The New York Jets finally played hard an entire game and their efforts certainly paid off. The Gang Green snapped a 6-game losing streak, deservingly defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers in overtime, 19-16.
New York got off to a quick start when, on the second play from scrimmage, QB Kellen Clemens connected with WR Laveranues Coles on a flea flicker pass that resulted in a 56-yard gain. Two plays later Clemens found TE Chris Baker in the end zone, as the Jets took a 7-0 lead. Pittsburgh tried to answer on the ensuing possession but their drive got stalled in the Jets’ territory when LB David Harris recorded the first Jets' sack in this game. Later in the quarter the Jets had a golden opportunity to extend their lead, having a 1st and goal on the Steelers’ 1-yard line. But three incomplete passes forced them to settle for a field goal, 10-0.
As the second quarter began, the Jets quickly gave up the ball on an uneventful 3 and out possession, which was followed by a long methodical Pittsburgh drive that resulted in a touchdown, 10-7. Seven minutes later S Kerry Rhodes intercepted Ben Roethlisberger at midfield, giving New York great field position and another great chance to extend the lead. RB Thomas Jones, who became the first player to gain over 100 yard on the ground against the Steelers in 2 years, moved the Gang Green to the Steelers’ 2-yard line. But once again the Jets had to settle for a field goal, having failed to score a touchdown on five attempts from two and one-yard lines. PK Mike Nugent was on target again, 13-7.
In the third quarter the Steelers scored two field goals, tying the game 13-13. It was deja vu all over again – good first half, followed by a miserable performance in the second. Pittsburgh had the momentum and it sure seemed like this would be yet another heartbreaking loss for the Gang Green.
These fears became even stronger in the fourth quarter when the Steelers scored another field goal and took the lead for the first time, 16-13. Fortunately, this rested, regrouped Jet team wasn’t going to give up. With 2:23 left in the period the Gang Green took over on their 14-yard line and Kellen Clemens began methodically moving them down the field. He looked poised and calm and when he couldn’t find his receivers, he did not panic and ran for a first down himself. His 14-yard pass to Chris Baker put the Jets on the Steelers’ 5-yard line with 37 seconds to play and no timeouts. New York had plenty of time to score the winning touchdown but failed again and Nugent sent the game into overtime with a 28-yard field goal.
The teams exchanged three and out possessions in overtime, and then RB Leon Washington made a 33-yard punt return that instantly put the Jets in field goal range. Four plays later Mike Nugent scored a 38-yard field goal to give the Jets a so much needed 19-16 victory. The kick broke a six-game losing streak for the Gang Green (2-8), who celebrated their first win since Week 3 against Miami.
QB Kellen Clemens finished the game 14 of 31 for 162 yards, 1TD, 1 INT. RB Thomas Jones gained 117 yards on 30 carries. TE Chris Baker led the team with 4 catches for 34 yards, 1 TD.
The defense that had only 9 sacks in the first 9 games of the season looked monstrous against the Steelers - 7 sacks, 1 fumble and 1 interception. Rookie LB David Harris once again had the team best 11 tackles (7 solo) and 1 sack. DE Shaun Ellis had 2 sacks and DT Dewayne Robertson added 2.5 more. Ellis also forced a fumble that he also recovered.
PK Mike Nugent was perfect (4 of 4) on field goal attempts.
The Jets will travel to Dallas on Thursday to take on the Dallas Cowboys (9-1) on the annual Thanksgiving Classic. The kickoff is at 4:15 PM EST.