A 10th-round draft pick and a 12-year veteran cut during the exhibition season by Pittsburgh helped the New York Jets post their first victory ever over the Steelers.
Rookie John Booty blocked a punt that led to the Jets’ final touchdown, made 6 tackles and had an interception Sunday in New York’s 24-20 decision over Pittsburgh, which was 9-0 against the Jets coming into the contest.
Booty’s performance was matched by former Steeler Robin Cole. The 33-year-old, 12-year veteran was named defensive captain for the game. Cole had 2 of the Jets’ 6 sacks.
“He was something that this team needed,” Jets Coach Joe Walton said of Cole. “He is a tremendous influence on the young guys, on how this game should be played and how you should act.”
Cole, who played on 2 Super Bowl-winning teams with Pittsburgh, also notched a team-high 8 tackles and recovered a fumble in being awarded a game ball along with Booty. New York, expected to finish last in the AFC East before the season, kept itself in the midst of the playoff race by moving to 5-3-1.
Booty’s bocked punt, which he recovered and then fumbled away, set up a 5-yard touchdown run by Freeman McNeil with 8:36 to play that gave New York a 24-13 lead.
The Steelers (2-7) snapped a 6-game losing streak last week against Denver. In that skid they committed 23 turnovers. Mistakes haunted them again Sunday.
The Steelers lost 2 fumbles, had 2 interceptions and allowed the Jets’ other 2nd-half scoring drive to continue with 2 critical penalties.
“It is my job to try and eliminate mistakes,” Pittsburgh Coach Chuck Noll said. “We’re working on that.”
The Steelers drove 68 yards in 6 plays after McNeil’s touchdown to cut the lead to 24-20. Earnest Jackson finished the drive with a 17-yard touchdown run with 4:03 left.
Booty stopped the Steelers’ final possession with an interception on 4th down.