Jets hold off Roethlisberger, Steelers to end eight-game losing streak
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — No big game for Big Ben. No dubious record for the New York Jets.
Michael Vick threw two touchdown passes and the Jets forced four turnovers while shutting down Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers in a stunning 20-13 victory Sunday that ended an eight-game losing streak.
"All right!" Jets coach Rex Ryan exclaimed after the game. "Finally!"
Roethlisberger threw six touchdown passes in each of his last two games, and was playing in front of a MetLife Stadium crowd that appeared nearly half-filled with Terrible Towel-waving Steelers fans. But the Jets (2-8) wouldn’t allow Roethlisberger to get into much of a rhythm.
Roethlisberger finished 30 of 43 for 343 yards and connected with Martavis Bryant for an 80-yard TD with 1:16 left. The Steelers (6-4) attempted an onside kick, but Eric Decker recovered to seal it for the Jets — who avoided setting a franchise mark for consecutive losses.
Jaiquawn Jarrett had two interceptions, a sack and a fumble recovery for the Jets, who hadn’t won since beating Oakland in Week 1.
Vick, who became the first quarterback in NFL history to run for 6,000 career yards, threw touchdown passes to T.J. Graham and Jace Amaro. Vick was 10 of 18 for 132 yards and ran eight times for 39 yards.
The victory might help temper frustrations of Jets fans, one of whom had a banner-toting plane urging the team to fire general manager John Idzik circle the practice field early in the week. While the Jets head into their bye week, Ryan’s job appears safe — for now.
The Jets looked good early on the their first possession, but the 14-play drive stalled at the Steelers 5 and New York Nick Folk made a 23-yard field goal.
But after Jarrett sacked Roethlisberger on third-and-15 to force a punt, the Jets got right back on the scoreboard. Vick had plenty of time and zipped a perfectly placed pass into the hands of a sprinting Graham, who ran it into the end zone for a 67-yard touchdown.
It was the longest completion for the Jets since Geno Smith connected with Santonio Holmes for 69 yards in Game 3 last season.
The Jets got the ball right back when Muhammad Wilkerson forced a fumble by Antonio Brown and Jarrett recovered. A video review upheld the turnover — New York’s first since Week 5 — and Vick went back to work.
After a sack on first down, Vick scrambled for 18 yards, including a shake-and-bake move that buckled Steelers cornerback Brice McCain’s knees. Three plays later, Vick found Amaro and made it 17-0 with 19 seconds left in the opening quarter.
Pittsburgh appeared on its way to its first score with a long drive in the second quarter helped by a personal foul penalty on New York’s Jason Babin. But at the Jets 10 Roethlisberger had his short pass attempt tipped by Marcus Williams right into Jarrett’s hands.
The Jets, who came in with three takeaways all season, got their third of the first half when Brown muffed Ryan Quigley’s punt and Graham recovered. But Folk was wide left on a 45-yard attempt.
The Steelers got Shaun Suisham’s 53-yard field goal as time expired in the first half. But Suisham hooked a 23-yard attempt wide left on the first play of the fourth quarter.
Jarrett got his second interception — and third takeaway overall of the game — on the Steelers’ opening drive of the second half. Folk’s 30-yard field goal late in the third quarter made it 20-3.
In the final quarter, Pittsburgh had first-and-goal from the 1, but was stuffed on four straight plays — including a penalty on the Jets and LeGarrette Blount losing 8 yards on a run. Suisham’s 27-yarder made it 20-6 with 7:21 left.