The Jets are arriving back in the area today and tonight for a return to practice and meetings Monday morning. As safety Kerry Rhodes said before departing for home and a four-day bye-week hiatus, "I’m going to try and come back refreshed."
Will the Green & White get a break from their break?
No, not a break. Not when their return-to-work opponent next Sunday is the Pittsburgh Steelers.
In some ways, the Steelers looked vulnerable during their 31-28 comeback home win over the Cleveland Browns earlier today. They fell behind by 15 points in the second quarter. They gave up 90- and 100-yard kickoff returns to Josh Cribbs — you know Mike Westhoff and Leon Washington have been paying close attention to that.
But a lot of things looked the same as they have as the Steelers have assembled their 7-2 record, which will be either third-best or tied for second-best in the AFC, depending on how 7-1 Indianapolis fares tonight at San Diego.
The Black & Gold moved the ball well on the Browns. There was Willie Parker’s 105 rushing yards, Ben Roethlisberger’s 30-yard scramble TD (remember Redskin QB Jason Campbell’s 29-yard scamper a week ago?) and 159 rushing yards in all, not to mention 401 yards from scrimmage.
And on defense there was more of Pittsburgh LB James Harrison — after forcing three fumbles in the Steelers’ Monday night romp over Baltimore, Harrison came off his right side (which would be the Jets’ left side, led by T D’Brickashaw Ferguson) to force two more fumbles today, both on Jamal Lewis runs.
Perhaps worst of all was the 15-point come-from-behind victory, equaling the largest in the NFL this season.
"We had an opportunity to do something today that we hadn’t done," said rookie head coach Mike Tomlin, "and that was to show our mettle and come from behind and pull it out. We did it."
If the Steelers didn’t know they had a comeback team, they do now. The Jets already know how to lose a double-digit lead during the odd weeks of the schedule — they led by 10 over the Giants in Week 5, 13 over the Bengals in Week 7 and 14 over the Redskins in Week 9.
The Jets do have intangibles working in their favor. Jets fans all remember what happened in their team’s return to work after last year’s Week 9 bye, and so do the Patriots. If this year’s model is going to get things in order and make some noise this year, this is the time to do it.
This also should mark Kellen Clemens’ second start ahead of Chad Pennington, and as Clemens said early this past week before the intensive bye-week workouts: "I’m starting to develop more of a relationship with the first-string wide receivers. Anytime you can do that and improve in that area, it only helps further on down the line."
And as many are aware, Sunday at the Meadowlands will be Curtis Martin Day. No. 28 will come out of the West end zone tunnel one more time to the wild applause of the fans he cherishes.
Perhaps Curtis can provide the missing link that will push the Jets over the top against this week’s dangerous opponent. We’ll let you know how refreshed the Green & White seem for their return-to-work assignment, beginning with news stories and Radar entries as Monday’s first day back unfolds.
Tags: Ben Roethlisberger, bye week, Leon Washington, Steelers
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