Rapid Reaction: Jets 22, Steelers 17

December, 19, 2010
12/19/10
7:12
PM ET
PITTSBURGH -- Here are some early thoughts on the New York Jets' victory against the Steelers:

What it means: Pittsburgh fell to 10-4 and had its four-game winning streak stopped by New York. This also tightens the race in the AFC North, as the Baltimore Ravens (10-4) beat the New Orleans Saints to tie the Steelers in the standings with two games remaining.

What I liked: Pittsburgh did a decent job of putting together long touchdown drives against a good Jets defense. The Steelers drove 96 yards on 16 plays for a second-quarter touchdown, and they added a 74-yard scoring drive to start the second half, which was capped by a Rashard Mendenhall 2-yard touchdown run. Pittsburgh's offensive line played well, helping Mendenhall to 100 yards rushing. A frantic finish by the offense at the end of the game also gave the Steelers a chance to win, but they came up short.

What I didn't like: Pittsburgh's special teams have improved this year, but its kick coverage had its worst game of the season. New York’s Brad Smith took the opening kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown to give the Jets an early lead. And Jerricho Cotchery did well with punt returns. Pittsburgh's pass rush also was pedestrian, recording only one sack, and overall the defense didn't make many big plays without injured safety Troy Polamalu (Achilles) in the lineup. A fourth-quarter safety by New York came on a poorly executed play by Pittsburgh.

What's next: The Steelers will have a short turnaround before a Thursday night game at home against the Carolina Panthers (2-12). It will be a chance for Pittsburgh to get over this tough loss and back in the win column. It also gives Pittsburgh an extended rest for its regular-season finale against the Cleveland Browns.

James Walker | email

ESPN Miami Dolphins reporter

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