The Jets literally ran away from the Kansas City Chiefs today, and backs Shonn Greene and LaDainian Tomlinson were in front of the charge.
This one was over early as the Green & White dominated in the first half and led, 28-3, at the break. Greene and Tomlinson combined for 190 total yards in the first 30 minutes, accounting for 75 percent of the Jets’ 253 yards. Greene ended up rushing for the second-highest regular-season output of his career in the 37-10 rout, going for 129 yards on 24 carries for a 5.4-yard average.
“Shonn and I talked about that before the game that as running backs, let’s be the guys to put the game on our back and make some plays for this game,” Tomlinson said. “We both did that, so it feels good to have that type of game.”
Ironically, the Jets, who outgained the Chiefs in the first half, 253-4, actually got off to a slow start as Mark Sanchez was forced to call a timeout before the first play from scrimmage. But Greene didn’t mind and raced for a season-long 31 yards on the game’s first play. That carry gave him a career high in rush yards as he eclipsed his 766 total from his sophomore campaign and the Jets were well on their way.
“I think it was important to start off the game fast, especially after taking that first timeout,” Greene said. “You don’t want to start out like that, so I think that helped us get over that hump.”
Sanchez, who became the first Jets QB to throw for two touchdowns and rush for a pair in the same contest, actually culminated the 11-play, 77-yard possession on a 1-yard keeper. It was his fourth rush TD on the season, a career-high, and it also marked the second consecutive week the Jets had scored on their first drive.
With a 7-3 lead late in the first, S Jim Leonhard intercepted a Tyler Palko pass at the Chiefs 38. After Sanchez had been sacked a pair of times earlier, the third-year QB used Greene to beat a first-down blitz. Greene caught a short ball along the KC sideline, got a nice block from LG Matt Slauson and tiptoed for 36 yards.
“It was executed very well. The line got out to block downfield,” Greene said. “I tried to score, but I couldn’t quite get there. We got a touchdown anyway.”
“Our screen game has really been good,” Tomlinson added. “It’s something our group really worked hard on in the offseason — training camp, we worked hard on it. That was a point of emphasis that we wanted to improve on and I think we’ve done that.”
Sanchez would cash in from the 4, hitting Santonio Holmes in the back of the end zone as the Jets went up, 14-3.
Later in the second stanza, Tomlinson set the table for Greene. Rookie Justin Houston, a Georgia product, had the terribly unfair assignment of sticking with LT out of the backfield on third-and-8 from the KC-44. The result was predictable as No. 21 got free over the middle with his wonderful route and sprinted for 31 yards.
“As long as he’s out there, he can still make plays,” Greene said of his backfield mate. “That’s why we have him here. I’m just grateful to have him because he makes some big plays out there.”
Greene fumbled the ball away to the Chiefs on the next play, but head coach Rex Ryan challenged that he was down on contact and won on the reversal. That set up Greene’s 7-yard scoring run and the “Money Zone” streak remained intact as the Jets moved past the goal line for a 10th consecutive time inside the opponents’ 20. Greene’s fourth rush TD in the past two games made it a 21-3 game.
“I was kind of angry, so I wanted to get in the end zone,” said Greene of the sequence.
Tomlinson, who has accomplished almost everything you can dream of individually, capped off the first half in style with his first home touchdown as a Jet. Sanchez, operating out of the ‘gun, surveyed the field and got another screen set up on the right side. Tomlinson got a couple of blocks from his linemen and then made CB Travis Daniels look silly before getting in from 19 yards out.
“It was a good feeling,” Tomlinson said. “As I got closer to the end zone, I could kind of smell it. I was just thinking, ‘Please, nobody grab me. Please, nobody grab me.’ ”
The Chiefs had no answers for the backfield tandem in the first half as Green amassed 125 yards (12 carries for 67 yards, three receptions for 58) and Tomlinson 65 (7-for-15, 2-for-50) in the first half while the Chiefs had 4 yards of offense total. Greene reached triple digits in rush yards for the second time this season on a 4-yard carry in the final stanza.
“He’s a beast,” Tomlinson said. “He carried the load, he wore guys down and he had some big runs. That’s the way a Pro Bowl running back runs.”
While the outcome was decided before the second half, Sanchez tacked on another rushing TD in the third quarter. That was No. 5 for No. 6 this season and the Jets made it 12-for-their-last-12 inside the 20.
“That’s pretty decent,” Green said of his quarterback. “That guy has a knack for the end zone whether it’s throwing or running. He’s going to get there.”
The 8-5 Jets equaled their season high with their third consecutive win and moved to 6-1 at MetLife Stadium. They remain very much in the playoff hunt and they figure to be a tough out in December and possibly January if Greene and Tomlinson can stay hot.
“We want to play our best football at this time,” Tomlinson said. “We understand what’s at stake, so we’re just going to keep on battling.”
“We were just clicking. We just had a rhythm,” Greene said of the offense. “When this team has a rhythm, we can be unstoppable.”
Tags: Kansas City Chiefs, LaDainian Tomlinson, Mark Sanchez, Rex Ryan, Shonn Greene
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