Rex Ryan has talked up the “Ground and Pound” since arriving in New York and we saw it in full force last week.
The primary reason the Jets beat the Indianapolis Colts last week was because their offensive line and running backs completed dominated the second half. Their running game set up manageable third downs, which the Jets routinely converted.
It can’t be any different this week against the New England Patriots, who can be run on. Before you throw away 111 yards on 23 carries, LaDainian Tomlinson and Shonn Greene had in the 45-3 beatdown, remember 84 of those came in the first half when the game was still competititve. The two of them also combined for 128 yards in their week 2 match-up, with Tomlinson averaging 6.9 yards per carry.
The Jets must control the clock to keep Tom Brady off the field. It doesn’t start and end with the running game either. Mark Sanchez must be accurate in the short passing game and find ways to convert third downs.
Look at the Jets third down situations in the second half against the Colts –
- 3rd and 2 – 5 yard by Shonn Greene. First Down.
- 3rd and 3 – 20 yard pass to Dustin Keller. First Down.
- 3rd and 7 – 9 yard pass to LaDainian Tomlinson. First Down.
- 3rd and 1 – 6 yard run by Mark Sanchez. First Down.
- 3rd and 1 – 1 yard run by LaDainian Tomlinson. Touchdown.
- 3rd and 5 – Incomplete pass to Santonio Holmes.
- 3rd and 5- Incomplete pass to Braylon Edwards.
As you can see the Jets were getting themselves in manageable situations through their running game. They finished 5/7 on third downs in the second half. Their only two misses were on a dropped pass by Santonio Holmes and an overthrow by Mark Sanchez to an open Braylon Edwards.
The Jets can’t afford those mistakes this week. No dropped passes. No overthrowing open receivers. Most importantly though is control the clock and setting up third and short through the running game. LaDainian Tomlinson and ShonnGreene both looked fresh and healthy last week and they should be the same this week, as neither reached 20 carries against Indy.
The less time Tom Brady is on the field and the more Jets shorten this game, the more likely it will be a one possession game in the 4th quarter, where one play can swing the game.