The Pittsburgh Steelers surprised the Arizona Cardinals at Heinz Field to keep pace with the Cincinnati Bengals. Even though the Steelers beat Arizona with the rare score of 25-13, they may be without another quarterback. Michael Vick was hurt in the third quarter and had to be replaced by Landry Jones.
Landry Jones is a third-year pro who was drafted by the Steelers in 2013. His action against the Arizona Cardinals (4-2) was his first game experience. He hadn’t thrown an NFL pass since being drafted. He made a strong case that he should be starting instead of Vick. He entered the game and immediately threw for 168 yards and two touchdowns. Those are impressive numbers against a Cardinals defense that was ranked in the top five before the game.
Per USA Today, the Steelers’ backup quarterback was giddy and surprised he was called on to play.
“I just still can’t believe I got in the game and got to play, you know what I mean,” Jones said, chuckling. “I’m still kind of reeling from it. Next week will be next week. Today I’m going to enjoy it.”
Jones had been used to getting the ball thrown his way. Since the Steelers are without Ben Roethlisberger, the passing game hasn’t been what Steelers Nation is used to seeing. Ben and Brown have a game-time link that has been built through trust and repetition.
Asked if Landry might be an option at starter, Tomlin wasn’t committal.
“You know, we have some options here.”
Jones, who completed 8 of 12 passes, said there have been times when he’s doubted whether he’d ever get a snap with the Steelers (4-2). He struggled at times during training camp. Then, Pittsburgh signed Vick in August.
Vick struggled in the first half and looked uncomfortable again. By the end of the first 30 minutes, Arizona had outgained the Steelers in yardage 279 to 59. The Steelers had a grand total of one-yard passing. When Jones took over on the Steelers’ second possession of the third quarter, he tossed a touchdown pass to Martavis Bryant.
Mike Tomlin isn’t sure about the extent of Michael Vick’s hamstring injury. But he may have to go with the hot hand of Jones over Vick. The Bengals have a bye in Week 7. If the Steelers are to keep the pressure on AFC North leading Cincinnati, they need another win.
Meanwhile, the Steelers seem to have found their identity on defense. The Steelers registered six tackles for loss, deflected eight of Carson Palmer’s 45 pass attempts, and hit Palmer seven times. The key defensive play of the game was Mike Mitchell’s end zone pick as the Cardinals were going for the lead with just over two minutes left. After a Steelers penalty, Bryant scored his second touchdown to win it.
Steelers’ running back LeVeon Bell was impressed with Jones.
“It was really like Ben’s little brother out there,” Bell said. “It kind of brought us back like, ‘Dang, Landry has really got this.'”
[Feature Photo by Jared Wickerham / Getty Images]