Steelers' defense steps up, shuts down Jets 27-10

Associated Press Modified: September 17, 2012 at 4:32 am •  Published: September 17, 2012
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PITTSBURGH (AP) — Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor knows it's impossible to play like all-everything teammate Troy Polamalu.

The Steelers were fine once they stopped trying to do that against the New York Jets on Sunday.

With Taylor bullying former teammate Santonio Holmes all over the field and Polamalu's replacement Ryan Mundy getting his feet under him, the Steelers shut down the Jets in the second half of a 27-10 victory.

Polamalu sat out with a strained right calf, but the Steelers (1-1) didn't miss a beat after a shaky start.

"When you've got a Hall of Famer like Troy, it's hard to replace, you can't replace him," Taylor said. "(But) when everybody is on the same page on defense, we feel like we're a pretty good defense."

It certainly looked like it over the game's final 35 minutes.

The Jets totaled over 120 yards of offense during their first two drives to take a 10-6 lead, but managed less than 100 the rest of the way. Quarterback Mark Sanchez completed just 10 of 27 passes with a touchdown and New York (1-1) hardly looked like the team that steamrolled Buffalo in its season opener a week ago.

"These guys have really big, physical corners and they did a great job of being physical with us," New York coach Rex Ryan said.

The Jets converted only 4 of 12 third downs and the offense spent most of the second half watching Ben Roethlisberger go to work. The Pittsburgh quarterback completed 24 of 31 passes for 275 yards and two scores.

"Ben is one of the top (quarterbacks) in the game," said Pittsburgh wide receiver Mike Wallace, whose leaping 37-yard touchdown grab in the third quarter broke it open. "I'll ride with him against anybody."

Roethlisberger hit Heath Miller for a 1-yard score to give the Steelers the lead late in the first half, then avoided the blitz on third-and-16 early in the third quarter and found Wallace in the end zone. The Pro Bowl wide receiver let New York cornerback Antonio Cromartie fly by then snatched the ball out of the air before tucking both feet in bounds.

"That was a backbreaker obviously," Ryan said. "That was a killer play in the game."

Isaac Redman added a late 2-yard touchdown run for Pittsburgh, which had little trouble avoiding its first 0-2 start in a decade.

The Jets did nothing offensively after a pair of early scoring drives and could muster little of the firepower they displayed blowing out the Bills 48-28 a week ago.

Tim Tebow appeared on just one drive early in the second half for the Jets, running for 22 yards on his first carry. It wasn't nearly enough against a defense that did just fine even with Polamalu and linebacker James Harrison (right knee surgery) out of the lineup.

"We settled down," Taylor said. "I think everybody was hyped for this game. Looking at what them boys did last week, they handled their business on offense."

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