Ryan Fitzpatrick silences Jets' QB controversy with a no-pick outing

Ryan Fitzpatrick had his second game this season without an interception. Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

PITTSBURGH -- Looking at the positives and negatives (without the benefit of film review) from the New York Jets' 31-13 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers:


QB Ryan Fitzpatrick: This was a slump-busting performance by Fitzpatrick, who began the day with nine interceptions in a two-game span. He wasn't perfect (he caught a break on his touchdown pass), but he was turnover-free, his second game with no interceptions. This should quiet the people calling for Geno Smith, which makes no sense. When asked if he'd consider a quarterback change, coach Todd Bowles replied with an emphatic, "No." Fitzpatrick was sacked three times, and he prevented a few others with some nifty movement in the pocket.

WR Brandon Marshall: He set season highs with eight catches and 114 yards and also had a touchdown. Marshall was their only threat in the passing game, drawing extra coverage, yet he still managed to find some holes in the secondary. On the downside, he had a costly third-down drop early in the game, wiping out a potential scoring drive. He has four drops in five games, which isn't good.

DT Leonard Williams: He was responsible for the only big play on defense, a strip sack that resulted in a fumble recovery for Sheldon Richardson. Williams, who has a team-high five sacks, has been one of the few bright spots this season. They need more guys like him.

CB Darryl Roberts: In his first NFL game, the former New England Patriots castoff held up reasonably well, recording two pass break-ups. Consider that the Jets had only four in the first four games. Surprisingly, Roberts leapfrogged rookie Juston Burris on the depth chart, working as the No. 3 corner. Bowles said Roberts outplayed Burris in practice, also noting that Roberts matched up better with the Steelers' receivers because of his speed. Roberts left with a shoulder injury.


CB Marcus Williams: Elevated to the starting lineup because of Darrelle Revis' injury, Williams discovered what other corners are learning every week: Sammie Coates is very fast. He can't catch the easy ones, but he's a dangerous vertical threat. Coates blew past Williams for a 72-yard touchdown reception, the way Marquise Goodwin blew past Revis in Week 2. Afterward, Williams owned up to it. The Jets became the first team to allow three scoring passes of 70 yards or longer within the first five games of a season since the 2000 Atlanta Falcons. That's not a winning formula.

DE Muhammad Wilkerson: It was a relatively quiet game for Wilkerson (three tackles), who faced third-string tackle Chris Hubbard for much of the game. As a whole, the Jets' vaunted defensive line didn't generate much pressure. Ben Roethlisberger was pressured on only four of 48 dropbacks, but it's important to examine why. The Steelers used maximum-protection schemes, using seven to block four. Roethlisberger didn't hold the ball too long, attempting 28 passes that traveled 5 air yards or less, his highest total since 2013, per ESPN Stats & Information. He completed 22 for 172 yards and three touchdowns. That's the book on the Jets: Protect the quarterback, throw quickly and let your receivers make plays against their porous secondary.

Underneath pass coverage: It's hard to single out one player; let's just say there were across-the-board issues. They had no answer for Le'Veon Bell, who caught nine passes for 88 yards out of the backfield. Bowles said the Steelers were difficult to defend because "it was a two-headed monster. Sometimes, we had to defend the deep ball. Sometimes, we had to pressure. We thought we could get there with four, then recover. We gave [Roethlisberger] too much time. He started to dump things underneath, then he made some plays and outran us."

WR Robby Anderson: The undrafted rookie is learning the hard way that the regular season is a lot harder than the preseason. Working as the No. 3 receiver, Anderson had only one catch for 10 yards. Yeah, the Jets really miss Eric Decker.