Revisiting nightmare AFC title game

September, 12, 2012
9/12/12
4:43
PM ET
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- As much as it pains them, the Jets will study the tape from the previous meeting against the Steelers -- yes, the 2010 AFC Championship Game.

"You absolutely go back and see what they had success against you with," Rex Ryan said Wednesday.

Anybody reading this knows the Jets lost 24-19 after falling behind at halftime 24-0. After stunning the Patriots in the AFC divisional round, the Jets thought it was their time, but they came out pancake flat and got pushed around by the Steelers. In the first half, the Steelers outrushed the Jets, 135-1. The Jets staged a valiant rally, but ... well, you know the deal.

"They're all painful, but that one in particular was painful," Ryan said. "You're one game away from the big game. Obviously, that stung worse than the other games. But they all hurt. You learn from it."

Former Jets WR Jerricho Cotchery, now a member of the Steelers, still finds it hard to fathom how the Jets came out so uninspired.

"I thought we would've come out with more emotion and play with more of a sense of urgency," Cotchery said on a conference call with the New York media. "That was a tough loss. It's something you have to live with for the rest of your life. Guys over here give me a lot of grief about that game."

The Jets probably won't be too eager to reflect on that game -- Ryan wants them to live in the present -- but in an ESPNNewYork.com story that appeared that last September, several recalled haunting moments from the loss.

DT Sione Pouha, who came close to hitting QB Ben Roethlisberger on his game-clinching completion to Antonio Brown: "What if I had run an extra sprint during that week in practice? There are so many what-ifs. What if I hit him? What if I was an inch closer? I could've disturbed the pass."

LB David Harris, the closest defender to Brown: "I'm pretty sure everybody in that game had a what-if moment. He beat me by 1 or 2 yards. Like I said, a what-if moment."

Defensive coordinator Mike Pettine on how long it took him to get over the loss: "Are you making the assumption I'm over it? It took me awhile to sit down and stomach the tape, and when we finally watched it, it was hard to watch."

More Pouha: "A play here, a play there. An inch here, an inch there. A minute longer. There are a lot of what-ifs. That's what's great about having a new season ahead of you. You try to cross off as many what-ifs as possible."

Rich Cimini

ESPN New York Jets reporter

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