PITTSBURGH — The Jets pulled off another comeback Sunday, rallying from 10 points down to beat the Steelers 24-20 to improve to 2-2 this season. Here are some thoughts and observations from the game:
1. I saw a quote from Aaron Rodgers about how the way the Packers are winning is not sustainable. That is also true of the Jets. They can’t keep relying on fourth-quarter comebacks if they are going to do anything of note this season. There was a long stretch of play where the Jets did not play well in this game.
But guess what? The Jets are not the Packers and they should take wins however they come.
Maybe someday we will get to the point where we can analyze Jets wins for style points. We ain’t there yet. This team has lost so many games in recent years that every Jets win should be celebrated rather than completely dissected.
The Jets are finding ways to win games. They did it Cleveland. They did it in Pittsburgh. This is not something we have been able to say about the Jets for a long time. Instead of wilting in the fourth quarter when they got down 20-10, they made plays. Quarterback Zach Wilson did not play great in the first three quarters of his return, but he was money in the fourth quarter. It should be pointed out, too, that Wilson was not just making fluky, miraculous plays. He played quarterback. He led two touchdown drives by making the right throws, not forcing anything and displaying poise in a tough situation.Lamarcus Joyner celebrates an interception for the Jets.USA TODAY Sports
There are plenty of things the Jets need to correct from this game, but they are doing it after a win, which is always better. Rodgers’ quote surely applies to the Jets. They won’t be able to win this way all year. But who cares? We are not talking about draft position. The Jets’ season is not over by Week 5 like it has been the last three years. Take the wins however they come.
2. The Jets have always said they will have a running back by committee but play the hot hand. I think we can all see that rookie Breece Hall is now the hot hand. Hall rushed for 66 yards on 17 carries and scored the game-winning touchdown. He also caught two passes on six targets for 12 yards.
Hall played 46 snaps and Michael Carter played 31.
Hall did not have major holes to work with but always seemed to find a way to get three or four yards. He had a long run of 16 yards on the first touchdown drive of the fourth quarter to set the Jets up at the 1.
Hall has an extra gear that makes him intriguing. It feels like he could break a long touchdown run soon. The Jets need to keep riding him until he gives them reason not to.Breece Hall runs against the Steelers.Getty Images
3. The Jets have been able to stay pretty healthy with one big exception. They lost another offensive tackle on Sunday in an incredible run of bad injury luck at the position. Rookie Max Mitchell left the game in the second quarter with a knee injury that looked significant. Mitchell was on crutches after the game and had a large brace on his left knee. Mitchell is just the latest player at the position to drop.
See if you can follow along:
The Jets went into training camp expecting to have George Fant at left tackle and Mekhi Becton at right. Becton was lost to a season-ending knee injury early in training camp. The Jets signed Duane Brown and were going to have him play left tackle and Fant play right. Brown injured his shoulder in practice before Week 1 and Fant was now back at left tackle and Mitchell was in at right. Fant went down with a knee injury against the Bengals in Week 3 and is now on injured reserve. That led to Alijah Vera-Tucker moving to left tackle on Sunday. When Mitchell went out, Conor McDermott entered at right tackle.
Got all that?
This week will lead to a different combination of tackles. Brown is eligible to come off of injured reserve and he has been working on a side field with trainers for the last couple of weeks, a good sign about his availability. If Brown can return, he’ll be left tackle. Then, the question becomes: Who plays right? The Jets did not trust McDermott enough to start him at left tackle this week. Do they feel differently if he is at right tackle? Could Vera-Tucker move again, this time to right tackle? It will be interesting to see what they decide.
At some point, the Jets’ luck at tackle has to turn and they will get healthier. There is still a chance that Brown and Fant play together at some point. For now, though, the Jets are piecing it together.
4. This was the first game where the Jets defense performed as expected. The pass rush got after the Steelers quarterbacks and the secondary was opportunistic, picking them off four times. There were no major mental gaffes in coverage like there have been in recent weeks. They still had a terrible penalty with Carl Lawson roughing the passer at the end of the first half, but this game followed the blueprint the Jets laid out.Zach Wilson celebrates the Jets win on Oct. 2, 2022.AP
The Steelers quarterback duo of Mitch Trubisky and Kenny Pickett definitely helped the defense out. It won’t be this easy when they play Rodgers in a few weeks. Still, this was a major step forward for the defense on Sunday. They came up with a huge stop to set up the game-winning drive and they got after the quarterbacks.
The Jets won consecutive road games for the first time since 2015.
Surprising snap count
Nate Herbig got the start at right guard and played all 70 snaps. The Jets kept their offensive line plan secret all week so it was a shock to see Vera-Tucker at left tackle and Herbig at guard.
Lamarcus Joyner has had a tough start to the season but he played well Sunday. He had two interceptions and pass breakup on a deep pass.