Mike Pettine doesn't exactly have nightmares about the way things went down in the AFC Championship game against the Steelers.
But Pettine, entering his third season as the Jets defensive coordinator, still has a hard time coming to grips with the awful performance turned in by the Jets in their 24-19 loss to Pittsburgh at Heinz Field in January.
"Your making the assumption that I’m over it," Pettine said. "Any time you get to within one game, and unfortunately for Rex [Ryan] and I, that’s three in a row now that you get to within one game – those really stick with you. It’s tough. It took me a while to sit down and stomach the tape. And when we finally watched it, it was hard to watch."
It's not hard to figure out why.
The statistics surely didn't properly depict how one-sided things were in the first half, one in which the Jets fell into a cavernous 24-0 hole. Pittsburgh rolled up 231 yards and was virtually unstoppable, grinding out 135 rushing yards, with running back Rashard Mendenhall gobbling up 95 in the first half.
"Here we come out, coming off an emotional win [against the Patriots] and as a unit, we were flat for a half," Pettine said. "To me, you can’t justify that. I mean, here you are in the biggest game and you are one game from the ultimate. We were flat and we were uninspired. That’s hard to take."
Sure, the Jets tightened things up in the second half, shutting the Steelers out. But their comeback bid, as everyone knows, fell short.
"Then you watch the second half and we played some of our best football," Pettine said. "I think they had 20-something snaps, 50-something yards. But it was one of those situations where it was too little, too late."