The Pittsburgh Steelers jumped out to a 24-3 lead against the New York Jets in the first half, but Mark Sanchez and the New York Jets fell just short of a comeback in the fourth quarter, falling to the new AFC champions 24-19. The Steelers, reaching the Super Bowl for the third time in six years, will play the NFC Champion Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XLV.
The Steelers’ ostensibly clutch quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, struggled in the AFC Championship, finishing 10-for-19 with 133 yards and two interceptions. Rashard Mendenhall was the difference-maker, rushing 27 times for 121 yards and a touchdown.
Sanchez finished 20-for-33 with 233 yards and two touchdowns. The Jets’ offense put up 16 yards in the second half after barely getting on the field in the first half, but they ran out of time outs and then clock in the Steelers’ final drive. Ladainian Tomlinson was held in check all night, finishing with nine carries for just 16 yards.