Tale of the Tape: Missed Opportunities in Steelers Loss

Missed opportunities hurt the New York Jets in their game against the Steelers on Sunday. Here are just a few of them from the game film footage:

Wilkerson missed Sack for safety

Wilkerson (yellow circle) made a fantastic move on the Steelers LT and had a clear path to sack Roethlisberger in the endzone, but he attempted to tackle the QB high, and Roethlisberger spun away from him and threw the ball away. If Wilkerson had gone low on Roethlisberger, it would have been an easy sack for a safety, and a 2-0 Jets lead.

Wilkerson missed sack

Missed Block inside Steelers 5-Yard Line

Early in the game the Jets had a drive that faltered inside the 5-yard line. Instead of going for it on fourth down, they elected to kick a field goal for a 3-0 lead. However, on 2nd down the Jets had an easy touchdown if TE Konrad Rueland (yellow circle) hadn’t hesitated on his assignment, and blocked Steelers Safety Troy Polomalu (red circle). Rueland took several stutter steps as he released from the line of scrimmage, and only realized that he should block Polamalu when it was too late and the safety was in position to make the tackle. If Rueland makes that block, Powell (blue circle) walks into the endzone for a touchdown.

Powell TD Rueland Missed block

Geno Smith Interception #1

Smith’s first read was TE Jeff Cumberland (blue circe) on a post route, which Ryan Clark covered perfectly. Smith then abandoned that read, and went to his second read which was TE Konrad Rueland down the field. According to Smith, he was attempting to throw the ball away, but because he was still in the pocket, he couldn’t just launch it out of bounds, so he put it over the head over Rueland into what he thought was an open area. Unfortunately, Steelers safety Ryan Clark (red circle) was watching Smith’s eyes, and because Smith gave up on his first read quickly, Clark had enough time to slide over and intercept the pass. Ideally, Smith should’ve keyed on Clark for longer and pinned him in the centre of the field, before throwing downfield for Rueland.

Smith INT 1

Geno Smith Interception #2

The blame on this play doesn’t lie with Geno Smith. Smith made the correct read, and the correct throw, which would’ve been a touchdown to TE Jeff Cumberland (yellow circle) in the middle of the endzone.

Geno Smith TD pass

 However, his protection broke down, and he was hit as he released the ball, which took all the power out of the pass and left it in the air for LB Lawrence Timmons to intercept. The culprit on this play was RB Mike Goodson (yellow circle). If Goodson had successfully blocked the LB, Smith would have made a perfect throw, through a tight window to open TE Jeff Cumberland (above).

Goodson missed block

Upon first viewing on Sunday, the Jets performance seemed very ugly. However, when you watch the tape, were it not for a few missed opportunities the Jets would have been right in this game.


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  1. […] Tale of the Tape: Missed Opportunities in Steelers Loss Missed opportunities hurt the New York Jets in their game against the Steelers on Sunday. Here are just a few of them from the game film footage: Wilkerson missed Sack for safety Wilkerson (yellow circle) made a fantastic move on the Steelers LT and had a clear path to sack Roethlisberger in the endzone, but […]… […]

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