Michael Carter of the Jets runs the ball against the Bengals...

Michael Carter of the Jets runs the ball against the Bengals at MetLife Stadium on Sunday. Credit: Jim McIsaac

Rookie running back Michael Carter showed he is as elusive off the field as he was on it in after a career day in the Jets’ 34-31 victory over the Bengals at MetLife Stadium.

Asked what about his running style makes him so hard to bring down, Carter said: "I don’t know. If I did, I wouldn’t tell you."

Carter ran 15 times for 77 yards and a touchdown and caught nine balls for 95 yards as the Jets rolled up 512 yards of offense behind first-time starter / instant folk hero Mike White.

It was Carter’s best game as a pro and gave the Jets an idea that the fourth-round pick out of North Carolina could turn out to be something special.

"Michael Carter’s hard to tackle," coach Robert Saleh said before noting that Carter and rookie second-round receiver Elijah Moore (six catches, 67 yards) both had breakout games.

"They were awesome," Saleh said. "Just get the ball in their hands and let them make plays. That’s the dynamic play-making ability that both of them have. Give it to them in space and see what happens. Michael Carter, he’s been hard to tackle all season. Made some big, big plays."

Carter’s third career touchdown run was an eight-yard scamper on the Jets’ first drive. It was the first time this season the Jets had scored in the first quarter and got the crowd into the game early, which was important since the Jets lost their last game 54-13 to New England.

"I feel like just the way the crowd was rocking it early, we let that momentum take us through the game, along with execution," Carter said. "I think that’s the main thing that we did this week more than anything: Just chill out. Just execute."

Of the loss at New England, Carter said: "We know that’s not us as a team. Offense, defense, special teams – we know that’s not us. A lot of credit to Cincinnati. They’re one of the best teams in the league. They’re a great team. But we just decided it was us versus us today."

With White making his first NFL start, offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur had the Jets come out throwing. The first play was a nine-yard completion to Carter, one of five touches for the running back on the 14-play opening drive.

"A lot of credit to coach LaFleur," Carter said. "He just loves the game. He loves the game. I think he did a really good job of putting us in a position to win and it came down to us executing. For the most part, we did that. We’ve got stuff to clean up for sure, but it was good to get a win. A lot of credit to coach LaFleur."

Credit to the fans, the coaches, the Bengals. Was the elusive Carter ever going to give any credit to himself for his big day?

Not really.

"(It was) protection from the offensive line," Carter said. "Receivers, everybody running the right routes. Everybody was just executing and when the ball came to me, I just tried to make the play. Can’t force anything in this league or you’ll tense up and you won’t be yourself. I was just thinking, ‘Any ball could come to me,’ and when they actually do, just make the play."

Rookie running back Michael Carter had a career day with 172 total yards in the Jets' win over the Bengals. The breakdown:

RUSHING

Attempts 15

Yards 77

Average 5.1

Touchdowns 1

Long Gain 18

RECEIVING

Receptions 9

Targets 14

Yards 95

Average 10.6

Long Gain 23

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