Pittsburgh, PA (Sports Network) – Mark Sanchez scrambled for a game-tying touchdown and the New York Jets scored 12 unanswered points to snap a two-game losing streak with a 22-17 win over Pittsburgh.
The Jets defense bent, but didn’t break as Ben Roethlisberger led the Steelers on a drive in the final 2:08 of the game. Roethlisberger threw incomplete into the end zone on a 10-yard pass after time expired.
It was the first time the Jets ever won a game in Pittsburgh. They were 0-6 in the Steel City entering the game.
Pittsburgh took a 17-10 lead on Rashard Mendenhall’s two-yard touchdown run on the first series of the second half, but Sanchez scored on a bootleg to tie the game and the Jets (10-4) moved ahead in the fourth quarter on Nick Folk’s 34-yard field goal and a safety when Jason Taylor tackled Mewelde Moore in the end zone.
Sanchez completed 19 of his 29 passes for 170 yards, hitting Braylon Edwards eight times for 100 yards. Although he didn’t throw a touchdown pass, Sanchez’s scrambling score in the third quarter was New York’s first offensive touchdown in 12 quarters.
Brad Smith ran the opening kickoff back 97 yards, taking it down the right sideline for the Jets’ other touchdown on Sunday.
The Steelers (10-4) had a four-game winning streak snapped, losing for the first time since November 14 to New England.
Roethlisberger ran 22 yards for a first down on the final drive and completed passes of 29 yards to Emmanuel Sanders, 18 yards to Mike Wallace and 16 yards to Antonio Brown to take the Steelers from their own eight-yard line to the New York 10.
But his throw to tight end Matt Spaeth in the left side of the end zone with zeroes on the clock wasn’t close to being completed.
Roethlisberger finished 23-of-44 for 264 yards and a nine-yard touchdown pass to Spaeth that tied the game at 7-7 in the first quarter. Mendenhall rushed 17 times for 100 yards.
The teams traded field goals at the end of the first half
- Folk kicked a 25 yarder and Shaun Suisham was good from 42 yards — and headed to their locker rooms tied 10-10.
Mendenhall’s bruising two-yard run through the middle of the line capped Pittsburgh’s 74-yard drive to open the third quarter and made it 17-10.
New York had been without an offensive touchdown since Sanchez hit Santonio Holmes for a 13-yard score in the third quarter of a 26-10 win over Cincinnati on November 25.
In between then and Sunday, the Jets suffered two embarrassing losses: a 45-3 dismantling by AFC East rival New England and a 10-6 loss in the rain to Miami last week.
Sanchez put an end to the streak, perfectly executing a fake handoff and taking the bootleg into the end zone on the left side to cap a 66-yard drive and tie the game at 17-17. The Jets gained 30 yards on one play when Edwards caught a 15-yard pass and the Steelers were called for unnecessary roughness.
Pittsburgh punted, and Folk booted a 34-yarder to give New York the lead 4:53 into the fourth quarter.
Three series later, Pittsburgh was pinned down at its own three-yard line by a Steve Weatherford punt. Moore took a handoff on the first play and was met at the goal line by Taylor, who threw him down for the safety and a 22-17 lead.
Without the safety, the Steelers could have tried a game-tying field goal on their final drive. Instead they needed a touchdown, and Roethlisberger’s offense came up 10 yards short.
Holmes had six catches for 40 yards…LaDainian Tomlinson led New York with 49 yards rushing on 11 carries, while Shonn Greene had 40 yards on 12 runs…Roethlisberger fumbled twice, but didn’t lose either one…The Jets are 3-1 in the last four meetings…Tomlinson had one catch, joining Marshall Faulk and Larry Centers as the only NFL running backs with 50 or more receptions in nine seasons.