Jerricho Cotchery makes a catch in the first quarter at...

Jerricho Cotchery makes a catch in the first quarter at the AFC Championship. (Jan. 23, 2011) Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Pittsburgh Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey and New York Jets receiver Jerricho Cotchery have each left the AFC title game in the first half because of injuries.

Pouncey was questionable to return after being helped off the field when Jets linebacker Bryan Thomas got pushed back into the rookie center. Thomas rolled over the back of Pouncey’s leg on a 7-yard pass from quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to Hines Ward to the New York 1.

Pouncey put no weight on the ankle as he hopped off the field with the aid of two trainers. He was replaced by Doug Legursky, and Rashard Mendenhall scored on the next play to give Pittsburgh a 7-0 lead.

Cotchery limped off the field to the locker room late in the second quarter with a left hamstring injury, and his return was also questionable. Cotchery was blocking on a kickoff return after the Steelers’ Stevenson Sylvester appeared to collide with him from behind.

The Steelers led 24-3 at halftime.

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