Rex Ryan and company were hoping to jump-start their struggling ground and pound and that’s exactly what they did on Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts. The Jets amassed 252 rushing yards with starting tailback Shonn Greene accounting for 161 on his own to go along with three touchdowns on the ground. Seldom used running back Joe McKnight broke a 61 yard scamper in the third-quarter representing Jets’ longest run since Thomas Jones ran 71 yards for a touchdown against Buffalo on October 18, 2009. .
New York battered and bruised an anemic Colts defensive front, winning the battle at the line of scrimmage and creating gaping running lanes for its trio of ball carriers to exploit. Greene had been under great scrutiny this season for his lack of explosive plays and inability to find the end zone in goal line situations. Sunday’s outing marked Greene’s best rushing output of his career as he answered his critics and firmly cemented his spot as the Jets’ starter.
Speaking of players trying to keep their starting job, quarterback Mark Sanchez was efficient on Sunday connecting on 11-of-18 attempts for 82 yards and two scores. The Jets’ fourth-year signal-caller benefitted from a powerful ground game and didn’t turn the football over, producing a sterling 109.0 passer rating. While it was far from an aerial exhibition, Sanchez managed the game effectively and found wide receivers Stephen Hill and Jason Hill on a pair of five yard touchdown passes in the second quarter.
Mike Pettine’s defensive unit came to life sacking Colts rookie Andrew Luck four times and flying through for six quarterback hits. Jets’ cornerback Antonio Cromartie followed up a stellar performance against Houston last Monday night with an equally impressive outing opposing stud wideout Reggie Wayne on Sunday. Cromartie had a pair interception returns for touchdowns negated by defensive penalties and shadowed Wayne throughout the contest. New York intercepted Luck twice and forced two fumbles, allowing just three field goals in a 35-9 romping to the delight of a sellout MetLife Stadium crowd.
Tim Tebow carried the ball four times for just seven yards, but his most impactful play came on a fake punt call from special teams coordinator Mike Westhoff. On a 4th-and-11 from the Indianapolis 40-yard line, Tebow took the snap and flung the ball to linebacker Nick Bellore for a 23 yard gain, moving the chains and setting up the Jets for their third touchdown drive on the day.
Gang Green was clicking on all cylinders, building confidence entering next week’s divisional showdown against the New England Patriots. As New York prepares to face Tom Brady and crew in Week Seven, Ryan’s revitalized ground-and-pound will need to travel with the Jets to Foxboro if they hope to pull the upset.