Updated, 5:34 p.m. ET
What happened to the Jets’ passing game after the first quarter Sunday in Pittsburgh? “Throwing and catching,” as Mark Sanchez said. But maybe there were a few other things.
The Steelers got much credit for their press coverage on the Jets receivers and that certainly was in play as the game wore on. But the press wasn’t in evidence on the Jets’ first drive, when Sanchez hit four of his first five passes. Santonio Holmes had two catches on the drive, including his TD, Jeremy Kerley one and Clyde Gates his first reception as a Jet. All got into their routes unbumped by the dropping Pittsburgh DBs.
What else happened? Before Sanchez threw his sixth official pass of the game, he took a helmet-to-helmet shot from LB Lawrence Timmons early in the second quarter.
Rex Ryan was asked at his news conference today back at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center if he thought the hit was malicious.
“No,” the head coach said. “It was a helmet-to-helmet hit. It should have been flagged, and it was.”
Sanchez said the same after the game.
“I was kind of on the move. He got a good shot at me,” the QB said. “That’s the way it goes. It’s a physical game. It was a good shot, no doubt about that. Stuff happens. It’s part of the game.”
It’s interesting to note that in Sanchez’s first five quarters of the season his passing line was 23-for-32 for 346 yards, four TDs, one INT and a 133.6 rating. From the head shot on, his line is 6-for-22, 58 yards, no TDs, no INTs, 39.6 rating.
We’ll see later this week if Timmons gets a league fine for the high hit. Meanwhile, Sanchez needs to shake off the cobwebs and try to regain that magic touch. The return of TE Dustin Keller would help, although Ryan had no update on Keller’s hamstring. The Dolphins also could cooperate — their passing defense has yielded 313.5 net yards per game, tied for 30th in the NFL.
Garrett McIntyre played perhaps the game of his career vs. the Steelers, and that would of course include his two years of games in the Arena League and two more seasons in the CFL. Getting the start for Bryan Thomas (ankle), Mac was in on the first two sacks of his NFL career and also was credited with 2.5 tackles for loss on three Pitt running plays.
“It was bittersweet because, obviously, of the outcome,” he said. “But it’s been a long road for me. I had a pretty good feeling before the game, just one of those gut things, that I was going to get my first one. I was happy to do so. And the second one, that’s just icing on the cake. But it’s never as good when you lose.”
“It’s just that he plays hard,” Ryan said today. “He’s one of those guys that we always say plays like a jet. That first sack, he did a tremendous job, ran the stunt perfectly, ran over the center, redirected, made the sack. I thought it was tremendous. He’s a guy who keeps going. Every single play he’s going to give you everything he’s got. He’s probably not the best space player of all time, playing in space like a Calvin Pace, but there’s very few like that. But he can play. He’s a ball of energy and I think that’s good for us.”
Ryan wasn’t leaning one way or the other publicly about Darrelle Revis’ return to action from his mild concussion for the Dolphins. Asked about such a return, he said today, “I don’t think you can assume that. He has to be up to the NFL standards, he has to pass those tests. Right now he looks to be doing well, so hopefully he’ll be playing.”
Ryan also didn’t have updates on Keller, on RB Shonn Greene’s head injury (although Greene came back at the start of the second half), or on FB John Conner (ankle). “I know he was limping around pretty good after the game,” he said of “Concrete.”
Vlad Ducasse got in 10 snaps at LG for Matt Slauson at Pittsburgh. “We’re giving Vlad an opportunity to play,” Ryan said. “It’s the same on defense. You’ll see Demario Davis, Josh Mauga in there. If you have a good football player, you should use him. Vlad’s earned the right to play some.” Said Ducasse: “I felt pretty confident. A couple of plays I could’ve done better at, but that’s thing, keep getting better.”
After two weeks, the Jets’ defense is in the middle and even the back half of the NFL pack when it comes to rankings. With tonight’s Denver-Atlanta game ending Week 2, the Jets are 16th in total yards allowed, 22nd vs. the run, 15th vs. the pass, 31st in third-down efficiency, and tied for 22nd in points allowed. His advice to critics: “Hey, bet against us. That’s all I’m saying. We’ll see where it ends up.”
“Inside the Jets”
D-linemen Sione Po‘uha and Muhammad Wilkerson are the players appearing on tonight’s “Inside the Jets” radio show on ESPN 98.7 FM broadcast from the Grasshopper in Morristown, N.J., from 7-8 p.m.
Tags: Clyde Gates, Darrelle Revis, Dustin Keller, Jeremy Kerley, John Conner, Lawrence Timmons, Mark Sanchez, PIttsburgh Steelers, Rex Ryan, Santonio Holmes, Vlad Ducasse
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