Pittsburgh Steelers send message in win over N.Y. Jets

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A critic of the Pittsburgh Steelers might say their 27-10 win over the New York Jets on Sunday didn't tell us much.

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After all, the Steelers were at home, coming off a tough loss, and playing a Jets team that was without its best player in Darrelle Revis.

But that would be missing the point. Yes, the Steelers won a game they were supposed to win, but the way they did it sent a message they'll again be an AFC heavyweight.

There's a reason we saw an amped Mike Tomlin celebrating his team's effort on the Pittsburgh sideline late in the fourth quarter. The Steelers bullied Rex Ryan's team in the second half, running through tackles on offense and beating up Jets receivers near the line of scrimmage. Ryan prides the Jets as a physical operation. Playing without James Harrison or Troy Polamalu, Tomlin beat Ryan at his own game.

And if the Steelers are getting the job done on defense, count on Ben Roethlisberger to handle the rest. Roethlisberger always has been underrated, perhaps because what makes him so good isn't exactly pretty. The Jets dialed up the blitzes with Revis sidelined, but Roethlisberger (24-of-31 passing for 275 yards and two TDs) handled it all with scruffy grace.

If the Steelers can keep their quarterback healthy, they'll be in the mix come January. As usual, reports of their demise are greatly exaggerated.

Follow Dan Hanzus on Twitter @danhanzus.

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