With Darrelle Revis ruled out, the Jets look for another dynamic performance from Mark Sanchez and the offense as a much tougher test awaits at Pittsburgh versus the Steelers on Sunday. New York spent the majority of the preseason as one of the NFL's hot topics, but for the wrong reasons. The team failed to get in the end zone until the fourth and final preseason game, and that touchdown came from its reserves. Guess that's why they call it the preseason, because in week 1 the Jets proved that none of that lack of execution ever mattered in the first place. The Jets reached the end zone on the first three scores and comfortably beat Buffalo 48-28 to open the season in impressive and surprising fashion.
Sanchez was a big part of last week's outburst, completing 19 of 27 passes for 266 yards and three touchdowns while tossing his only interception on the opening drive. Two of his scoring throws went to rookie Stephen Hill, who had five catches for 89 yards despite getting sick on the sideline during the game. Revis won't get a chance at another pick just yet. The All-Pro cornerback will miss this game due to a concussion, suffered last week when he was accidentally kicked in the head by teammate Bart Scott while attempting a tackle. Revis will not make the trip to Pittsburgh, and Kyle Wilson will start in his place.
It's anybody's guess, but Tim Tebow, who gained 11 yards on five carries while being used twice in the wildcat and in nine total offensive plays last week may see a bit more action this time around. The wildly popular backup quarterback burned the Steelers for an 80-yard touchdown pass on the first play of overtime in last season's wild-card matchup. He completed 10 of 21 passes for 316 yards and two scores, while adding 50 rushing yards on 10 attempts in the matchup. Pittsburgh now welcomes back safety Ryan Clark, who sat out the opener due to a sickle cell trait that flares up at high altitude, but two other defensive standouts are questionable. Linebacker James Harrison (knee) hasn't played since the playoff loss to Denver, safety Troy Polamalu is nursing a strained calf and neither player has practiced this week.
Pittsburgh was held to just 284 yards of total offense in week 1 vs. Denver including only 75 on the ground. Rashard Mendenhall was inactive as he continues to recover from a torn ACL. Mendenhall practiced this week but is listed as doubtful. Last week, Ben Roethlisberger completed 22 of 40 passes for 245 yards with two touchdowns and an untimely INT, which was returned 43 yards for the game's final score with 1:58 left.
The key to the Jets winning is going to be what happens in their defensive backfielld. Wilson is going to have to step in and play the game of his life helping Antonio Cromartie lockdown the Steelers speedy wideouts. As long as Wilson is able to do that then the Jets front seven should be able to put plenty of pressure on the Steelers causing them to make mistakes which could lead to turnovers and additional opportunities for the Jets offense.