The Steelers lost 22-17 to the Jets after their last-minute drive came up just short. The Steelers had a little over two minutes to complete a 92-yard drive, and they nearly pulled it off, but Ben Roethlisberger was unable to complete a pass to Matt Spaeth in the end zone as time ran out.
The Steelers had taken a 17-10 lead early in the second half, but Mark Sanchez led a 66-yard drive to tie the game midway through the quarter and then added a field goal early in the fourth quarter to take a 20-17 lead. Two punts later, the Steelers had the ball and a three-point deficit with 2:45 to play, but Jason Taylor slammed Mewelde Moore to the ground in the Steelers’ end zone for a safety. The Steelers defense got rid of the Jets in short order, but with a five-point lead, the Steelers were forced to go for a touchdown as time was about to expire, and they couldn’t quite do it.
As far as playoff scenarios are concerned, this week went about as badly as things could possibly go for the Steelers. Not only did they lose, but every relevant AFC rival won except for the Jaguars, who were themselves playing an AFC team with playoff aspirations in the Colts. The Steelers failed to clinch a playoff spot, and while they’ll almost certainly still get one, they’ll have to play their final two regular-season games with a bit more urgency. It will be interesting to see how things play out for Troy Polamalu next week – a win over the Jets would have made it more likely that he would just sit the next two weeks out. The Steelers can still clinch a playoff spot with a win next week, but they’ll have to keep winning to win the AFC North and a first-round bye.