Print and Go Back ESPN.com: AFC East [Print without images]

Sunday, December 19, 2010
Rapid Reaction: Jets 22, Steelers 17

By Tim Graham

PITTSBURGH -- The New York Jets escaped Heinz Field with a white-knuckle 22-17 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

What it means: The Jets badly needed to win. They snapped an ugly two-game losing streak and notched their 10th victory to put them on the cusp of a playoff berth. They might not need to win another game if the proper opponents lose over the next two weeks.

Defense stands up to Big Ben: Despite some harrowing moments, the Jets contained Ben Roethlisberger's comeback aspirations. Drew Coleman had a pair of strip sacks in the fourth quarter, but Roethlisberger kept coming until time ran out with the ball on the Jets' 10-yard line.

Unsung hero: Jets receiver Braylon Edwards made several tough catches and took a pounding from the Steelers. He finished with eight receptions for 100 yards. His difficult 38-yard catch down the right sideline set up a Nick Folk field goal in the second quarter.

Plays of the game: The Jets started and finished the game with bangs. Brad Smith returned the opening kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown to give the Jets some much-needed confidence. After running back Rashard Mendenhall trampled the Jets for 57 minutes, Jason Taylor threw Mewelde Moore for a 3-yard loss and a safety with 2:38 to play.

Jets offense snaps futility streak: Mark Sanchez ran a bootleg into the end zone from 7 yards out to tie the score at 17 in the third quarter. That was the first offensive touchdown since Thanksgiving night, a span of 11 quarters.

Holmescoming: In his first game against the Steelers since they traded him for a fifth-round draft choice, Jets receiver Santonio Holmes had six catches for 40 yards. Holmes had a 20-yard gain wiped out by a costly Matt Slauson holding call. Rather than have first-and-goal at the 5-yard line, the possession ended with a punt.

What's next: The Jets' rugged homestretch continues with a game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field.