By Christina Rivers

The Pittsburgh Steelers had made one of the most stunning turnarounds in a three-game home stand only to go on the road to MetLife Stadium to face the New York Jets, who were 1-8 on the season, and lose. In a total mental and physical breakdown, the streaking Steelers were shut down in every aspect of the game. The Steelers looked ill-prepared, flat and unspectacular on Sunday, going from being at the top of the AFC North to taking one on the chin.

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Coaching

There is some question as to what playbook the Steelers pulled out in preparation for a Jets team that had little advantage on the football field this season. It certainly didn’t appear that Pittsburgh used the same formula they had unleashed on the Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts or Baltimore Ravens. It’s safe to say that calls for coaching changes will once again rise to the top like bad cream after a performance that resembled their play against the Jacksonville Jaguars than the record-setting, high-scoring team they were in week nine. While the players are ultimately responsible for translating the plays on the field, this game was an example of where an appropriate coaching response and adjustment was not made — or if made, was not followed.

Grade: D

Offense

The Jets were known to have a strong defensive front, but the Steelers offensive line resembled a ship that had run into an ice flow and sprung a leak. They were ineffective at providing blocking for a successful rushing campaign and allowed New York defenders into the backfield where Ben Roethlisberger looked hurried and rushed the entire game. In a play that blew a lot of minds, Roethlisberger lofted a duck of a pass which was easily intercepted — and this after the offensive line gave him excellent protection. Roethlisberger completed 30-of-43 passes attempted for 343 yards and two interceptions for the game, being sacked twice. Running back Le’Veon Bell put up his lowest rushing total this season with only 36 yards on the ground, but set a franchise record for number of reception yards by a running back.

Antonio Brown had the worst performance of the season when he lost a fumble and then muffed a punt and lost it to the Jets. His troubles mirrored a tone that was already being set by the remainder of the offense. An 80-yard touchdown toss to Martavis Bryant with 1:16 left to play in the game was too late to make a difference.

The four turnovers were capitalized by the Jets who translated them into points on the scoreboard, effectively saying ‘thank you’ for the giveaways.

Grade: D-

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Defense

The Steelers defense came into the game with a slight advantage and watched it slip away quickly. In the opening offensive series by New York, the Steelers played very soft coverage, allowing Michael Vick to hit receivers at will, send his rushers around the ends and use his own feet to gain yardage. Although the defense pulled together to make some critical three-and-out stops, they were being forced onto the field too often due to turnovers and mistakes by their own offense. William Gay nearly had an interception but couldn’t hold on. Pittsburgh’s defense wasn’t so much chewed up and spit out by the Jets as they were by their own teammates, preventing hard-earned stands to be turned into a quick response by the offense.

Grade: C+

Special Teams

Kicker Shaun Suisham has been solid for the Steelers this season, but even he was affected by the negative response his team was able to put together against New York. Suisham shanked a rare 23-yard field goal that should have been an easy three points. Special teams continues to be the most disappointing squad for the Steelers, having few highlight moments. With Brown mishandling a punt, the Steelers tried sending in LeGarrette Blount without success.

Grade: D-

Summary

The Steelers did not resemble the week nine team in any form. They played flat and looked ill-prepared for a game that actually turned into the predicted ‘trap game’. The poor performance moves Pittsburgh to 6-4 (tied with the Baltimore Ravens), trailing the 5-3-1 Cincinnati Bengals and 6-3 Cleveland Browns. The AFC North is up for grabs, but the Steelers won’t come anywhere near the title of champion if they can’t snap out of giving games away to teams who have been abysmal except when they’ve played Pittsburgh. The Steelers failed to impress in week ten.

For more Steelers news and updates, visit Steelers Central.

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Christina Rivers has covered the Pittsburgh Steelers and National Football League professionally as a reporter and photographer for over a decade. Rivers studied exercise physiology and sports psychology at Brigham Young University as a student-athlete. Christina is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. Her work can be found on
Examiner.com.