Steelers get first win, beat Jets 19-6

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The Pittsburgh Steelers were tired of seeing that dreaded zero in the win column.

Now, they’ve got one. They think this could be only the beginning.

Ben Roethlisberger threw a 55-yard touchdown pass to Emmanuel Sanders, Shaun Suisham kicked four field goals, and the Steelers won their first game by beating the New York Jets 19-6 on Sunday.

“We’re not going to quit,” defensive end Brett Keisel said. “Obviously, it wasn’t the start we wanted, but the men in this locker room believe there’s a chance that something great could come out of this if we all work toward it.”

The Steelers (1-4) were off to their worst start since 1968, when they lost their first six games during a season in which they finished 2-11-1.

“Oh, it’s big,” Roethlisberger said.

The victory was also the 600th in franchise history, including the postseason, as Pittsburgh became only the fourth team to reach the milestone and the first from the AFC.

“It’s tough because when you have that zero, your mind automatically goes to, ‘Let’s get this first win,’” safety Ryan Clark said. “Now, you’re just trying to win each game and there’s not as much pressure on each and every play.”

Pittsburgh was coming off a bye after last playing two weeks ago in London, a 34-27 loss to Minnesota at Wembley Stadium. The Steelers appeared quite a bit sharper than New York, which had a short week to prepare after a 30-28 win at Atlanta last Monday night.

“I think getting away (helped), having a bye and everyone looking in the mirror, to see what you can do to help this team win,” said Keisel, who left with a rib injury but doesn’t expect to be sidelined.

Geno Smith was intercepted twice by a Steelers defense that entered as the only team without a takeaway. The last came with the Jets (3-3) at the Steelers 12 with just over 3 minutes left when Smith was hit by Jarvis Jones as he threw. The wobbly pass was picked off by Lawrence Timmons — sealing the win for Pittsburgh.

“I’m just frustrated to lose the game,” Smith said. “I understand there’s going to be growing pains and things to learn, but we don’t go out there with that mindset.”

It could be a costly loss for the Jets. Running back Bilal Powell (shoulder), wide receiver Clyde Gates (shoulder), cornerback Kyle Wilson (head) and running back Mike Goodson (knee) all left and didn’t return. There was no immediate word on the severity of the injuries.

“They outplayed us,” Jets coach Rex Ryan said. “We have to play with more consistency, obviously. We’re striving for consistency and we’re not quite there.

“We have to get there in a hurry.”

Roethlisberger finished 23 of 30 for 264 yards. Antonio Brown had nine catches for 86 yards and also completed a 15-yard pass, and Heath Miller caught six passes for 84 yards.

Smith, who was turnover-free at Atlanta while throwing for three touchdowns, was 19 of 34 for 201 yards.

Sanders gave Pittsburgh a 16-6 lead just 2:30 into the second half with his 55-yard grab. On a third-and-1 play, he got in front of Antonio Cromartie — who was questionable with a hyperextended knee — and was wide open as Roethlisberger’s throw arrived. Sanders sprinted the remaining 20 yards untouched before doing a leaping somersault into the end zone.

“I looked up and saw Emmanuel running by himself and kind of had to hesitate for a second because I couldn’t believe he was so wide open,” Roethlisberger said. “The only thought in my head was, ‘Don’t overthrow him.’”

Pittsburgh got its first takeaway of the season — a span of 18-plus quarters — on the Jets’ next possession when Clark picked off Smith’s throw to Konrad Reuland into triple coverage in the red zone. The rookie later said he was trying to throw the ball away.

“We have the mindset that we can climb out of this hole together,” Keisel said. “This was a step in the right direction.”

NOTES: Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau improved to 16-2 in his career against rookie QBs. … Since 2010, the Steelers are 14-1 when Roethlisberger’s passer rating is above 100. It was 113.8 vs. the Jets. … Steelers OT Levi Brown, acquired last week from Arizona, was a late scratch after injuring his right triceps during pregame warmups. TE David Johnson left early in the first quarter with an injured left wrist and didn’t return. … The Jets inducted DT Marty Lyons, who played for the team from 1979-89, into their Ring of Honor at halftime.

More in Sports

Walton has Edmonds CC men’s basketball back in contention

The sophomore forward — recovered from injury — will lead the Tritons into a rivalry battle at Everett.

Report: Seahawks to bring back Norton, Solari as assistants

Norton would replace Richard as defensive coordinator and Solari would be the offensive line coach.

Silvertips hold off Tri-City for 6-5 victory

Matt Fonteyne tied a club record with 5 assists for Everett.

UW men’s basketball players making voices heard

The Huskies’ discussion of social injustice with a professor spurred the team into action.

Karrah Smith wrestles Tim Rachal during practice at Granite Falls High School on Friday, Jan. 12, 2018 in Granite Falls, Wa. She finished sixth in the 145-pound weight class at last year’s Mat Classic and is eyeing a better finish this season at 170 pounds. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Five things to know about Granite Falls’ Karrah Smith

When she’s wrestling, Karrah Smith likes to be in control. During matches… Continue reading

BLOG: Silvertips run streak to five straight with win over Tri-City

The Weekend To borrow sports parlance, the Everett Silvertips “got the result… Continue reading

Monday’s prep results, with links to recaps

Here are Monday’s prep results, with links to recaps: BOYS BASKETBALL Wesco… Continue reading

POLL: Will Edgar Martinez get into the Hall of Fame?

The Seattle Mariners legend will learn on Jan. 24 whether he received enough votes for enshrinement

Monday’s prep stars of the night

Here are Monday’s prep stars of the night: Breonna Williams, W, Jackson… Continue reading

Most Read