, the Jets are 26th in pass defense through the first quarter of the season. Opposing quarterbacks have a 116.5 passer rating against Bowles' defense, second worst behind the Lions' terrible unit.
To make matters worse, they only have three takeaways (2 INTs, 1 fumble recovery) in four games. The talented defensive line has stuffed the run, but it hasn't generated enough of a consistent pass rush to help the shaky secondary.
If the trend continues, Big Ben, who has thrown at least three touchdowns in five consecutive home games, will eat the Jets for lunch.
Revis has been brutal so far, but the Jets don't have the deepest defensive backfield. So, they could actually use the old fella this weekend.
On the bright side, Steelers right tackle Marcus Gilbert, a terrific pass protector, left Sunday with a bum ankle. Perhaps the Jets could exploit that weakness.
They'll have to figure out something in a hurry to prevent a 1-3 season from reaching the point of no return. It's possible, of course. The season isn't lost yet.
Remember, the Steelers were embarrassed in Philly, 34-3, seven days before they put on this show against the Chiefs.
"Every now and then, you're going to have weeks like this,'' Tomlin said. "We had enough adversity this week, bouncing from our previous performance and dealing with some injury circumstances. It's good coming through the other side of it."
Todd Bowles hopes he can say the same thing next week.

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