Stillers - Jets Game Summary
For the second week in a row the Black 'n Gold picks up a win. And, for the fourth week in a row, the team has shown signs of improvement. All this with Cincinnati and Cleveland on the horizon. Had Pittsburgh won the two games it should have won at Cleveland and versus Tennessee, they'd be posting a 4-1 record. So close, but so far away...too bad close only counts in horse shoes and hand grenades.
The first quarter was fairly unproductive (at least offensively) as both teams seemed content to trade punts. During the Jets first offensive play, though, Testaverde was hit by Gildon and put out of the game due to a stinger (more likely fear that his record against the Stillers would continue to slide). This play may very well have decided the fate of the Jets as backup Ray Lucas proved mostly ineffective. Dewayne Washington would undoubtedly agree with this statement....Late in the first quarter, Dewayne played Jets receiver and ran an INT back to the NY 18 yard line. Plagued by poor execution and an intentional grounding against Stewart, the team settled for a 43 yard FG by Kris Brown.
In the second quarter, the Jets had a chance to tie the ball game with a 29 yard FG by kicker John Hall, but Jason Gildon came up with a block -- the first blocked kick by the Stillers in two seasons. Near the end of the half, the Stillers mounted a drive capped by a 12 yard, well deserved TD run by the Bus. This TD run was reminiscent of Hines Ward's should-be-TD run two weeks ago when the play was stopped for review....initially, the play was ruled dead at the half yard line, but after review, the refs made the correct decision and overturned the on-field ruling to put 6 points on the board with 1:40 remaining in the half.
In the final moment of the first half, the Jets were able to mount a drive resulting in a 41 yard FG to close the half with the Stillers up 10-3.
In the third quarter, the Jets were held scoreless while the Stillers were also unable to add any points. Note: One of the key plays of the third quarter was a turnover caused by a solid hit on Curtis Martin by Flowers and a nice fumble recovery by Captain Kirk.
By the start of the fourth quarter, the game was basically in hand despite still being within reach for the Jets. The NY fans were starting to file out to the parking lot.... Even though NY had come from behind in 3 of 4 games this season, the Jets with Testaverde on the sideline were obviously playing with little confidence offensively. Pittsburgh struck early in the 4th when they scored 7 points on a 13 play, 87 yard drive. The TD was scored on a nice 10 yard pass from Stewart to a crossing Bobby Shaw (remarkably, Stewart actually looked off the defense during the play). Pittsburgh basically sealed up the game later in the quarter when Joey Porter stripped the ball from Lucas and Kevin Henry fell on the loose pigskin at the Pittsburgh 35. The Stillers offense found ways to move the chains and NY was at the mercy of the clock.
All in all, the effort was solid on offense and defense, although the special teams still have question marks. The kick off team remains the primary concern as Brown again kicked a ball out of bounds and the coverage allowed a big 39 yard return by ex-Stiller Dwight Stone.
Offensively, Stewart finished the game 17/26 for 140 yards passing with 0 INT's and 6 rushes for 33 yards. Bettis pounded his way for 107 yards on 25 carries (4.3 yds/carry) and Fu rushed for 35 yards on 7 carries (5 yds/carry). Kordell spread the ball around passing - Edwards 4-27, Plax 3-26, Fu 2-23, Bobby Shaw 2-20, Hines Ward 2-18, Witman 2-11, Bruener 1-7, Cory Geason 1-8.
Defensively, the entire unit played aggressively...swarming to the ball and missing very few tackles. If Lewis can keep this group playing with intensity and pursuing every play with purpose, the Stillers will find themselves in many ball games this year.
Shar Pourdanesh left the game after spraining his knee at the end of the first quarter - backup Tharpe though played well in his absence and the Stillers were able to run the ball effectively off his side.... Josh Miller injured his left ankle after a punt in the 4th quarter but left the game under his own power.... The Jets final four possessions resulted in three turnovers and a punt.... After giving up 109 yards to Priest Holmes, Pittsburgh has shutdown opposing runners (Rhett - 55, George - 74, Taylor 24, Martin - 59).... Bill Cowher is now posts a 59-7 record after leading at halftime.