EAST RUTHERFORD, N. J. -- The Steelers finally broke through for their first win of the season Sunday, and they did it with a familiar formula: a ball-control offense and stingy defense. Players in a happy but hardly overjoyed visiting locker room credited coach Mike Tomlin for keeping them on course after a disastrous 0-4 start.
Tomlin made some changes to the starting lineup -- most notably at left tackle and defensive end -- but the real difference in the Steelers’ 19-6 win over the Jets is they didn’t beat themselves and simply got back to basics.
The Steelers have plenty of work ahead of them, and not just because they still bring up the rear in the AFC North. The running game did not produce much against the Jets, forcing the Steelers to rely on talented but mercurial wide receivers Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders.
One thing the Steelers' first victory of any kind since last December does is take away some of the focus from any off-the-field issues that had received extra attention in the wake of the team’s first 0-4 start since 1968. Or does it? Safety Ryan Clark lashed out at the media after the win over the Jets for how, in Clark’s mind, it exploited comments he had made over quarterback Ben Roethlisberger during the bye week.
Turnovers had been an problem for Roethlisberger in the previous two games but he didn’t have any against the Jets and was the Steelers’ best player at MetLife Stadium. Quarterback is not the only position that graded out well for the Steelers.
The Steelers received high marks across the board after they controlled the Jets in the final three quarters, and inside linebacker Lawrence Timmons played his best game of the season. Timmons delivered some hard hits, and his fourth-quarter interception sealed the Steelers’ first win of the season.