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01-23-2011, 03:42 AM
AFC GameDay: Jets at Steelers
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By RICK GOSSELIN / The Dallas Morning News

Published 23 January 2011 01:19 AM

TV: Ch. 11

Radio: KRLD-FM 105.3

Line: Steelers by 3 1/2

Forecast: Mostly cloudy, high of 18, low of 3; 10 percent chance of precipitation

The Jets will win if ...

Shonn Greene and LaDainian Tomlinson find a way to muster 120 rushing yards between them against the Steelers like they did in each of the Jets’ two playoff victories. Mark Sanchez needs a play-action passing game to survive at quarterback. If the Jets can’t run, he has no chance.

The Steelers will win if ...

Ben Roethlisberger is his usual big-game self. His winning touchdown pass to Santonio Holmes in the closing minutes of the 2009 Super Bowl and his 58-yard bomb to Antonio Brown last week on third-and-19 in the closing minutes against Baltimore attest to the fact he plays big in big games.

Key matchup: Steelers WR Mike Wallace vs. Jets CB Darrelle Revis

Every NFL team has a big- play receiver who can beat you down the field. But not every team has a Darrelle Revis to snuff out that threat.

Revis is a key reason the Jets are playing for the AFC championship. New York’s shutdown cornerback has done just that in the first two rounds of the playoffs — shut down a big-play receiver.

Against Indianapolis, the Jets assigned Revis to Pro Bowl wideout Reggie Wayne. Peyton Manning threw only one ball in his direction all night and the Jets won, 17-16.

In the AFC semifinals against New England, the Jets assigned Revis to Deion Branch. Tom Brady threw only two passes to Branch in the first half, both incomplete, and the Patriots fell behind 14-3 on the way to a 28-21 defeat. Brady threw 10 passes to Branch but he only caught five for 59 yards.

Revis is likely to cover Mike Wallace , who caught 60 passes this season, averaging 21 yards per reception with 10 touchdowns and an NFL-high seven 100-yard games.

In the teams’ first meeting in December, the Jets spent most of the game trying to cover Wallace with Antonio Cromartie. Wallace lit up the Jets for 102 yards on seven catches , but the Jets kept him out of the end zone in a 22-17 victory.

Wallace scored on bombs of 56, 53, 52, 46, 43, 41 and 39 yards this season. Every time he catches a pass, he can take it the distance. Assigning Revis to Wallace will minimize his big-play opportunities.

EDGE: Jets


1. Be physical

The Jets dressed 11 defensive backs in their victory over pass-happy New England last weekend. They’d better suit up extra linemen for this one because to beat the Steelers they must match Pittsburgh’s physicality. Both teams had almost a 50-50 split between the run and the pass this season. Any run defense will look inviting to the Steelers after they faced the Ravens last week.

2. Rushing backs

The Jets were eighth in the NFL with 40 sacks from their 3-4 defense, but their linebackers managed only 191/2 of them. The damage the Jets do in the pass rush comes from blitzing defensive backs. Nickel CB Drew Coleman led NFL defensive backs with four sacks, and the Jets led all secondaries with 11. Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger better keep an eye on Coleman, who forced five fumbles this season.

3. Turn Troy loose

The Steelers finished third in the NFL with 35 takeaways _ but didn’t have any in their December home loss to the Jets. NFL Defensive Player of the Year Troy Polamalu, Pittsburgh’s resident big-playmaker, sat out that game with an injury. He intercepted seven passes and forced a fumble in the 14 games he did play. He can singlehandedly make Jets QB Mark Sanchez’s life miserable.

4. Kick smart

Pittsburgh’s defense is Super Bowl-ready. But the Steelers can’t afford to allow the Jets to score when the defense is off the field like they did in their December loss, when Brad Smith returned a kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown to sink the Steelers. Smith led the NFL with a 28.6-yard kick return average. Kicker Shaun Suisham must keep the ball away from Smith.


When the Jets run

The Jets bring the NFL’s fourth-best rushing offense to Pittsburgh. Not that it matters. The Steelers have the NFL’s top-ranked run defense and have allowed one 100-yard rusher in their last 51 games. Opponents averaged 3.0 yards per carry with five rushing touchdowns.

EDGE: Steelers

When the Jets pass

Mark Sanchez is sterling one moment, shaky the next. He has big-play receivers in Braylon Edwards and Santonio Holmes, but will he have time to find them? The Steelers led the NFL with 48 sacks this season. The Jets need to account for safety Troy Polamalu on every play.

EDGE: Steelers

When the Steelers run

Rashard Mendenhall started fast for the Steelers but is finishing slow. He was a 1,000-yard rusher but has struggled of late, running for less than 70 yards in five of his last six games. The Jets finished third in the NFL in rushing defense, led by their swarming linebackers.

EDGE: Jets

When the Steelers pass

Just as the Jets must account for Polamalu, the Steelers must account for CB Darrelle Revis. He took Reggie Wayne out of the game against the Colts and he’ll probably draw Mike Wallace this time. The Jets finished in the NFL’s top 10 in sacks and takeaways.

EDGE: Jets

Special teams

The Jets finished third in the NFL in kickoff returns, and both Brad Smith and Antonio Cromartie are gamebreakers. Steve Weatherford of the Jets led the league with 42 punts inside the 20. The Steelers are on their second punter and second kicker of the season.

EDGE: Jets


The Jets are 16-5 on the road in the two-year Rex Ryan era, and the Steelers have lost a record four AFC title games on their home field. But Ben Roethlisberger is 9-2 in the playoffs for his career, and at this time of year, it’s all about quarterbacks.

EDGE: Steelers


Tim Cowlishaw, Steelers, 16-10: Jets’ run ends in same game, different city as last year when they face a defense that’s their equal.

Gerry Fraley, Steelers, 20-19: The Terrible Towel is too powerful even for Rex Ryan.

Rick Gosselin, Steelers, 16-13: History is beckoning Ben Roethlisberger to win a third Super Bowl.

David Moore, Steelers, 20-17: Ben Roethlisberger does what Peyton Manning and Tom Brady couldn’t.

Bill Nichols, Jets, 24-20: The Jets are 2-0 in postseason road games against teams with QBs headed to the Hall of Fame.

Rainer Sabin, Steelers, 21-17: The Steelers won’t squander a chance to invade Dallas and add to the misery of Cowboys fans.

Kevin Sherrington, Steelers, 21-17: Rex finally runs into a QB he can’t intimidate, confuse or bamboozle in Big Ben.

Jean-Jacques Taylor, Steelers, 17-16: Big Ben does his usual, making late clutch plays and gaining a chance to win third Super Bowl.

01-23-2011, 03:44 AM
AFC championship match up: Steelers vs. Jets
Sunday, January 23, 2011
By Gerry Dulac, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Game plan

When the Jets have the ball: QB Mark Sanchez was part of the difference in the first meeting because he was near-flawless in his execution of play-action. He had the lowest completion percentage of any AFC QB in the regular season (54.8) but has been more effective in the postseason (60.7 percent, 383 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT). WR Braylon Edwards has been a beast in the postseason, catching six passes for 114 yards and one touchdown. He was a problem for the Steelers in the first meeting when CB Ike Taylor was matched against WR Santonio Holmes. The Jets are averaging 144.5 yards rushing in the postseason. They rushed for 106 yards in the first meeting, the most against the Steelers' defense in the regular season. Part of the reason is Pro Bowl C Nick Mangold, who will be matched against NT Casey Hampton and does a good job getting to the second tier.

When the Steelers have the ball: Ben Roethlisberger's career playoff record is 9-2, and the reason is his ability to bring his team back from almost any situation. He hasn't thrown an interception in his past 190 attempts and he won't drop at the first hint of pressure like Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. Because CB Darrelle Revis was matched mostly on Hines Ward in the first meeting, Roethlisberger targeted WR Mike Wallace (10) and rookie WR Emmanuel Sanders (13) for 23 of his 44 attempts. CB Antonio Cromartie isolated on Wallace because he is fastest of the two corners, but Wallace caught seven passes for 102 yards. The Steelers rushed for 146 yards in that first meeting -- their fourth highest total in the regular season -- and RB Rashard Mendenhall averaged 5.9 yards on 17 carries. They will have to do that again to keep the Jets from dropping seven and eight players into coverage.
Keep and eye on

Jets special teams ... WR/KR Brad Smith hurt the Steelers in the first meeting, returning the opening kickoff 97 yards for a TD. Smith (groin) did not play last week, but his replacement, Antonio Cromartie, has averaged 31.8 ypr n the postseason. The Steelers allowed two long returns against the Ravens, including a 55-yard punt return for touchdown that was negated by penalty. What's more, they have committed a number of holding and illegal-block penalties, resulting in poor field position. Their longest kick return in the past eight games is 27 yards and the longest punt return in the past six is 11 yards.

This is the fifth appearance and second in a row in the AFC championship for the Jets, who are 1-3. Before their Dec. 19 victory at Heinz Field, the Jets had been 0-7 all time in Pittsburgh since the 1970 merger. The Jets are 8-2 on the road after going 6-2 during the regular season. ... The Steelers are 16-4 all time vs. the Jets, including 1-0 in the postseason. This is the Steelers' 15th appearance in the AFC championship, 11th time at home. They are 7-7 overall, 5-5 at home.
Keys to victory

To win, the Jets must ...

1 Not give Ben a chance. They don't want to tempt fate again by giving Roethlisberger an opportunity to beat them in the final minute.

2 Handle Harrison. The Steelers sacked Sanchez just once in the first meeting and will likely amp their pressure with OLB James Harrison.

3 Take to the road. They already have beaten the top three QBs in the league on the road -- Roethlisberger, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady.

To win, the Steelers must ...

1 Get Sanchez off his mark. His efficiency and productivity in the postseason has been the Jets' biggest asset.

2 'Tone down Holmes. The secondary has to be sure the only Super Bowl-like catch their former teammate makes is the one he had last week vs. the Patriots.

3 Remember 2001. Don't let another trip to the Super Bowl be derailed by special-teams blunders, as it was vs. Troy Brown and the Patriots nine years ago.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11023/11 ... z1BqHYa9hP (http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11023/1119838-66.stm#ixzz1BqHYa9hP)

01-23-2011, 03:45 AM
Head to head: Steelers LB James Harrison vs. Jets LT D'Brickashaw Ferguson
Sunday, January 23, 2011
By Gerry Dulac, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


That's how many sacks the Steelers had on Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez in the Dec. 19 meeting at Heinz Field -- a surprisingly low number for a team that led the National Football League with 48 sacks in the regular season.

That is also the number of times the Jets had a third-down conversion opportunity longer than 9 yards against the Steelers. And they were faced with 13 third-down chances.

Both occurred on the same play in the Jets' 22-17 victory. Linebacker James Farrior had the only sack on Sanchez on a third-and-18 from the Jets' 46 in the first quarter.

"We don't want to have those guys in third-and-manageable situations," Farrior said. "We definitely want to get them in third-and-long situations where they're going to have to make Sanchez throw the ball."

The Steelers are hoping to put the Jets in more of those third-and-long situations in today's AFC Championship Game at Heinz Field. In the first meeting, seven of the Jets' third-down opportunities were third-and-5 or shorter, allowing Sanchez to keep the Steelers guessing with run or pass options.

The Steelers had a good chance at another sack on third-and-9 at the Jets' 46 in the fourth quarter, but safety Ryan Mundy missed Sanchez on a blitz and Jets receiver Braylon Edwards caught a 16-yard pass to keep alive a field-goal drive that would give the Jets a 20-17 lead.

"They made sure they kept it third-and-manageable with quick-game throws," said outside linebacker James Harrison. "If you do the quick game, it gets your quarterback time to get the ball out and you don't have to worry abut too much pressure getting to him. It gets you 4 to 5 yards a hit on first and second down and makes third down manageable. We're going to have to find a way to correct that."

Harrison could be the perfect solution. And just in time.

After going five games with just a half-sack, Harrison had three sacks in last week's 31-24 divisional playoff victory against the Baltimore Ravens -- a career high for him in five postseason starts. What's more, he also had two tackles for losses and spent a large portion of the game disrupting the Ravens' backfield.

"I don't think we called any more pressures than normal," said Farrior, the defensive captain. "I ... think he did a great job with his one-on-one battles with the tackle. Sometimes they let a running back block him, which isn't a good idea for any running back, and he took advantage of those opportunities."

Harrison, who has been selected to four consecutive Pro Bowls, should have a good one-on-one battle against the Jets. He will line against two-time Pro Bowl left tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson, the fourth overall pick in the 2006 draft.

"It's big ... very important," defensive end Brett Keisel said about applying pressure on Sanchez. "We didn't get to him last time, and I think that is something we have done well, as of late, is getting the quarterback."

Maybe even more bothersome to defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau is that the Steelers didn't force any turnovers against the Jets in the first meeting.

"You always need a little more pressure on the quarterback," LeBeau said. "I think more important than that, we didn't get any turnovers in that game at all. We have to turn the ball over a little, get pressure on the ball."

Harrison is a good place to start.
Gerry Dulac: gdulac@post-gazette.com.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11023/11 ... z1BqHnTmc1 (http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11023/1119837-66.stm#ixzz1BqHnTmc1)

01-23-2011, 03:56 AM
Steelers-Jets Key Matchups
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By: Mike Bires
Beaver County Times

Saturday January 22, 2011 11:18 PM

Jets’ corners vs. Steelers wideouts Darrelle Revis is a swindler. That's the word from Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward. According to Ward, opposing quarterbacks are too fearful of throwing toward "Revis Island." Ward respects Revis. Ward will even concede that Revis is the NFL's top cover corner. But "Yeah, he can be beat," Ward said. "I just think he swindles guys. You really don't want to mess around with him because, if you make a mistake, he's a game-changer. As a wide receiver, you get frustrated, but if the quarterback's not looking at you, there's nothing you can do about it." When the Steelers lost to the Jets on Dec. 19, Ward was basically shut down by Revis (two catches, 34 yards. After the game, Ward claims he was open at times, but Ben Roethlisberger didn't notice. Roethlisberger only threw in Ward's direction three times. Will Revis guard Ward man-to-man again tonight? The Jets aren't saying. Mike Wallace, the Steelers' other starting wideout, was targeted 10 times by Roethlisberger. Wallace finished with seven catches for 102 yards.

Ferguson vs. Harrison Last year in Freeport, N.Y., village officials renamed one of their streets D'Brickashaw Ferguson Way. That honor was bestowed upon the Jets' left tackle for two reasons. First, his foundation provides scholarship money to students in need and financial aid to local food banks. Secondly, he's excellent on the field and has helped propel the Jets into the national spotlight. For much of tonight, two-time Pro Bowler Ferguson will be matched up against another Pro Bowler, James Harrison. It's a one-on-one matchup pitting two of the NFL's best players at their positions. After recording 10.5 sacks, six forced fumbles and two interceptions during the regular season, Harrison was phenomenal last week in a playoff win over Baltimore. Down 21-7 at halftime against the Ravens, defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau challenged his defense to make plays in the second half. Harrison did his part. On the first play in each of the Ravens' first two series in the third quarter, Harrison sacked Joe Flacco. Harrison, who had another sack in the fourth quarter, set the tone for the Steelers' comeback. Harrison had six solo tackles but no sacks in today’s teams' earlier meeting.

Steelers’ kick coverage vs. Smith It took the Jets just 12 seconds to set the tone on Dec. 19. That's the time it took for Brad Smith to return the opening kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown. The Steelers' kick coverage team insists it won't happen again. Could they employ the same tactic they did against the Browns? Fearful that renowned kick return specialist Josh Cribbs would make a big play, Shaun Suisham squibbed all eight of the Steelers' kickoffs. The strategy worked as the Browns averaged only 9.1 yards per return, and Cribbs averaged only 7.7 yards on three returns. However, squib kicks don't always work for the Steelers. Last week after the Steelers scored the go-ahead TD against the Ravens with 1:33 left to play, Suisham's squib kick was picked up by one of the blocking backs at the 40-yard line and returned 12 yards to the Steelers' 48-yard line. That could have been disastrous. This year during the regular season, only five kickoff returners scored multiple touchdowns. One of them was Smith, who ranked second in the league with a 28.6-yard average. For the most part this season, the Steelers have done well covering kicks. At least they've done much better than last year when they allowed four TDs on kickoff returns.

Discipline of Steel
01-23-2011, 08:35 AM
The line is us by 3 1/2 at home...or basically us by 1/2 point without the home field advantage. Pu-lease! Call the TSA because the Jets are gonna get hijacked in this game :Beer

01-23-2011, 03:57 PM
Go Steelers!

:tt2 :tt2 :tt2 :tt2 :tt2 :tt2 :tt2