The Jets got their playoff train back on track Sunday with a 22-17 upset over AFC North leader Pittsburgh.
One more win in their final two games will assure them a playoff spot, their second under Rex Ryan.
The 10-4 Jets accomplished the win thanks to Nick Folk’s 34-yard field goal with 10:07 remaining in the game, and Jason Taylor‘s end zone tackle on Mewelde Moore for a safety with just over two minutes remaining.
But the Jets broke their offensive bottleneck earlier with their first touchdown since Thanksgiving night. Mark Sanchez, who moved around the pocket to complete several key passes, ran it in from the 7 on a third-quarter bootleg with 5:14 remaining in the third quarter, marking the end of a 198-play drought between offensive touchdowns.
The touchdown was the only one Sanchez engineered, however.
Their other one came on Brad Smith’s 97-yard touchdown return of the opening kickoff.
Taylor’s safety was second recorded by the Jets’ in the last four games. As the Steelers worked from their three-yard line, Taylor shot in almost untouched to trap Moore behind the goal line.
The game was a battle of attrition. The defense allowed its first individual 100-yard rushing in 20 games to Rashard Mendenhall, and Ben Roethlisberger hit enough passes to extend two scoring drives to double-digits. His 16-play, 96-yard touchdown drive in the second quarter marked the longest scoring drive against the Jets this year.
Braylon Edwards caught eight passes for 100 yards, and Sanchez went 19-of-29 for 170 yards.
The Jets running game was shut down, however, with LaDainian Tomlinson and Greene combining for just 89 yards.
The Steelers gave them a scare when they got the ball back at their 8 just before the two-minute warning. Roethlisberger got out of a third-and-24 with a 29-yard completion to Emmanuel Saunders.
The Steelers got to the Jets’ 10 with nine seconds left, but two incompletions to the end zone consumed the rest of the time.
Next Sunday, the Jets will head to Chicago to take on the Bears.