This article is gonna hurt to read. These plays are the missed opportunities, the whiffed chances. These plays are the reason they say football is a game of inches. Let's get right to it.
The Missed Safety, Q1: 10:05 remaining. This was the first real missed opportunity. Muhammad Wilkerson made a monstrous play and had a chance to bring Ben Roethlisberger down. Unfortunately, he escaped like only he could. Honestly, I don't think any other quarterback in this league escapes from Wilkerson's grip, but that's just the way it goes sometimes. This would have given the New York Jets two points, and the ball.
Failure to Convert, Q1: 4:25 remaining. When the Jets got into the red zone here, they ran three plays. The first was a short pass to Jeff Cumberland, and the second and third were runs with Bilal Powell. When they didn't make any of them, they kicked the field goal. But at no point did they actually throw the ball into the end zone. They ran three extremely conservative plays, and were left with three points instead of the seven they might have had.
Hill Misfire, Q2, 4:48 remaining. This is the play that shows you exactly what Stephen Hill is capable of. He makes a small move, and that's enough to prevent Ike Taylor from pushing him off his route. After that, he quickly gets a step on Taylor, and no one can keep up with him. If this ball is thrown an inch and a half shorter, the team has an 80 yard touchdown, and seven more points.
Gates Return, Q3, 15:00 remaining. The past two weeks, special teams has looked better and better. We haven't seen as many fair catches, and we've seen some bigger returns. Unfortunately, in both weeks, Clyde Gates was stopped from a potential touchdown by the kicker. Last week, he whiffed on a stiff arm and just missed the kicker. Here, a shoestring tackle brings him down. With Cortez Allen closing from the bottom, it's unclear if Gates would have broken free. But he would have had a much better chance had he not been tackled by a 200lb. kicker.
First INT, Q3, 8:01 remaining. This play was perhaps the most perplexing of all. It's unclear what Geno Smith was looking at. Had he waited another moment, Jeff Cumberland likely would have been open right in the middle of the end zone. Instead, he immediately decided to throw it away. Yeah, I said throw it away. That's what he said in a post-game interview, and the more I watch it, I believe it. The way he's trying to heave it and just the trajectory, it looks like he just misfired to me. Unfortunately, it was a devastating misfire considering the nice drive the team had put together.