Final

Jets 22

(10-4, 6-1 away)

Steelers 17

(10-4, 4-3 home)

Coverage: CBS

4:15 PM ET, December 19, 2010

Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, PA 

1 2 3 4 T
NYJ 7 3 7 522
PIT 0 10 7 017

Top Performers

Passing: B. Roethlisberger (PIT) - 264 YDS, 1 TD

Rushing: R. Mendenhall (PIT) - 17 CAR, 99 YDS, 1 TD

Receiving: M. Wallace (PIT) - 7 REC, 102 YDS

Jets snap two-game skid by escaping Steelers

Associated Press

PITTSBURGH -- Mark Sanchez promised his Jets teammates he wasn't losing this one.

Not to a team the Jets had never beaten on the road. Not even after successive demoralizing losses led to speculation they were collapsing.

Sanchez didn't lose it. But before he could celebrate, he waited out two agonizing minutes as one of the NFL's best last-gasp quarterbacks nearly stole a victory the Jets desperately needed.

Sanchez stood up to the pressure created by the Steelers' defense and his team's two-game losing streak, scrambling for the Jets' first offensive touchdown in 12 quarters and leading a decisive field-goal drive as New York beat Pittsburgh 22-17 on Sunday.

"We wanted to get to 10 wins, that was our goal, and I'm really proud of the guys for rallying," said Sanchez, who played terribly in losses to the Patriots (45-3) and Dolphins (10-6).

He's also very, very relieved the Steelers didn't rally. The Jets (10-4) held on to win even as Ben Roethlisberger drove the Steelers from their own 8 to New York's 10 in the final 2:08, only to throw incomplete on the final two plays.

"This win might surprise a lot of people, but it didn't surprise us," said coach Rex Ryan, who showed his team's toughness by going without a sideline jacket on a 25-degree day. "We needed it huge. There's no question."

Despite losing, the Steelers (10-4) were told by the NFL nearly an hour after the game ended that they secured a playoff spot via a series of complicated strength-of-schedule tiebreakers.

Pittsburgh also owns the division tiebreaker and will beat out Baltimore (10-4) for the AFC North title if it defeats Carolina on Thursday and Cleveland on Jan. 2.

"We've just got to win two more games, very winnable games, teams we match up well against," safety Ryan Clark said. "We still can win this division."

The Jets, nearing a playoff spot, won in Pittsburgh for the first time after going 0-7 there since the 1970 merger. Only two NFL teams have longer winless streaks in an opposing city during that span.

"It was a relief," right tackle Wayne Hunter said. "It really was a relief, and a big burden off our shoulders."

Especially Sanchez's shoulders. He went 19 of 29 for 170 yards against a No. 4-ranked defense that was missing injured safety Troy Polamalu (Achilles tendon), with Braylon Edwards making eight catches for 100 yards. New York won in one of the NFL's most difficult road venues despite being outgained 378-276.

Sanchez was sacked only once, and didn't throw an interception for the first time in nine games.

"It's been a tough couple of weeks, but when he stood up in that huddle and he said, 'I'm going to play better. I'm not going to continue to turn the ball over' ... you had to believe the guy," running back LaDainian Tomlinson said.

The Steelers believed they were going to win it, too.

"It was nerve-racking," Edwards said.

Roethlisberger (23 of 44, 264 yards) repeatedly kept the final drive going, finding rookie Emmanuel Sanders for 29 yards on third-and-24, Mike Wallace for 18 on third-and-10 and Antonio Brown for 16 on third-and-10 before failing to connect with Sanders and tight end Matt Spaeth on the final two plays.

"I told the guys, let's be great, let's go down the field and score. We got close, but not close enough," Roethlisberger said.

The Steelers had to go for a touchdown on the final drive rather than settling for a field goal because Mewelde Moore was tackled in the end zone for a safety by Jason Taylor with 2:38 remaining.

Spaeth, filling in for the injured Heath Miller (concussion) as the top tight end, earlier had a 9-yard TD catch that finished off a 16-play, 96-yard drive that tied it at 7.

Pittsburgh later took its first lead at 17-10 on Rashard Mendenhall's 2-yard run. The Steelers, winners of their previous four, shook off Brad Smith's 97-yard kickoff return on the game's opening play to take that lead, but couldn't hold it.

Sanchez fooled the NFL's best run defense by faking a handoff before racing into the end zone untouched on a tying 7-yard TD run in the third quarter.

"We practiced it against our defense and it caught them off guard," Sanchez said. "It was a great call at the right time."

The Jets ran for 106 yards against a defense that came in allowing 60 yards rushing per game.

Sanchez followed his TD run by hitting Edwards for 16 yards on a key third-and-9 play, leading to Nick Folk's go-ahead 34-yard field goal on a snow-splattered turf with 10:07 remaining. Folk hit earlier from 25 yards.

Game notes


New York is 6-1 on the road; Pittsburgh is 4-3 at home. ... Mendenhall ran for 100 yards on 17 carries against the NFL's No. 3 defense, only his second 100-yard effort in 11 games. Wallace had seven catches for 102 yards. ... The Jets are 4-16 against Pittsburgh. ... Pittsburgh had 35 yards in penalties after having 420 in its previous four games. ... The Jets were without strength coach Sal Alosi, who was suspended indefinitely after kneeing a Dolphins player on a kick return last week. ... Jets WR Santonio Holmes, the Super Bowl MVP two seasons ago, had six catches for 40 yards. ... The Steelers gave up a league-high four such touchdowns last season, but Smith's score was the first against them this season. The Jets have a league-high 14 kickoff return scores since 2001.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
NYJ
PIT
1st Downs1725
Passing 1st downs
814
Rushing 1st downs
810
1st downs from Penalties
11
3rd down efficiency
6-1311-17
4th down efficiency
1-10-0
Total Plays5772
Total Yards276377
Yards per play4.85.2
Total Drives99
Passing170231
Comp - Att
19-2923-44
Yards per pass
5.95.3
Interceptions thrown
00
Sacks - Yards Lost
1-03-33
Rushing106146
Rushing Attempts
2725
Yards per rush
3.95.8
Red Zone (Made-Att)1-32-3
Penalties3-193-35
Turnovers00
Fumbles lost
00
Interceptions thrown
00
Defensive / Special Teams TDs10
Possession28:4231:18

Passing Leaders

NYJC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Sanchez19/291705.9001-0
PITC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Roethli...23/442646.0103-33

Rushing Leaders

NYJCARYDSAVGTDLG
Tomlinson11494.5011
Greene12403.306
PITCARYDSAVGTDLG
Mendenhall17995.8121
Roethli...22512.5022

Receiving Leaders

NYJRECYDSAVGTDLGTGTS
Edwards810012.503811
Holmes6406.70119
PITRECYDSAVGTDLGTGTS
Wallace710214.602310
Sanders77811.102913

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERNYJPIT
nyjTD14:48Brad Smith 97 Yd Kickoff Return (Nick Folk Kick) 70
SECOND QUARTERNYJPIT
pitTD07:29Matt Spaeth 9 Yd Pass From Ben Roethlisberger (Shaun Suisham Kick) 77
nyjFG02:48Nick Folk 25 Yd 107
pitFG00:33Shaun Suisham 42 Yd 1010
THIRD QUARTERNYJPIT
pitTD09:03Rashard Mendenhall 2 Yd Run (Shaun Suisham Kick) 1017
nyjTD05:14Mark Sanchez 7 Yd Run (Nick Folk Kick) 1717
FOURTH QUARTERNYJPIT
nyjFG10:07Nick Folk 34 Yd 2017
nyjSF02:38Mewelde Moore Tackled By Jason Taylor In End Zone 2217