Landry Jones, Defense, Lead Steelers to Resilient Victory
Someone tell the Pittsburgh Steelers they’re not supposed to win NFL games with a fourth-string quarterback. The team so many people were ready to write off after Ben Roethlisberger’s untimely week 3 injury just keeps finding new men to contribute and new ways to win.
Last night, behind a resilient, feisty defense, no less, it was Landry Jones’ turn to spark this team. And spark them is what he did.
The quarterback so many Steeler fans wanted out of the black and gold during this year’s preseason entered Sunday’s game against the Arizona Cardinals cold when Mike Vick succumbed to a hamstring injury. All Jones did was throw two touchdowns, commit zero turnovers and score on every single offensive drive he commandeered.
The stage was set by a Pittsburgh defense that was forced to shoulder the burden of keeping the game close early. For the third time in as many weeks, the offense could not muster any semblance of possession or field position. The stout D repelled wave after wave of Arizona’s attack in the first half, and was only too happy to reach the half-time break only down 10-3.
While Vick’s scrambling and mobility helped open the game up a fraction in the third quarter, he exited the game with a putrid stat line of 3/8 completions for 6 yards. Cruel as it may sound, his injury was the best thing to happen to the Steelers’ offense since, well, the last time their starting quarterback went down.
Jones appeared calm, comfortable and far more competent at running the offense. The Cardinals didn’t have an answer for the returning Martavis Bryant – Pittsburgh’s sophomore speedster who picked right back up where he left off last season, racking up triple figures in receiving yards plus a pair of touchdowns.
His last score was an exhilarating 88-yard catch-and-run to the house just before the two-minute warning. With the first down already secured, Bryant reversed field and found a convoy of blockers down the near sideline, before cutting back inside at the 20 and scoring untouched.
The play was eerily similar to James Harrison’s unforgettable 100-yard pick six in Super Bowl XLIII: a proverbial Red Sea of blockers clearing his path to NFL immortality.
But Sunday wasn’t the Super Bowl; it was a week six game that bumped to Steelers to 4-2. Rumblings that Big Ben will return to action against the Chiefs will surely be felt all week, but at least the franchise can feel comfortable that they can move the football without him, if only for one more game.