Steelers Earn First Win Against Jets, Who Struggle Without Suspended Winslow
The latest chapter in the saga of Kellen Winslow Jr. is just as disappointing as the rest of the book to this point. On Friday it was announced that the controversial tight end, now with the New York Jets, had been suspended four games without pay for violating the NFL’s policy on performance enhancing drugs.
Winslow was looking to make a comeback this season after playing just one game for the New England Patriots before asking to be released in 2012. Prior to Sunday Winslow had led the Jets in receiving with 17 catches for 169 yards and two touchdowns through five games.
Any chance at a comeback was put on hold—at least until November 4th when Winslow is eligible to return to the Jets active roster—starting today against the Pittsburgh Steelers, who were winless going into the game in New York.
The Jets were hoping to build on the momentum stemming from a big win against the Atlanta Falcons last Monday night, when rookie quarterback Geno Smith had the best performance of his young career. Against the Falcons he completed 80 percent of his passes, threw three touchdowns and had a QB rating of 148.
Smith was decidedly less efficient against Pittsburgh and with three interceptions and no touchdowns, you have to assume the absence of Winslow was felt. Particularly on the first INT, which was nearly in the end zone after an impressive drive, and the third, which sealed victory for the visiting Steelers.
Speaking of the Steelers, for the first time this season they looked moderately capable on both sides of the ball. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and wide receiver Antonio Brown were especially impressive against the Jets, who are currently ranked No. 5 in total defense.
Roethlisberger saved his best game of the season for Rex Ryan’s boys, going 23-for-30 passing, with 264 yards, a TD and a QB rating of 114. It was the first time this year he wasn’t picked off. Brown had nine receptions for 86 yards—a good day that would’ve been even better had he not dropped a TD in the end zone.
Moving forward it’s hard to know what to make of either of these teams.
Assuming the Steelers aren’t entirely out of the playoff conversation at this point—which is quite a leap after starting 0-4—they absolutely have to win against the division rival Baltimore Ravens next week.
If they don’t, the countdown to the 2014 NFL Draft is officially on in Pittsburgh.
As for the Jets, they really needed this win to keep pace with the division leader Patriots, who they play next week. They follow that up with games against two other current division leaders in the Cincinnati Bengals and New Orleans Saints before their bye in Week 10.
Right now the Jets are 3-3. If they go into their bye at 3-6, they might as well not bother coming back.