AFC Championship Preview: Jets @ Steelers

SUNDAY, JANUARY 23, 2011

NEW YORK JETS-AFC EAST (13-5) AT PITTSBURGH STEELERS-AFC NORTH (13-4)

SERIES

 

JETS

STEELERS

LEADER (REG. SEASON)

15-4

STREAKS (REG. SEASON)

3 of past 4

6 of past 9

COACHES VS. OPP.

(REG. & POSTSEASON)

Ryan: 1-0

Tomlin: 0-2

COACHES PLAYOFF RECORD

4-1

4-1

VS. COMMON OPP.

(REG. SEASON)

NYJ: 6-3 (Bal. 0-1,  Buf. 2-0, Cin. 1-0, Cle. 1-0, Mia. 1-1, NE 1-1)

Pit.: 7-2 (Bal. 1-1, Buf. 1-0, Cin. 2-0, Cle. 2-0, Mia. 1-0, NE 0-1)

PLAYOFF RECORD

12-12

32-19

LAST WEEK

W 28-21 at Patriots

W 31-24 vs. Ravens

LAST GAME (REG. SEASON)

12/19/10: Jets 22 at Steelers 17.  Jets score game's final 12 points, capped by DE Jason Taylor's safety.  CB Maurqice Cole defends pass in end zone on final play from Pit 10.

LAST GAME AT SITE

(REG. SEASON)

12/19/10

LAST PLAYOFF

1/15/05: Jets 17 at Steelers 20 (OT).  Pit. doesn't allow offensive TD & WR Hines Ward posts 10 rec. for 105 yards w/ game-tying score.  Reed's 33-yd. FG in OT sends Steelers to AFC Championship round.

BROADCAST

CBS (6:30 PM ET): Jim Nantz, Phil Simms.  Westwood One Radio: Dave Sims, James Lofton, Hub Arkush (Field reporter).  SIRIUS: 124 (WW1), 125 (NYJ.), 123 (Pit.).  XM: 124 (WW1), 103 (NYJ.), 102 (Pit.).

 

REGULAR SEASON STAT LEADERS

PASSING

Sanchez: 278-507-3,291-17-13-75.3

Roethlisberger: 240-389-3,200-17-5-97.0 (3C)

RUSHING

Tomlinson: 219-914-4.2-6

Mendenhall: 324-1,273-3.9-13 (T2L)

RECEIVING

Keller (TE): 55-687-12.5-5

Wallace: 60-1,257 (3C)-21.0-10 (T3C)

OFFENSE

351.0

345.3

TAKE/GIVE

+9 (T3C)

+17 (2L)

DEFENSE

291.5 (3L)

276.8 (2L)

SACKS

Thomas: 6

Harrison: 10.5

INTs

Cromartie, Lowery: 3

Polamalu: 7 (T2L)

PR

Wilson: 7.4

Brown: 5.8

KR

B. Smith: 28.6 (2L)

Sanders: 25.1

PUNTING

Weatherford: 42.6

Kapinos: 41.9

KICKING

Folk: 127 (3C) (37/37 PAT; 30/39 FG)

Suisham: 61 (19/19 PAT; 14/15 FG)


NOTES

TEAMS MEET for 2nd time in postseason. Steelers are 1-0 vs. Jets in playoffs.

JETS:  Marks 1st time team has reached AFC Championship Game in consecutive seasons.  Jets are 1st team in NFL history to win at least 2 road playoff games in back-to-back seasons...Head coach REX RYAN's 4 playoff wins & .800 win pct. (4-1) rank 1st among Jets all-time coaches...QB MARK SANCHEZ has 4 postseason road wins, tied for NFL record among starting QBs.  With 127.3 passer rating vs. NE, Sanchez owns 2 of top 4 marks in club postseason history (139.4 on 1/9/10 at Cin.) & is only Jets QB w/ 100+ passer rating in multiple road playoff games (min. 15 att.)...Jets are 4-0 when posting 100+ rush yards under Ryan. Club has 6 rush TDs in past 5 playoff contests...Incl. last week (76 rush yards, 1 TD), RB SHONN GREENE has registered at least 75 rush yards with 1 TD in 3 postseason games & Jets are 3-0 in such contests.  RB LA DAINIAN TOMLINSON posted 1st postseason receiving TD (7 yards) of career vs. Patriots.  Tomlinson's 7 postseason TDs (6 rushing, 1 receiving) rank 1st among active RBs...WR SANTONIO HOLMES has won 5 consecutive postseason games, including MVP performance (9 receptions for 131 yards with game-winning TD) in Super Bowl XLIII with Steelers.  Has 4 receiving TDs in 6 career playoff games.  10 of WR BRAYLON EDWARDS' 12 career postseason rec. (83.3 pct.) have been for 1st downs.  Posted 8 receptions for 100 yards in Week 15 win at Pit.  WR JERRICHO COTCHERY had 5 receptions for 96 yards vs. NE.  Caught five passes for 102 yards (20.4 average) in last season's AFC Championship Game...Defense registered 5 sacks last week, most by Jets in postseason since 1985...LB CALVIN PACE recorded sack in each of past 2 postseason games.  DE SHAUN ELLIS' two sacks last week tie Jets postseason record.  LB DAVID HARRIS led team w/ 9 tackles & registered 3rd career (1st postseason) INT vs. Patriots...Pittsburgh-native LB JASON TAYLOR recorded 4th quarter safety in reg-season game at Pit.  CB DREW COLEMAN posted career-high 10 tackles, first multiple-sack game (2) & 2 FFs vs. Pit. in Week 15.  Coleman & DT SIONE POUHA each recorded first career postseason sack last week...In Week 15 at Pit., KR-PR-WR BRAD SMITH totaled 140 yards on three kickoff returns (46.7 average), including a 97-yard TD.  KR-CB ANTONIO CROMARTIE averages 31.8 yards per kickoff return (191 yards on 6 kickoff returns) in 2010 postseason...Jets had 3 players selected to 2011 Pro Bowl (T D'BRICKASHAW FERGUSONC NICK MANGOLD, CB DARELLE REVIS).

STEELERS Host 11th Conference Championship Game, most among all teams since 1970.  Clubs' .627 postseason win pct. (32-19) ranks 1st in AFC (2nd NFL, Green Bay .628).  With win, Pittsburgh can tie Cowboys for most postseason wins (33) & Super Bowl appearances (8)...MIKE TOMLIN can become 2nd head coach (JOE GIBBS) to reach 2 Super Bowls in 1st 4 seasons.  Is 27-9 (incl. 3-1 in postseason) all-time at Heinz Field.  Has won 4 consecutive postseason games...QB BEN ROETHLISBERGER is 38-12 (.760) at home in regular season & 4-2 at Heinz Field in postseason.  Is 2-1 in AFC Championship Games & has passed for 756 yards w/ 5 TDs for 93.0 passer rating...RB RASHARD MENDENHALL (46 rush yards, 2 rush TDs) joined JEROME BETTISAMOS ZEREOUE as only Steelers RBs to rush for 2 TDs in player's 1st postseason game.  Rushed for 99 yards with 1 TD vs. Jets in regular season...WR HINES WARD has 4 100-yard receiving games at home in postseason during his career.  Has 19 receptions for 287 yards (71.8 per game) & 2 TDs in AFC Championship Games.  Posted reception in 15 consecutive playoff games & can surpass HOFer JOHN STALLWORTH (15) for most consecutive playoff games with at least one catch.  WR MIKE WALLACE had 7 catches for 102 yards (14.6 average) vs. Jets in Week 15.  Averaged an AFC-best 21.0 yards per catch in 2010 reg. season...TE HEATH MILLER has 24 receptions for 280 yards w/ 3 TDs in past 5 playoff games...Pro Bowl C MAURKICE POUNCEY became 1st Steelers rookie center to start all of his team's games...Pit. has not allowed 100-yard rusher in 15 consecutive postseason games, tied w/ Bal. for 2nd-longest current streak (Redskins, 17).  Did not allow 100-yard rusher in regular season...Steelers defense vs. Bal. allowed only 28 net yards in 2nd-half, 4th-lowest 2nd-half total in NFL postseason game since 1970...Pro Bowl LB JAMES HARRISON last week registered 3 sacks, tied for 2nd-most in franchise postseason history.  LB LA MARR WOODLEY needs 1 sack to become 10th player w/ 10 postseason sacks since 1982...CB IKE TAYLOR & Pro Bowl S TROY POLAMALU each have 3 career postseason INTs.  S RYAN CLARK registered 1st postseason INT of career vs. Bal.  LB JAMES FARRIOR played in three postseason games with Jets.

   

After the Jets defeated the Steelers 22-17 in Week 15, New York head coach REX RYAN told Pittsburgh's MIKE TOMLIN they would meet again in the postseason.  As the final two teams standing in the AFC, Ryan's words ring true. 

The Jets are flying high after knocking off the No. 1 seeded Patriots in New England last week to advance to the AFC Championship Game for the second consecutive season.  Quarterback MARK SANCHEZ, in just his second year, has already won four playoff road games, tied with LEN DAWSONJAKE DELHOMMEJOE FLACCO and ROGER STAUBACH for the most playoff road wins by a starting quarterback in NFL history.

"These playoff wins are not easy to come by," says Sanchez, who has defeated Pro Bowl quarterbacks PEYTON MANNING and TOM BRADY in this year's postseason.  "I'm proud of the fact that I got drafted by a great team and I've had the opportunity to play in these big games.

"We know how to play on the road, so that's a huge help for us.  We remember that bad taste after losing to the Colts in the AFC Championship Game last season, so we don't want that to happen again.  We're up against a tough opponent.  They'll have a great game plan.  Their defense is tough.  It'll be a great matchup and we're excited."

The Steelers are making their 15th Championship Game appearance, the most since 1970.  With a victory, Pittsburgh will tie Dallas for the most Super Bowl appearances with eight.  The Steelers are attempting to win their third Super Bowl title in the past six years, all behind BEN ROETHLISBERGER, who would become the fifth player in NFL history to win at least three Super Bowls as the starting quarterback, joining TERRY BRADSHAW (four), JOE MONTANA (four), TROY AIKMAN (three) and TOM BRADY (three).  

For both teams, the mission is the same: Win and advance to the Super Bowl. 

"We're very excited to be going back to the AFC Championship Game, but it's all for naught if we can't take care of it," says Pittsburgh Pro Bowl defensive end BRETT KEISEL

"Our goal is still ahead of us and we've got a lot of work to do," says Jets linebacker BART SCOTT.  "Pittsburgh is a tremendous team, with Super Bowl titles and a quarterback who has won two of them.  It is going to take everything we have, but I think we will be up to the challenge." 

"If you can't get motivated to win an AFC Championship," says Ryan, "then you shouldn't be in the building."

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