Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)


Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)


Article excerpt

EAST RUTHERFORD - Rex Ryan proved to be a prophet Sunday, although he certainly wishes he wasn't.

During the week leading up to Sunday's game, the Jets coach repeatedly praised Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, noting how Big Ben's 6-foot-5, 241-pound frame makes him very difficult to bring down.

"You have to do a tremendous job of wrapping him up," Ryan said, "and hope help is coming."

Well, in the first quarter, budding superstar Muhammad Wilkerson had Roethlisberger in his grasp in the end zone. A safety appeared imminent. But Roethlisberger somehow slipped free from the Pro Bowl candidate and got the ball away for an incompletion.

That play summed up the frustration of the Jets, as the momentum from their upset at Atlanta a week ago also slipped from their fingers. Previously winless Pittsburgh grinded its way to a 19-6 victory at MetLife Stadium.

The Jets (3-3) got more bad news later in the day, when New England (5-1) miraculously came back to beat New Orleans in the final minute. The Jets host the Patriots on Sunday.

"That's what Ben does," Ryan said, referring to Roethlisberger's escape. "He's a big, strong guy. ... I've seen him make those plays before."

And Roethlisberger looked nothing like the player who had been responsible for nine Pittsburgh (1-4) turnovers in the first four games. Similarly, the Pittsburgh defense didn't resemble the unit that hadn't produced a takeaway in 2013, and instead looked more like the vintage Steeler defenses of recent years.

The Jets were held without a touchdown for the first time this season, and Smith (19-for-34, 201 yards, three sacks) reverted to his form of the first four games with two interceptions, both of which short-circuited potential scoring drives.

The Jets' best chance at a touchdown came on their second drive, when they were stopped on third down at the Pittsburgh 2 and kicked a field goal to open the scoring.

"My thinking there was to take the lead," Ryan said. "Let's just get on the scoreboard. …

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