With their playoff hopes on the line, the Jets traveled to Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, where they are 0-7 all time, to face the Steelers. For the first time in his coaching career, Rex Ryan chose to recieve the opening kickoff against the Dolphins in order to try and spark his offense. They went three and out. Against the Steelers, Ryan tried to employ the same tactic, but this time, his offense didn’t even get to touch the ball. Brad Smith recieved the kick at the three yardline and returned it 97 yards to put the Jets on top 7-0; their first touchdown in three games.
The Steelers tied the game up at seven on a Ben Roethlisberger pass to tight end Matt Spaeth. The Jets and Steelers both kicked field goals to make it 10-10.
In the third quarter, the Steelers drove down the field and scored on a two yard run by Rashard Mendenhall and took a 17-10 lead. Then, for the first time since Brad Smith ran for a 55 yard reverse against the Bengals in week 12, the Jets offense scored a touchdown. At the seven yard line, Mark Sanchez faked the handoff to running back Shonn Greene, and sneaked the ball around the pile and into the endzone. Then on their next drive, Sanchez led his offense down the field and added a field goal.
Then after the jets next drive stalled at the 32 yardline, Rex Ryan decided to punt instead of kick a 50 yard field goal in the wind and snow. Punter Steve Weatherford pinned the Steelers on the three yardline, and on the next play, linebacker Jason Taylor broke through the line and tackled running back Mewelde Moore in the endzone for a safety. After the Jets punted on their next drive with 2:08 on the clock, Ben Roethlisberger led his offense down the field and ended up at the 11 yardline with 9 seconds left. But the Jets held on and forced two incomplete passes to secure a 22-17 win and advance to 10-4 on the year.