PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Maybe this was the difference -- the New York Jets treated it as if it were a regular season game. The Pittsburgh Steelers acted as if it were another AFC championship game.
The Jets' season took a bad turn when they lost in Pittsburgh in December, so they were determined to go there Thursday night and give themselves something to build on as the regular season approaches.
The Steelers? Only a few days after safety Lee Flowers suggested they were ready for the season to start right now, they gave themselves plenty to work on the rest of training camp.
In an effort remarkably similar to their 24-17 upset loss to New England in the AFC championship game seven months ago, the Steelers turned the ball over four times, had a punt blocked and committed several special teams breakdowns.
With all that help, the Jets needed little more than a lengthy, 70-yard drive by the offensive starters that opened the game to roll to a 16-6 victory over the Steelers in an exhibition opener.
"Last year, we ended the season here," said safety Damien Robinson, who intercepted Kordell Stewart's pass on Pittsburgh's first series. "To start a season with a victory here and accomplish most of our goals means a lot."
That 18-7 Jets loss in Heinz Field, plus a later loss in Buffalo, ultimately forced them to go on the road for an AFC wild card game they lost at Oakland.
So, coach Herm Edwards said, "To win a game on the road, that's a pretty good start, beating them here."
Vinny Testaverde was 6-of-8 for 61 yards on the opening drive, which ended with LaMont Jordan's 1-yard run more than 8 1/2 minutes into the first quarter.
"We approached it like a regular season game and scripted the plays," Testaverde said. "That was a good one."
The Steelers outpassed the Jets 301-152 as backup Tommy Maddox went 12-of-16 for 147 yards, but the yardage didn't translate into any points -- mostly because of the turnovers. And the NFL's best rushing offense a year ago was held to 52 yards on 19 carries.
The Steelers have spent most of training camp insisting they haven't been distracted by the predictions they're the AFC team to beat. Then, they went out and were beaten because of the same mistakes that doomed them against New England.
Jerome Bettis again had no running room, gaining only 8 yards on seven carries, numbers similar to his 8 yards on nine carries against New England.
Stewart was intercepted on the first of two series run by the Steelers starters, leading to one of Jets kicker John Hall's two field goals. Rookie receiver Lee Mays fumbled at the Jets' 13 in the final minute. And if the blocked punt wasn't bad enough, a too-many-men-on-the-field penalty on a Jets punt kept New York's opening drive going.
These were the kind of errors that led the Steelers to fire former special teams coach Jay Hayes and bring in Kevin Spencer, who said, "I'd rather have this happen now than when it counts."
Coach Bill Cowher didn't want to make comparisons to the New England loss, saying, "I'm not worried about last year, this is this year and I was not happy about last year, either. Special teams have been a point of emphasis throughout camp."
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