Breaking down the good, the bad, and the ugly in the Steelers loss to the New York Jets

The Good, Bad, and Ugly column is a breakdown of several segments of each game into each of a grading category of “good”, “bad”, or “ugly”. To get to the nitty gritty, Joe Kuzma dissects three moments from each game which could be best classified as each of those labels.

With a difficult loss and a playoff spot now in jeopardy, the Steelers had a variety of bad things happen on Sunday. Here’s a list of what I felt best slotted into each category of “good”, “bad” and “ugly” from that defeat.

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Good – Watt sets Steelers up to tie game

Jets Ball: 2nd Quarter 0:36 – 1st-and-10 NYJ 49

Following the Steelers first points of the game to close the score to a 10-3 Jets lead, the New York offense gained singificant yards with a few chunk plays that saw them approach midfield with a little over a half of a minute remaining in the second quarter.

The Steelers defense, as it had all day long, answered: T.J. Watt firmly planted his flag as a Defensive Player of the Year award candidate by not only hitting Jets QB Sam Darnold, but ripping the ball from him too!

This setup the Steelers on the Jets 41, where Mason Rudolph orchestrated a short drive capped off by a 29-yard touchdown pass to Diontae Johnson to knot the score at 10-all at half.

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Bad – Duck’s second pick

Steelers Ball: 2nd Quarter 10:27 – 3rd-and-3 NYJ 19

After falling behind by ten points, the Steelers chances of winning the game looked slimmer when Devlin Hodges threw a deep pass, intended for RB Jaylen Samuels, which was picked off by Jets DB Marcus Maye.

Rather than moving the chains (with three yards to gain) or any play which would’ve instead resulted in the field goal unit coming out, the Steelers came up empty-handed and appeared to be down and out early in the second quarter.

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Ugly – Pouncey out; Rudolph out

Steelers Ball: 3rd Quarter 3:19 – 1st-and-10 PIT 42

With excellent field position, the Steelers offense would once again be snake-bitten and down on their luck.

The very first play on this series would see C Maurkice Pouncey injured and headed to the sidelines. The next play would see his replacement, B.J. Finney, trip up QB Mason Rudolph, who would be slammed to the turf for a loss of five yards.

Rudolph would still move the chains on a 14-yard pass to JuJu Smith-Schuster, but a few plays later Pittsburgh would punt and the quarterback would head to the medical tent. He would not return to the game, and whatever spark Rudolph had provided for the offense, was now gone as the clocked ticked down to the start of the fourth quarter.

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