The tape doesn’t lie and despite a gut-wrenching OT loss, Thomas Jones and the rest of the Jets offense ran wild Sunday against the Bills.
“There were some great things in that game when you watch that tape: 318 rushing yards, a franchise record by Thomas [with 210 rushing yards], averaged 9½ yards a carry,” said Jets head coach Rex Ryan. “Those were some unbelievable statistics.”
After his historic individual performance, Jones vaulted all the way to fifth in the NFL in rushing and he was also nominated for the league’s FedEx Ground Player of the Week. You can vote here for the award through Friday at noon ET.
Not known for his long runs, Jones’ 64-yard jaunt in the second quarter was a personal best and tied for the seventh-longest run in Jets history. But then T.J. outdid himself on his next carry, taking a handoff from Mark Sanchez and sprinting 71 yards to the house. That was the second-longest TD run and the fifth-longest ground gain in franchise annals.
"You could have a 64-yard run one play and have a 2-yard loss the next play. I just take it one play at a time," T.J. said. "We were winning at the time, but we still weren’t playing as well as we could. We were making mistakes and turning the ball over, so we didn’t really put ourselves in a position to take advantage of some of the good plays that we had.”
Leon Washington also pitched in with 99 yards as the Green & White got strong blocking up front from their talented offensive line. Entering Week 7, the Jets are second in the NFL in rushing (163 yards per game) — it’s only the sixth week since 1995 that they’ve ranked that high this late in a season.
“We are running the ball as effectively as has been run in this league for I don’t know how long. For what, 318 yards rushing, average 8 yards per carry? There’s that running game we are talking about,” Ryan said. “The fact that when we added Braylon Edwards, how that coverage was going to change, I think we saw it. We saw that the running game would improve when we got less people down there.”
While the Green &White’s run game is on solid ground, the aerial attack has encountered some turbulence. Rookie QB Mark Sanchez, who was intercepted five times against the Bills, is tied for the NFL high with 10 picks and his 56.7 passer rating ranks 34th in football. New York’s AFC representative is ranked just 30th in pass offense (155.7 yards per game) and Sanchez and company — minus Jerricho Cotchery and Brad Smith — struggled throwing the ball against the Bills.
As they look to right the ship out in Oakland, the Jets appear to have a favorable matchup with their rush offense vs. the Raiders’ 28th-ranked rush defense. Just two weeks ago, the Giants ran for 220 yards against the Raiders, but the Oakland run defense wasn’t tested that much in the 13-9 victory over the Eagles because Philly rushed just 14 times and while Donovan McNabb threw 46 passes. McNabb was sacked six times and Da Raiders were able to pull off a huge upset in the Black Hole.
On a three-game skid, the Jets will turn to Jones, Washington and the line to get the club jump-started. After going 0-for-4 on the West Coast in 2008, including a 16-13 OT defeat in Oakland, the Jets would like to move back over .500 and regain that winning feeling.
“They beat us out there last year, so they have some momentum going into this game, but we have a lot of veterans on this team,” said Jones. “We have a lot of guys that have won a lot of football games and have been in this kind of situation in the past. We have some great character, so I think it won’t be an issue for us to bounce back and get ready to go in practice.”
The first practice of the week comes Wednesday.
Izzo Recovers Again
When Larry Izzo fell on the punt that glanced off of Josh Reed’s leg in the second quarter Sunday, he achieved something that only two other Jets have done in the past 20 seasons. He recovered his second special teams fumble in one season.
Izzo, who also, you’ll recall, pounced on Ryan Mouton’s fumbled punt in Game 3 vs. Tennessee, joins James Thornton in 1994 and Chris Burkett in 1991 as Jets with two or more ST fumble recoveries. Burkett, in fact, recovered four kick fumbles that year.
Tags: Buffalo Bills, Larry Izzo, Leon Washington, Oakland Raiders, Rex Ryan, Thomas Jones
Posted in Eric Allen | 40 Comments »