Jets' strong running game limits Mark Sanchez's need to throw

Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez on the sidelines during

Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez on the sidelines during a 35-9 win over the Colts at MetLife Stadium. (Oct. 14, 2012) (Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan)

The question to embattled quarterback Mark Sanchez was whether the Jets' 35-9 rout of Indianapolis Sunday at MetLife Stadium was a picture-perfect portrait of how he had envisioned the offense would look.

That is to say "ground and pound," with the running game accumulating 252 yards on 44 plays and the passing game limited to 19 plays.

The question -- predicated on Sanchez completing less than 50 percent of his passes in the previous four games -- implied that the less the Jets call on their quarterback, the better.

"Whatever we need to win," Sanchez said. "Today just happened to be a great running day. Look at the Buffalo game [a 48-28 win]. We threw the heck out of it and were really successful through the air.

"Wins come in all shapes and forms, so we have to be ready to play specific to [each] game. But I was proud of the way we rushed it today . . . That was awesome to see. Big holes to run through, great blocks up front."

With Shonn Greene rushing for 161 yards and three touchdowns and Joe McKnight throwing in a 61-yard run as part of his 71-yard total, all Sanchez did was complete 11 of 18 passes for a mere 82 yards. That he had touchdown passes of 5 yards each to Stephen Hill and Jason Hill and no interceptions gave him a passer rating of 109.0, which was way above his 66.6 mark entering the game.

Sanchez has been playing with a short deck because of injuries to his receivers. Santonio Holmes is out for the season and Stephen Hill and tight end Dustin Keller returned to the lineup after hamstring injuries. Whether it was because the Jets didn't want to test those hamstrings or because they didn't have to, Sanchez threw no deep balls. His longest completion was 12 yards.

"When you're running the ball that well, you never want to stop," Sanchez said. "You want to keep those guys in a rhythm up front, keep those running backs in a rhythm. Just like when you hit a bunch of passes in a row, you just got to keep feeding it. There will be plenty of time for [deep passes] whenever we need it."

Maybe this Sunday against the Patriots.

With a smile, Sanchez said, "We got to save a ton of calls. Going up to New England next week, that's big to have those plays, and we've [practiced] them already."

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