When Isaiah Crowell scored a touchdown in Cleveland in Week 3, the Jets running back staged a celebration so outrageous that the referees flagged him, the NFL fined him, Todd Bowles got on him and even Crowell’s mother criticized him.
The only people who seemed happy with the way he used the football to simulate wiping his bottom before flinging the ball into the stands were the ones at a company that makes a toilet paper alternative for men. They gave him an endorsement deal.
Crowell finally returned to the end zone after a 77-yard sprint in the Jets' 34-16 victory over Denver on Sunday at MetLife Stadium. So what kind of celebration did the first-year Jet stage this time? No kind of celebration. He gently flipped the ball away.
There was a lot for Crowell to celebrate after the game. The Jets ended their three-game skid and he had the best day running the ball in franchise history, wiping up Denver, so to speak, for a career-high 219 yards on only 15 carries.
“It means a lot to me,” Crowell said of the record. “Really, I want to congratulate my O-line because what I did, I wouldn’t have been able to do that. They opened the holes all game.”
It marked the fourth time in NFL history that a player ran for at least 200 yards on 15 or fewer carries. Thomas Jones held the Jets’ record with 210 in 2009.
Crowell averaged 14.6 yards per carry -- an NFL record for a runner with at least 15 carries -- and outrushed his total of 171 yards in the first four games. Besides the 77-yarder in the second quarter, he had a 54-yarder on the first play of the third.
“He’s a tough guy,” Bowles said. “He’s quicker than you think.”
The 5-11, 225-pound Crowell accepted a three-year, $12-million deal with the Jets after spending his first four seasons with the Browns.
“He’s a good back, a physical back, a smart back,” guard Brian Winters said. “He knows how to hit it.”
The Jets (2-3) hit the holes for 323 yards rushing, the second-best day in franchise history, with Bilal Powell also going for 99. Sam Darnold threw for 198 yards and three touchdowns and the team finished with 512 yards of total offense.
“I feel like it all worked together,” Crowell said. “The run was good for the pass and the pass was good for the run.”
Crowell went on his 77-yard run with the Jets trailing 7-0. He hung a quick left, then turned upfield, made a move at the 25 to get inside of cornerback Bradley Roby, made another move at the 35 to get inside of safety Darian Stewart, then cut toward the left sideline. There was no catching him on the second-longest touchdown run in franchise history (Bruce Harper ran for a 78-yard TD against Atlanta in 1983).
“We knew that he had big-play ability, so I’m not surprised he went the distance when no one tackled him,” Denver coach Vance Joseph said. “We had two guys unblocked.”
But Crowell won’t get another endorsement deal off the tame end zone aftermath.
“I just know I don’t want to do anything that can cost my team any penalties,” Crowell said. “But that’s how I felt at the time. I just wanted to drop the ball. That’s usually what I always do.”
Isaiah Crowell’s record-breaking day by the numbers:
Avg. per rush