The Pittsburgh Steelers set a physical tone early in the AFC Championship game, which, so far, has the host Steelers leading the New York Jets, 7-0, after the first quarter of play. The winner of the game plays in Super Bowl XLV, Feb. 1, against the Green Bay Packers in Dallas, TX.
On the game’s first possession, the Steelers made an impressive statement by marching 66 yards on 15 plays in 9:06 — over half the quarter. The drive was capped by running back Rashard Mendenhall’s one-yard TD rush that helped Pittsburgh take an 7-0 advantage. Mendenhall carried the ball eight times for 58 yards on the drive. After three plays, the Jets could have forced a punt because they stopped Pittsburgh on 3rd-and-7 but defensive back Antonio Cromartie was called for an illegal hands to the face penalty, which gave the Steelers five yards and an automatic first down.
Also on the drive, the Steelers faced a 3rd-and-12 inside Jets’ territory but converted when quarterback Ben Roethlisberger scrambled for 12 yards.
The Jets’ only possession of the quarter went seven plays for 29 yards and stopped at the Steelers 42-yard line. Pittsburgh forced a punt and now are in the midst of a drive, which, currently, is at their own 45-yard line. That’s where Pittsburgh will start the second quarter.