The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


October 13, 2013

Steelers hoping land first win against Jets

East Rutherford, N.J. — The Pittsburgh Steelers are in stunningly rare territory.

They’re winless through four games and off to their worst start since 1968, leaving them searching for answers. Ben Roethlisberger even declared the Steelers one of the league’s sorriest team after their last game two weeks ago.

Sure, the New York Giants and Jacksonville entered the week at 0-5. But having no wins this deep into a season doesn’t fly with the Steelers.

“It hasn’t been like that around here for a while,” wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery said. “That’s something that has to set into all of our minds, that we are 0-4.”

Pittsburgh is not panicking. At least not yet. But with the Pirates now out of the baseball playoffs, fans in the Steel City look at their football team and wonder when they’ll be able to cheer a victory again.

“Obviously, there’s a sense of urgency associated with the position we’re in, frustration and natural human thoughts and responses in that regard,” coach Mike Tomlin said. “But it doesn’t affect how we approach it and the processes that we need to go through in order to be ready to play this week.”

The Steelers had a bye week to regroup. Meanwhile, the New York Jets (3-2), their opponent Sunday, are working on a short week after stunning the Atlanta Falcons 30-28 on Monday night.

Jets left guard Willie Colon spent seven years with the Steelers, and knows better than to underestimate a winless Pittsburgh bunch.

“I see a desperate team and I see a team that, coming off a bye week, they’re kind of like, ‘All right, we’ve laid an egg. Let’s start our season again,”’ he said. “Knowing how those guys think, they’re going to be ready to go.”

Rex Ryan has insisted to anyone who’ll listen that the Jets won’t suffer a letdown, even though they’ve been one of the NFL’s early-season surprises with rookie quarterback Geno Smith leading the way.

“We know what the record is on Pittsburgh,” Ryan said. “We’re certainly not feeding into it or buying into that by any stretch of the imagination. It’s a Mike Tomlin-coached football team, so we know they’re going to be prepared. They’re going to be hungry coming in here.”

Here are five things watch for when the Steelers take on the Jets:

Desperate Steelers: The Steelers started the 1968 season 0-6 before finishing 2-11-1. Bill Austin was replaced by Chuck Noll after that season. And, the rest is history.

These Steelers, though, aren’t looking to set any marks for futility.

“At the end of the day, we have to get this thing changed around or teams are going to come in here or whenever they see us on the schedule, think we’re their type of team,” said Cotchery, who played for the Jets from 2004-10. “We know in this locker room that we’re not.”

GOOD GENO: After a four-turnover performance at Tennessee, Smith turned it all around in Atlanta.

He was selected AFC offensive player of the week after throwing for three touchdowns and, most importantly, had no turnovers. Smith leads the league with three go-ahead drives in the fourth quarter, including two that won games as time expired.

“I’m just proud of the way that this team fights,” Smith said. “We’re never out of it and we’ve always got a chance.”

CREATING PROBLEMS: A big reason for the Steelers’ dismal start is their inability to force mistakes. They’re the only team in the league without a takeaway, and their minus-11 turnover differential was second only to the Giants.

They also have a league-low four sacks, and rank 25th in the NFL against the run. Those are hardly acceptable numbers for a team whose history is steeped in dominant defense.

PROTECTING BEN: The Steelers’ revamped line has allowed Roethlisberger to be sacked 15 times, and it faces a Jets front seven that puts tons of pressure on quarterbacks.

Pittsburgh acquired Levi Brown from Arizona last week to try to help, and he could start at left tackle in place of the benched Mike Adams. If left guard Ramon Foster can’t play because of a strained pectoral muscle, Kelvin Beachum could take his place.

SOARING JETS: New York has already surpassed some preseason expectations, with some fans and media picking the Jets to finish worst in the league. It’s still early, of course, but get this: a win Sunday would set up a potential first-place showdown in the AFC East with New England next week.

“Oh, we’re certainly a work in progress,” Ryan said. “There’s no question about that. We’ve earned the 3-2 record, but we have to really improve in a lot of areas for us to be the team that we want to be.”


AP NFL website:


Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • Dodgers Pirates Polanco, Walker lift Pirates over Dodgers

    Gregory Polanco broke out of a slump with a solo home run and a tiebreaking two-run single, lifting the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 12-7 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday night.
    Polanco, hitting just .133 in his previous 11 games, smacked a bases-loaded single with two outs in the sixth to put Pittsburgh in front for good.

    July 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • Pirates 0721 Rallying Dodgers snap Pirates’ win streak at 3 games

    Hyun-Jin Ryu pitched seven strong innings, Adrian Gonzalez reached base five times and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-2 on Monday night.
    Ryu (11-5) joined Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw in making the Dodgers the first team in the majors with three 11-game winners.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pirates 0720 Pirates rally to keep sweep

    Taking the extra base was the key for the Pittsburgh Pirates in completing a three-game sweep of the Colorado Rockies.
    Andrew McCutchen hit a tiebreaking single in the seventh inning, Neil Walker followed with a home run and the Pirates overcame a three-run deficit to beat the Rockies 5-3 Sunday.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • McIlroy 0720 McIlroy holds on to win British Open

    Walking off the 18th green as the British Open champion, Rory McIlroy kept gazing at all the greats on golf’s oldest trophy.
    On the claret jug, his name is etched in silver below Phil Mickelson.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pirates 0719 Pirates take second straight over Rockies, win in 11th inning

    Jordy Mercer doubled home Neil Walker with one out in the bottom of the 11th inning to lift the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 3-2 victory over the Colorado Rockies on Saturday night.
    Walker led off the inning with a single against Colorado’s Chad Bettis (0-2), moved to second on a sacrifice bunt, and scored one batter later when Mercer hit a drive deep into the gap in left-center.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • out at home Eighth-inning rally carries Pirates to victory over Rockies

    Travis Snider’s pinch-hit double in the eighth scored Neil Walker to spark the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 4-2 victory over the Colorado Rockies on Friday night.
    Walker trotted home when Colorado right fielder Carlos Gonzalez couldn’t track down Snider’s sinking line drive off reliever Matt Belisle (2-5). All-Star Josh Harrison added a sacrifice fly one batter later.

    July 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • score Pirates in race, hope for late surge

    The Pittsburgh Pirates find themselves in an average, every day – if still heated – pennant race.
    A season after shedding the yoke of two decades of failure with a stirring run to a playoff berth, the Pirates are just another solid if not spectacular team trying to keep pace in the jam-packed NL Central.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Derby 0714 Cespedes wins again, beating Frazier in HR derby

    July 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • All-Star Game 0714 Pitching matchup features two of game’s most dominant arms

    July 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jeter 0714 Derek Jeter, an All-Star for the last time

    July 14, 2014 1 Photo


What is the biggest key to reducing gun violence in Johnstown?

Tackling the area's drug problem.
Controlling folks moving into city housing.
Monitoring folks in treatment centers and halfway houses.
Tougher sentencing by the court system.
More police on the streets.

     View Results
Order Photos

Photo Slideshow

House Ads