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Tomlinson’s 133-yard effort in the Jets’ 28-14 romp over the Buffalo Bills gave him 25 games with at least 100 rushing yards and two touchdowns, tying him for the most all time with the legendary Jim Brown.
SI.com football guru Peter King was singing Tomlinson’s praises (I will not call him LT, there is only one of those and he does not wear green) this morning.
Tomlinson looks like he turned the way-back machine to 2007, which is when he had his last great season in San Diego. He’s fast. He can beat linebackers around the corner, which he didn’t do last year. He bursts into tacklers. Very dissimilar to the last couple of years in San Diego. He rushed for 3.8 yards a clip in 2008 and 3.3 last year, and the Chargers had seen enough. We all thought we’d seen enough. Raise your hand if you thought Tomlinson was going to be anything but a relief pitcher for the explosive Shonn Greene with the Jets. I certainly thought that would be the case. But here they are, sharing the job. The vet has 56 carries, the kid 52. As a team, the Jets are rushing for 168 yards a game — and 5.1 yards a clip.
With his 133-yard, two-TD rushing day, Tomlinson moved past Tony Dorsett into seventh place on the all-time list. And he joined Jim Brown as the only backs ever to rush for 100 yards and two touchdowns in a game 25 times. "I’m pinching myself,‘’ Tomlinson said. "I love this team. I love running behind such a great line. It’s incredible, really, that I was able to come here.’’
I asked him if he takes any delight in showing he’s not washed up. "The pleasure isn’t showing people they were wrong,‘’ he said. "The pleasure is showing people the Jets were right in the faith they showed in me. They made the right choice.’’
SI’s other big-time football writer, Don Banks, is issuing a mea culpa about Tomlinson today.
A month into the NFL’s regular season, honesty compels me to admit I was utterly wrong about LaDainian Tomlinson’s chances for a late-career renaissance with the Jets. I thought L.T. started to hit that post-30 wall as a running back last year in San Diego, and moving to the East Coast wasn’t going to turn back the clock in any significant way.
But it has, and Tomlinson clearly has some juice left in those legs. In a 38-14 win at Buffalo, Tomlinson looked as elusive as ever, running for 133 yards and a pair of touchdowns (1 and 26 yards) and adding three catches for 22 yards. It was the 47th 100-yard rushing game of L.T.’s 10-year career, and the first time he had cracked triple digits since running for 105 yards in October 2008.
Tomlinson is running with something to prove this season, and the Jets are benefiting. With both Tomlinson and second-year back Shonn Greene (22 carries for 117 yards) posting 100-yard games against the Bills, New York ran for a whopping 273 yards, or 102 more than it had passing. The Jets averaged 5.6 yards per carry against out-matched Buffalo, looking every bit the ground-and-pound team head coach Rex Ryan loves to field.
Through four games, L.T. has rushed for 341 yards on just 56 carries, an eye-opening 6.1 per rush.
Don’t feel bad, Don. The Chargers — and everyone else — appear to have been wrong about Tomlinson. Now the question is: How long can he keep this up?
Orchard Park, NY (Sports Network) – LaDainian Tomlinson ran for 133 yards with two touchdowns and Shonn Greene added 117 yards on the ground, leading the New York Jets to a 38-14 rout of the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium.
Mark Sanchez completed 14-of-24 passes for 161 yards with a pair of touchdowns for the Jets (3-1), who have won three straight — all within the AFC East — since a season-opening loss to Baltimore. New York, which was just 2-4 in divisional games last year, had tough wins at home against New England in Week 2 and last Sunday night in Miami, but had a much easier time with the winless Bills (0-4).
The Jets racked up 273 yards on the ground and turned a 17-7 game at halftime into a laugher with 21 third-quarter points, beating the Bills for the fourth time in the last five meetings. Dustin Keller had two touchdown receptions in a span of just over 90 seconds during the third-quarter burst.
Tomlinson, who carried 19 times, recorded his 47th career 100-yard rushing game and had his most yards since a 146-yard effort on December 9, 2007 with San Diego against Tennessee. He also surpassed Hall of Famer Tony Dorsett for seventh on the NFL’s all-time rushing list.
Buffalo quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick was a dismal 12-of-27 passing for just 128 yards with two touchdowns and was also the team’s leading rusher with 74 yards on seven carries. The Bills, who scored 30 points in last week’s loss to New England, reverted back to form from their first two games when they mustered a combined 17 points against Miami and Green Bay.
It’s the first 0-4 start for Buffalo since 2004. That year, the Bills lost three of those first four games by three points or less and went on to finish 9-7. This Buffalo team, on the contrary, has been beaten by more than 20 twice already and has allowed at least 34 points in three straight games.
Buffalo had just 12 first downs and only 223 yards of total offense, while also failing on all 10 of its third-down plays. The Jets controlled the ball for nearly 40 1/2 minutes to Buffalo’s 19 1/2.
The Jets took the opening kickoff and drove 63 yards on nine plays for a touchdown. Tomlinson did most of the work, rushing five times for 42 yards and catching one pass for another 10. His last carry resulted in a one-yard touchdown plunge for a 7-0 lead.
Buffalo fumbled the ensuing kickoff and the Jets had a golden opportunity from the Bills’ 39, but Tomlinson was stopped short of a first down at the 12 and Nick Folk missed a 30-yard field goal.
A series of punts left the Bills with good field position at the Jets’ 49 late in the first quarter, but three plays netted zero yards and the Buffalo offense finished the opening 15 minutes with 25 yards on 10 plays. Fitzpatrick misfired on each of his five pass attempts during the period.
Near the end of the first quarter, the Jets embarked on a drive that ate up more than nine minutes and covered 18 plays, but the Bills stiffened inside their own 10 and forced a 19-yard field goal from Folk that made it 10-0 with 6:46 left in the half.
The Jets got the ball back after another Buffalo punt and needed just three plays to find the end zone. After Greene carried twice for 25 yards, Sanchez used a pump-fake and found Braylon Edwards behind the secondary for a 41-yard touchdown.
Buffalo finally mounted an offensive surge and drove 64 yards on seven plays to answer. A conversion on 4th-and-2 kept the march alive and David Martin capped the series with a four-yard touchdown catch in the final minute of the half, sending the Bills into the locker room down 17-7.
The Bills also got the ball to start the second half and reached the New York 48, but Fitzpatrick was sacked on second down and the team was soon after forced to punt.
New York followed with 21 points to blow the game open. Keller hauled in a three-yard touchdown pass from receiver Brad Smith out of the wildcat to cap a 10-play, 69-yard drive and after Marshawn Lynch fumbled on Buffalo’s first offensive play following the kickoff, Keller caught a two-yard scoring toss from Sanchez to finish a three-play, 23-yard set to make it 31-7.
The Bills again punted it away and the Jets quickly scored again. Tomlinson went left for nine yards on the first play, then raced through a hole up the middle, made Buffalo safety Donte Whitner miss and went untouched the rest of the way for a 26-yard scoring jaunt.
The Jets averaged 5.6 yards on 49 rushing attempts…Edwards had four catches for 86 yards, while Keller finished with four catches for 28 yards…The Jets converted half of their 14 third-down plays and finished with 444 yards of offense…Buffalo rookie C.J. Spiller had just two carries for 11 yards, while Lynch had eight yards on four attempts.
Line: Jets are five points favorites.
Prediction: The Jets are clearly the better team but you can’t discount a divisional rivalry. The Bills will keep it close but the Jets aren’t losing this game.
Doubtful — Wayne Hunter (OL, shin), Calvin Pace (LB, foot), Darrelle Revis (CB, hamstring), Jamaal Westerman (LB, ankle), Damien Woody (OL, personal).
Questionable — Nick Mangold (C, shoulder), Jason Taylor (LB, elbow).
After stumbling out of the gates in their opener, the New York Jets have looked much more like the team that everyone thought was a Super Bowl contender heading into the 2010 NFL season. Though the defense has not been as good as advertised, Mark Sanchez has really stepped up his game the past two weeks, throwing for three touchdowns in both wins.
Next up for Sanchez and the Jets is a date with the winless Buffalo Bills. Sanchez knows that there’s no such thing as a pushover divisional game, especially not this early in the year and on the road. The Jets quarterback joined The Michael Kay Show on ESPN Radio on Wednesday to talk about his play the past two weeks, and what he and the team are up to this week in order to avoid a letdown against the hungry, 0-2 Bills.
Whether he has to fight the urge to feel good about himself in the way that he has played the last two weeks:
“I think so. I think we need to keep building on the positives that happen in the game, the way we are scoring in the red zone, the way we made some explosive plays, converted on third downs. These are things that we talked about at the beginning of the season that our offense would be able to do. Now it is happening, just got to keep it rolling, and then the most important thing is to clean up some of the little mistakes like the false starts, the holdings and things like that that we can control that is huge if we eliminate some of those penalties. We might blow that game open and we really got a chance to keep winning so that is the most important thing.”
Whether he thinks it is possible to look past a 0-3 Bills team to the Vikings game next Monday night:
“I think that is a really good point and I think for a lot of teams it could be a trap game. They’ll bring everything out, they’re searching for a win hard and we need to expect that, prepare for that, and trust our preparation and not change anything. It is important for guys not to start feeling themselves. In this media and this market you play well for a couple of weeks in a row and it looks like everything is great and it is all sunshine and rainbows, so you have got to fight it and you have to compete everyday. If we want to win on Sunday, we have got to win today, tomorrow and all the way through the week. Nothing changes it is just important to remember that it could be a trap game for a lot of teams and we don’t want to let it happen that way.”
(Sports Network) - Take heart, Bills fans. It might be for the best.
Just a few years ago, when its football team was consistently among the NFL's elite, the city of Buffalo and its Western New York surroundings were chronically rushing to defend their collective honor.
As Jim Kelly & Co. racked up win after win in regular season after regular season, the analysts, commentators and pundits would inevitably utter a phrase in the back half of those schedules that went a little something like this:
"Folks, the road to the AFC championship goes through Buffalo in January."
And immediately, the damage control would begin.
Next-morning talk shows, afternoon radio DJs and evening anchors of all shape and size would channel the indignant sun-drenched masses, wondering where anyone had gotten the idea that Great Lakes weather in mid-winter is any different than San Diego, San Antonio or Santo Domingo.
It wasn't a pretty sight.
Throw in the fact the Bills remain annually reminded of two of the league's most signature playoff disasters - "Wide Right" in Super Bowl XXV and the "Music City Miracle" in the 2000 wild-card round - and the suffering only rarely subsides.
So perhaps what's happened in September isn't the worst thing after all.
In losing its initial three games of the 2010 season, what the current version of the Buffalo franchise may actually be doing is shielding a weary fan base from three months of further torture.
If familiarity breeds contempt, then anonymity might possibly yield catharsis.
And toward that end, the end of the month on One Bills Drive lately has had an appropriate "they'll never matter again" feel.
Quarterback Trent Edwards, a starter in 34 of 51 games since a third-round selection from Stanford in 2007, was rudely dumped on Monday - going from incumbent to expatriate a day after he watched from the sidelines as Buffalo fell to 0-3 with a 38-30 loss at New England.
Into his stead steps Harvard alum and former seventh-round pick Ryan Fitzpatrick, who'd had exactly 19 starts with two teams prior to signing with the Bills last year and gradually ebbing whatever public support Edwards had maintained.
Most importantly... in the coach's office.
"We're looking for a spark," said first-year boss Chan Gailey, relegating Edwards to the inglorious post-Kelly scrap heap of Todd Collins, Alex Van Pelt, Doug Flutie, Rob Johnson, Drew Bledsoe, Kelly Holcomb and J.P. Losman. "We're looking for something that gives us a new look and thought process.
"Those kinds of decisions are never easy. He gave us everything he had. We just felt like we were not going to go back in that direction at the next juncture. Trent did the best he could. He's a great young man, and I wish him the best."
Edwards was immediately claimed on waivers by Jacksonville, where coach Jack Del Rio said it was like getting another draft choice.
Meanwhile, on the other side at Ralph C. Wilson Stadium this week is a QB who's walking the "he's a bum/he's a savior" tightrope in a successful direction lately.
Second-year Jet Mark Sanchez was lambasted when New York covered just 176 yards in an ugly 2010 opener with Baltimore, but he bounced back with six touchdowns and zero interceptions as Gang Green beat New England and Miami in tone-setting Week 2 and 3 divisional games.
The Jets enter Week 4 in a three-way tie with the Patriots and Dolphins atop the AFC East, but hold both early-season tiebreakers and, with a win Sunday, could gain some more ground when those two teams play each other Monday night in South Florida.
"This is who he is," coach Rex Ryan said of Sanchez, who passed for 12 touchdowns with 20 interceptions in an uneven rookie year before leading the team to the AFC Championship Game. "He's having the kind of year we expect."
Somewhere, someone is using the phrase "trap game" in reference to New York coming off two big wins to play an inferior foe on the road. We won't go that route here, though the causes for such a mindset are clear. Still, a new old quarterback and some dynamic trinkets on offense have to face one of the league's perceived-best defenses, while Sanchez and friends figure to have an easier path toward their territory-seeking objectives on the other side. In the end, Rex and Co. sidestep the trap.
(Sports Network) – Though it has names at many spots, the Jets offense doesn’t exactly provide a bumper fantasy crop. The re-emergence of LaDainian Tomlinson has stripped some of Shonn Greene’s value, and Edwards isn’t a consistent enough threat to warrant full- time play. Keller may be the best bet on that side, while the defense is a surer bet against a mistake-prone (minus-3 turnover ratio) Buffalo unit. No names leap out for the Bills, though Spiller could be a hunch play with what’s sure to be a variety of touches.
(Sports Network) — The Orchard Park fans will see their inaugural game with Ryan Fitzpatrick as a clear No. 1, a week after he logged a 71.4 completion percentage against the Patriots. Expect him to lean heavily on a talented backfield, from which Marshawn Lynch has averaged 82.7 yards in his last three against New York. Against the Patriots, he led the team with 79 yards on 13 attempts. Also available is prized rookie C.J. Spiller, who scored twice last week and racked up 228 all-purpose yards – 189 on kick returns, 29 on the ground and 10 catching passes. Among traditional pass-catching targets, veteran Lee Evans has grabbed 45 balls for 726 yards (16.1 yards per catch) in his career against New York. Roscoe Parrish clicked with Fitzpatrick for 83 receiving yards against New England, the second-highest total of his career. Seven of Parrish’s nine catches on the season have accounted for first downs.
And now for the bad news … even in the win over the Dolphins, the Jets were still torched through the air, allowing 10 catches and 166 yards to Brandon Marshall and a last-minute drive that saw the unit forced to hold Miami off four times inside the 20 to clinch the win. New York has surrendered an average of 336.3 yards per game overall – mitigating some of that total with a plus-6 turnover margin that’s tied for first in the league. Among the individuals, linebacker Taylor announced his post-Dolphin presence with a first-quarter sack of Chad Henne, drawing boos from the Miami faithful. He has 20 career sacks against the Bills, his most against any foe. He’s aiming for a third straight game with at least one. Linebacker David Harris has 2.5 sacks in his last four games against Buffalo and end Shaun Ellis had two sacks in his last go-round as well.
(Sports Network) — The Jets have recently been successful in unfamiliar surroundings, going 6-3 in nine road games under Rex Ryan in two seasons and winning five straight with the 31-23 triumph at Miami. Mark Sanchez has been solid in both New Jersey and Florida over the past two weeks, completing 36-of-58 passes for 476 yards and a 122.5 passer rating. A three-TD effort against the Bills would be his third in a row. In the backfield, LaDainian Tomlinson scored his first rushing TD as a Jet last week and aims for a fourth straight game with at least one run of 20 yards. He’s averaged 94.4 yards in five games against Buffalo. On the outside, embattled receiver Braylon Edwards was benched for the first quarter before hauling in a 67-yard scoring pass last week and boosting his season totals to eight catches and 141 yards. Tight end Dustin Keller continued his own emergence as well, and is second in the league among tight ends with three TDs.
Since holding Miami to just 15 points in the opener, Buffalo has proceeded to allow 34 and 38 in successive weeks against Green Bay and New England – plummeting to a division-worst 87 points surrendered overall. Injuries haven’t helped, and no fewer than three players on the ball-stopping side are listed questionable, including linebacker Paul Posluszny (knee), linebacker Andra Davis (shoulder) and end Marcus Stroud (end). Posluszny was limited in practice Wednesday and both Davis and Stroud did not participate at all. Four players have racked up one sack apiece through three games, while Davis and safety Donte Whitner share the team lead with 21 tackles apiece. Overall, however, the Bills’ defense sacked Sanchez five times in their last meeting – including a career-best two from tackle Kyle Williams, who had his first of 2010 last week. Cornerback Terrence McGee has five career INTs against New York.
“I’m not playing,‘’ Revis said. "If I was 100 percent now, I’d be playing against Buffalo. But I’m not… If I’m ready to go next week, I’ll be playing against the (Minnesota) Vikings. If not, I won’t be playing.’’
Fortunately for the Jets the Bills are terrible. New York should have no trouble dispatching them even without Revis.
Jets in 2010: Twelve quarters, one turnover. So even though the offense is doing its share of stopping and starting (more to come on this subject in my Friday Game Plan), they’re not giving away any easy points. And, by the way, the Jets have allowed three points, total, in three fourth quarters. I don’t expect Darrelle Revis to play in Orchard Park, and I don’t expect it will matter.
The New York Jets signed veteran defensive lineman Trevor Pryce, snatching him away from the Baltimore Ravens.
The 35-year-old Pryce, who played for three seasons when Rex Ryan was the Ravens' defensive coordinator, made it no secret that he loved playing for Ryan.
"If he becomes a head coach," Pryce once said, "I'm going to find out and I'm going with him."
The Ravens waived Pryce earlier this week to clear roster space for safety Ken Hamlin, who the team felt would be a better fit against the Steelers this week.
Ravens coach John Harbaugh told reporters Wednesday that there was a "high possibility" that Pryce would be re-signed.
"You've got roster issues that you deal with. It's not something we wanted to do," Harbaugh said. "Trevor is a big part of what we're doing here, and we anticipate getting him back. It's just what we had to do for now.... "
But Ryan scooped up Pryce, who should help a Jets front seven saddled with key injuries. First, defensive lineman Ropati Pitoitua was lost for the season with an Achilles injury in the preseason. Then, Calvin Pace broke his foot in the third preseason game. Nose tackle Kris Jenkins suffered a season-ending knee injury a few plays into the season opener against the Ravens.
Sounds like the Ravens tried to play a little game with their roster, and the Jets burned them.
Omon (RB, 5-foot-11, 227, Northwest Missouri State) was waived by the Seattle Seahawks on April 4, 2010, after spending most of his first two seasons with the Buffalo Bills. Originally a sixth-round draft pick by Buffalo in 2008, he has played seven games in his career, all with the Bills. He has 11 carries for 27 yards and has returned one kick for 26 yards. He was signed to the Seahawks practice squad on November 17, 2009, after being waived by Buffalo on November 11, 2009. Omon rushed for 7,073 yards at Northwest Missouri State and is one of only two players in college football history to rush for 1,500 yards in each of his four seasons.
Rinehart (G, 6-foot-5, 310, Northern Iowa) was waived by the Washington Redskins on September 4, 2010, after two seasons with the team. He was initially drafted by Washington in the third round (96th overall) of the 2008 NFL Draft. Rinehart played all five of his career games last season and made one start, before being placed on injured reserve on Nov. 24, 2009, with a fractured fibula. At Northwest Iowa, he played 47 games, starting 44, and was named a consensus FCS All-American.
Here is the complete New York Jets injury report for Wednesday.
Did Not Practice — Wayne Hunter (OL, Shin), Calvin Pace (LB, Foot), Darrelle Revis (CB, Hamstring), Jamaal Westerman (LB, Ankle), Damien Woody (OL, Personal).
Limited Participation — Nick Mangold (C, Shoulder), Jason Taylor (LB, Elbow).
The Times also says Jenkins, who has now torn the A.C.L. in his left knee twice within the last year, is uncertain he will return to football. Jenkins, 31, is a four-time Pro Bowler and two-time All Pro.
The New York Post reports that Pace (foot) practiced briefly today, but Revis sat out.
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