Coming off a tour de force by rookie quarterback Geno Smith last Monday night in Atlanta, the Jets' hope was that the lights would stay on for the offense against winless Pittsburgh. But offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg's conservative game plan was undone by injuries and two interceptions of Smith near the goal line.
From the Monday night high, the Jets' offense again found itself battling its own mistakes in a 19-6 loss to the Steelers on Sunday at MetLife Stadium.
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Running back Bilal Powell left the game in the second half. Coach Rex Ryan said it was because of a shoulder injury, but Powell later said: "No injury . . . Everything is good.''
Backup running back Mike Goodson suffered a knee injury of undetermined severity late in the game. Wide receiver Clyde Gates also left with a shoulder injury and wore a sling on his left arm.
Asked if the Jets' offense lost a war of attrition, tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson said: "We recognize guys go down, but I'm not going to make excuses . . . We got deep in the red zone and the ball's turned over. That's an issue. Penalties, missed assignments. All of that played a role and led to our loss.''
With Pittsburgh leading 16-6, the Jets drove to the Steelers' 23-yard line before Smith's throwaway near Konrad Reuland was picked off by Ryan Clark at the 1. Smith later was hit as he threw a pass intended for Stephen Hill and intercepted by Lawrence Timmons at the 3.
Reuland said of Smith: "Absolutely, he's making progress. Every week he's making better decisions. There were a few mistakes this week, but it's not just on him. It was a frustrating day.''
Smith didn't complete a pass to a wide receiver until a field- goal drive just before halftime. He had Hill running wide open down the middle early in the second quarter and overthrew him. "My thought was to put the jets on and go get it, but it led out a little bit in front of me,'' Hill said. "I thought I was going to get another one, but you don't want to make any type of mistakes.''
Asked if the conservative approach made things easier on the Steelers' defense, Hill shrugged. "I'm not sure,'' he said. "We had a good running game. I thought Bilal Powell and Chris Ivory and Goodson did a good job. I really don't know if it was passive. We just have to make the play, whatever he calls.''