Establish the run? The Jets did that and more on Sunday in their 30-8 demolition of the Titans at MetLife Stadium.
The Jets gained 183 yards on the ground, with Chris Ivory totaling 101 on 22 carries for his first 100-yard rushing game since Week 6. Ivory also set a career high for yards in a season.
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But it wasn’t only Ivory who was poison to the Titans.
Bilal Powell ran three times for 36 yards and caught five passes for 46 yards, including a 16-yard touchdown pass. Former Patriot Stevan Ridley, who came into the game with four yards on 12 carries this season, gained 23 yards on six carries.
Even quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick got into the act, scrambling three times for 23 yards, including a 19-yard jaunt on the Jets’ first drive. And Titans rookie Marcus Mariota was supposed to be the feared rushing quarterback in this game!
Mariota gained three yards on three carries. He did catch a 41-yard touchdown pass from running back Antonio Andrews for the Titans’ only score in the third quarter.
The Jets didn’t have to rely on trick plays for their points. That was obvious from their first drive, a 14-play, 80-yard thing of beauty that ended with Fitzpatrick’s 16-yard scoring pass to Eric Decker.
“What made it a good drive was that we were executing,” coach Todd Bowles said. “Whether it was run or pass, the guys were executing. The guys were on the same page. They made plays.”
The Jets showed real diversity with their offense. Leading 10-0, they threw the ball on five straight plays and nine of 11 on their first drive of the second quarter. The result was a 27-yard field goal by Randy Bullock.
On their next drive, the Jets ran seven plays. All but one — an incomplete pass intended for Decker — involved their backs.
“Everything’s clicking pretty good,” Ivory said. “But you know all that comes with preparation and just putting the time in in practice.”
It started when Ivory rushed around right end for 32 yards. Powell followed with an 11-yard run and Ridley went for three and 11 yards. In four plays, three different Jets running backs had gained 57 yards to bring the ball to the Tennessee 15.
After Ridley lost a yard and Fitzpatrick failed to connect with Decker, Powell caught a short pass and ran 16 yards for a touchdown and a 20-0 lead.
“We talked about starting fast,” Bowles said. “We finished strong last week, but we have yet to start fast this year and jump out to a lead and play from ahead.”
Ivory, who obliterated Titans cornerback Coty Sensabaugh on one run in the third quarter, set a career best in single-season yardage with 914 (with three games remaining). His previous high was 833 in 2013, his first season with the Jets. Last year, he had 821.
“It means something,” Ivory said. “Just trying to be better each year. As of now, my numbers are better than they were last year. All in all, it’s just about being productive each year and just contributing to a win.”