Steelers Recap: Week 5 vs. New York Jets
Often times when a team has a dominate performance, they come out the next week and struggle to get things moving, but that wasn’t the case for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
On Pittsburgh’s third offensive play of the game, a third-and-seven, Ben Roethlisberger connected with Sammie Coates for a 72-yard touchdown. It was Coates’ first NFL touchdown.
The Jets responded with another field goal, and after an exchange of touchdowns the Steelers had a one-point lead at halftime.
The second half was all Pittsburgh as it scored the only points of the half on way to its 31-13 victory.
Sammie Coates still has some growing to do: Coates had himself a career day. He scored his first and second NFL touchdowns to go along with his six receptions for 139 yards, however, he was targeted 11 times. Those five incompletions were all catchable balls—two of which were would-be touchdowns. Every week Coates is showing more and more how valuable he can be to Pittsburgh’s passing game, and he continues to gain the confidence of Roethlisberger and the coaches, but there is no excuse for five dropped passes.
“I kind of got down on myself, but I found a way back and I bounced back,” Coates said after the game.
Ben Roethlisberger continues to impress: The NFL has had its share of quarterbacks that have continued to produce well into their 30s, but some tend to regress. However, Roethlisberger is on pace to have his best statistical season at the age of 34. He threw four touchdown passes in Sunday’s win—giving him 15 on the season through four games. He is on pace to have well over 40 on the season—his career high is 32. Roethlisberger had 380 yards to go along with his four touchdown passes, and finished with a quarterback rating of 124.4.
“We were all one,” Roethlisberger said after the game. “We got the ball with seven-something left on the clock on that last drive. I told the guys in the huddle, ‘This is ours to milk. Let’s take it down the field. Let’s use up clock and let’s score on top of it.’ We used almost six minutes, and we scored. That’s a great feeling for everybody. When we’re all clicking, it’s a fun feeling.”
Next man Up mantra is early theme of 2016: Year-after-year it seems the Steelers have at least one major injury. There hasn’t been a major injury in 2016, knock on wood, but they have had a missing piece to the puzzle in every game this season. Each week another guy steps up. This week, it was Chris Hubbard. With Marcus Gilbert sidelined with an injury, and backup Ryan Harris’ recent placement on IR, Hubbard was plugged into the starting role—the first of his career. The undrafted free agent out of UAB had played sparingly up to this point, to the tune of about 40 offensive snaps. His position for the Steelers has been guard, but they needed him to play tackle—and he delivered in a big way.
“I feel comfortable at tackle,” Hubbard said after the game. “I played it in college. That was one of my main positions.”
Injuries becoming headline every week: As a coach, player or fan it feels good to get a win—especially in the fashion in which they came on Sunday. However, it’s never a positive when it comes at the expense of injury. Unfortunately for the Steelers they haven’t had a victory thus far that hasn’t resulted in injury. The latest victims of the injury bug are Cameron Heyward, Jarvis Jones, Sharmarko Thomas and Sammie Coates.
Jesse James developing into well-rounded tight end: James already has 18 receptions on the season and three touchdowns, so he is doing his part in the offense. But where James is contributing the most is in his ability to block. A big question coming into the season was James’ ability as a blocker. He showed early in the season that he is up to the task, and it was evident in Sunday’s win that he continues to grow in that area. He stays engaged with defenders through the whistle, and continues to provide open running lanes.
Chris Galiszewski is the lead writer for the Pittsburgh Steelers at PFS. Follow him in twitter @cgaliszewski