Jets worried about Jets, not Patriots, after loss

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Jets worried about Jets, not Patriots, after loss

By Mary Paoletti
CSNNE.com Staff Reporter Follow @mary_paoletti

FOXBORO -- You heard about this game all week: Patriots versus Jets. Rivalry week. The week Rex Ryan's crew returns for the first time since booting New England from the playoffs and jet-planeing triumphantly through the tunnel and into the AFC championship game.

The implications escalated along with the media chatter.

A Patriots loss would put them at 1-2 in the AFC East; a Jets loss would put them at 2-3 overall. It isn't just divisional football, it's Jets Week.

But if you go by New York's postgame reaction, this was Just Another Week. Almost every Jets player interviewed after the 30-21 loss at Gillette Stadium spoke about . . . the positives.

"We're going to take this game and learn from it as best we can and just move forward," said defensive back Darrelle Revis. "Hopefully, catch them the second time around when we play them later on in the season."

Yes, that was Revis. New York's talented, trash-talking cornerback was in move-on mode after the loss and couldn't be bumped off course. The whole locker room was set to a mellow simmer if not soaking in ambivalence. The Jets dressed quietly but weren't sullen; they talked with the media, but weren't provocative.

The Patriots took Week 3's loss to the Buffalo Bills harder.

"We had a great game plan coming in," Revis shrugged. "We knew a lot of things that they were doing, but . . . they executed. Tom Brady is an unbelievable quarterback. He made some great throws and those guys ran some great routes."

Revis spoke good-naturedly about his much-hyped coverage match up against Patriots receiver Wes Welker. Welker is a man on fire in 2011 and has recorded more receiving yards (740) through the first five games than any player in NFL history. But the Chargers did limit him to 81 yards on seven balls in Week 2. And his average per game over the last six seasons is 61.5 yards.

Holding Welker to 124 on five catches isn't exactly a shutdown night. But if the Jets are bothered, they're hiding it well.

"We stressed this week of playing tight coverage. The one out route that Welker did on me, I had him blanketed and the ball . . . " Revis laughed softly and shook his head. "I don't even know. It's like he shot-putted it up and it went straight down in to his hands."

Antonio Cromartie, Revis' other half, was also undaunted.

"It's frustrating, but it's football," he said. "You have your ups and downs. You've got to take the negative with the positive. The biggest thing for us is that we just stay together and build on the things we're capable of doing good. We actually played pretty good, we just didn't play good enough to come out with the win today."

But Revis had to be one guy salivating for the rematch, right? It would only be right, considering he's the very vocal President of the 'I Hate Brady' club.

"Definitely," he said of the November 13 game. "But that's further down the line. My concern right now is getting ready for Monday night against Miami."

Can you believe him? Can you believe these bright-side Jets?

Sure.

This isn't Week 13 with both teams tied at 9-2. The Jets weren't embarrassed in excess of 43 points -- they hung within six until the last minute of the game. And Sunday night certainly wasn't anywhere close to a divisional title game.

Pride will always factor into this rivalry, but the Jets say they're more concerned with the bigger picture right now. It's really not so crazy considering this game follows an ugly 34-24 loss in Oakland and an uglier 34-17 loss in Baltimore.

"It's a lot of frustration; we lost three games in a row. It's tough," Revis said. "It's tough right now, but we got to stop committing mistakes out on the field. We've got to be consistent in our game play. It was a tough game tonight."

There's just too much work to do. Quarterback Mark Sanchez balked a la Jim Mora when asked about grinding it out to the playoffs.

"Forget about the postseason right now,"he said. "It's not like we're out of this thing, but we need to just win."

The thing about the Jets is, you know they'll do the work. Whether they're up or down, there won't be any shrugging at New Meadowlands after Week 10.

Mary Paoletti can be reached at mpaoletti@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Mary on Twitter at http:twitter.comMary_Paoletti.

Antonio Brown posts questionable locker room video after Steelers win

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Antonio Brown posts questionable locker room video after Steelers win

Showing a knee-buckling lack of self-awareness, Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown put up 13:35 of footage on Facebook Live after his team’s 18-16 win over Kansas City on Sunday night.

It was a weird betrayal of the team’s privacy by one of its star players. Brown, allowed viewers to see live (and on tape until it’s inevitably taken down) that, while head coach Mike Tomlin was around a bank of lockers addressing what Tomlin presumed was his entire team, Brown was mugging in front of his phone for a growing online audience.

The video starts with Brown and teammates having fun in front of their lockers. As the team is called together for a postgame prayer, Brown keeps the camera rolling. After the prayer, Tomlin made a statement.

“When you get to this point in the journey, not a lot needs to be said,” said Tomlin. “Let’s say very little moving forward. Let’s start our preparations. We spotted those a******* a day and a half. They played yesterday. Our game got moved to tonight. We gonna touch down at 4 o’clock in the f****** morning. So be it. We’ll be ready for that ass. But you ain’t gotta tell them we coming. Because some of us might not like the damn (woofkisses?) The chest pounding.  Keep a low profile.”

While Tomlin was issuing that low-profile request, Brown rolled on. Another Steeler then spoke up saying, “Keep cool on social media, this is about us, nobody else.”

Finally, what sounded like quarterback Ben Roethlisberger addressed the team saying of Foxboro, “That’s a lion’s den we’re going into this week. It’s a lion’s den. I’ve been there, a lot of us have been there. Keep your mouth shut.”

While people might fan themselves over Tomlin calling the Patriots a*******, that’s benign and likely will be matched in private by Patriots coaches this week.

What’s staggering is that a player of Brown’s ability and seeming intelligence would be so self-absorbed as to be agog at putting on a video show for Facebook followers at the expense of his coaches, teammates and franchise.  

Steelers survive, advance to visit Patriots despite red-zone woes

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Steelers survive, advance to visit Patriots despite red-zone woes

For the third time in the Belichick-Brady Era, the Patriots will be trying to step over the Steelers to get to a Super Bowl.

Pittsburgh went into Kansas City on Sunday night and outlasted a breathtakingly sluggish Chiefs team 18-16.

If you spent the day stewing about the Patriots adequate-against-Osweiler-but-probably-nobody-else offensive performance Saturday night, maybe Sunday night calmed your nerves.

Despite having a more than 2-to-1 edge in total yards entering the fourth, Pittsburgh had managed just six field goals from kicker Chris Boswell. Their best chance at getting six on the board was squelched when Ben Roethlisberger got picked at the goal line in the first half.

That Kansas City was even in the game with a chance to tie it in the final three minutes has to be humbling for the Steelers. They dominated every statistical category of consequence while the Chiefs played aimlessly behind Alex Smith, who may be a cut above Brock Osweiler but is definitely a cut below every other quarterback in the Divisional Playoff round.  

On this night, Ben Roethlisberger wasn’t much better.

Still, Pittsburgh’s got the best 1-2 punch in the NFL at running back and receiver – LeVeon Bell and Antonio Brown were both at 101 yards after halftime – and New England’s entire defensive game plan will revolve around corralling those two and getting them horizontal.

The Patriots beat a Roethlisberger-less team in October, 27-16. Landry Jones was at quarterback that day.

The Steelers were in the Patriots’ red zone four times. They came away with 10 points. They were inside the Patriots’ 40 six times and finished with 16.

“In an offense like that with a bunch of very explosive players, one slant can turn into a touchdown so you have to be really careful in your coverages,” defensive end Rob Ninkovich told me after that game. "There’s not just one go-to guy. They got a running back that can catch it out of the backfield and make plays (Le’Veon Bell). [Antonio Brown] can catch it anywhere on the field and make plays. You just have to make sure with a guy like [Landry Jones] to have him make the throws. It’s hard in this league to be perfect. So to have him sit back there and try to make all the throws was what we chose and the secondary did a great job.”

Bell and Brown combined for 268 yards from scrimmage against the Patriots.

The Steelers scored one touchdown.

The ever-dawdling Bell, who practically walks to the line of scrimmage then skips around like a little kid with a full bladder before finding a crease to exploit, is where it will start for the Patriots.

If the Patriots are going to go to their seventh Super Bowl since Belichick’s hire, Alan Branch, Malcom Brown, Donta Hightower and Elandon Roberts – their two best interior linemen and their two inside linebackers – will be the ones who start the bus. The overwhelming majority of Bell’s runs are between the guards so building a wall and out-patienting him as he probes for a crease is Job One.

The Chiefs weren’t stout enough at the line of scrimmage and Bell brutalized them. It will, of course, fall to more than just those four. Trey Flowers, Rob Ninkovich, Chris Long, Vincent Valentine and Shea McLellin will also be in focus. Run-support from safeties Patrick Chung and Devin McCourty will be a part of it as well, but that’s where the Steelers become tough to deal with.

Once Bell’s established himself, the Steelers can start to work play-action and get Brown into space. Creep too far and the numbers on the back end could wind up being insufficient to deal with one of the NFL’s fastest players.

That’s why you can expect the Patriots to not overexert themselves with pressures and blitzes against Ben Roethlisberger. They’ll want as many back in coverage as possible to deal with Brown and some of the other Steelers speed merchants.

The Patriots have dealt with Pittsburgh’s defense enough to know where to attack. LeGarrette Blount ran for 127 yards on 24 carries in the first meeting and

Tom Brady went 19 for 26 for 222 with two touchdowns.

The Patriots had Gronk that day and the Steelers didn’t have Roethlisberger. That tips the scales some when measuring the differences. But after watching Pittsburgh kick six field goals and keep afloat an underperforming Chiefs team, the issue that dogged them in October – red zone offense – looks like its still around.

And they are going to visit a team that does that led the NFL in preventing points.