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

Poll: How do you feel about the Seahawks’ anthem decision?

Seattle stayed in the locker room during the national anthem prior to Sunday’s game.

Seahawks lose 33-27 as defense wilts in the Tennessee heat

The Titans scored 21 points in the third quarter against a gassed Seahawks defense.

Poll: Help us plan this week’s high school football coverage

This week The Herald covers HS football at Glacier Peak/Monroe, and Jackson/Lake… Continue reading

Much discussion went into ‘revolutionary’ pregame protest

The Seahawks and the Titans stayed in their locker rooms during the national anthem.

Richard Sherman and the Seahawks defense both melt down

Seattle’s standout cornerback was hit with three penalties on the same play.

Grading the Seahawks’ 33-27 loss to the Tennessee Titans

Seattle’s offense and defense each played well — for a half.

Silvertips bounce back, beat the Tri-City Americans 4-1

Tips give new head coach Dennis Williams his first WHL win a day after dropping their season opener

Mariners officially eliminated from the AL wild-card race

A 4-2 loss to the Indians assures Seattle will miss the playoffs for the 16th straight season

Video: 1970 Snohomish boys basketball team wins state

The Snohomish H.S. squad is about to be inducted into the Snohomish County Sports Hall of Fame.

Most Read