Shonn Greene spun off Antoine Bethea and juked to his left, leaving Tom Zbikowski on his hands and knees. In one swift motion, Greene left the Colts' safeties behind and ran 4 yards for his second touchdown of the afternoon.
Days after declaring himself the team's No. 1 back, Greene flashed moves that fans have been waiting all season to see and proved the Jets' ground game is alive and well.
Sparked by his career-high 161 rushing yards, 32 carries and three touchdowns, the Jets ran all over the Colts in a 35-9 victory Sunday at MetLife Stadium.
It was a much-needed confidence boost for a team that heads to New England later this week for a shot at first place in the division. All four AFC East teams are 3-3, and the Jets own tiebreakers against Buffalo and Miami.
One by one, players took turns dubbing yesterday's performance "New York Jets football" -- the type of total team effort that can be displayed on any given Sunday as long as they execute.
And Chaz Schilens made no secret that he and his teammates are aware of the media's criticisms. "We have ups and downs like every other team," said the wide receiver, who had two catches for 23 yards. "Last time I checked, the Green Bay Packers [were] 2-3. No one calls them a terrible team."
Schilens said the Jets don't listen to every negative word that's said about them, "but we get the vibe.''
"We [were a] 2-3 football team and you guys try to tell us maybe we shouldn't even show up for the game or we'll be outclassed or that we're not a good football team," Schilens said before highlighting the slew of injuries that have decimated the team.
"When we get to full strength and we get clicking on all cylinders with the parts we have right now, it's not going to be funny. Especially for other teams."
Greene's breakout performance helped to restore faith in a ground game that had been dormant for much of the season. The Jets were averaging only 83 rushing yards a game, but Greene eclipsed that mark with 91 by halftime.
"I believe every season that we can accomplish things like this offensively," said Greene, whose 161 rushing yards were the most by a Jet since his former mentor, Thomas Jones, churned out 210 against Buffalo on Oct. 18, 2009.
"I think we can do it any week against any team. It's just a matter of us executing, not stopping ourselves and working hard during the week in preparation."
Rex Ryan and his staff couldn't have scripted a better all-around win. Much-maligned Mark Sanchez looked poised and in control throughout against the league's 19th-ranked defense. He threw for only 82 yards (11-for-18) but passed for two touchdowns and, best of all, had no interceptions. Conversely, Andrew Luck looked every bit the rookie. The No. 1 overall pick threw for 280 yards (22-for-44) but no touchdowns, had two interceptions and was sacked four times.
While the Colts' offense sputtered, the Jets churned out 358 yards and five touchdowns, converting all five red-zone opportunities. After losses to the 49ers and Texans, Ryan said, "We needed it. There's no doubt."
After being a non-factor for weeks, Greene's explosion quieted questions about his running ability. It was his first 100-yard game since Week 14 last year against the Chiefs, and he nearly tripled his combined yardage total from the past two weeks (60). But the reticent Greene gave credit to his linemen. Tackle Austin Howard said that after a solid week of practice, the unit felt more confident and "went out there with a little bit more swagger."
"It's one game," guard Brandon Moore said, "but it feels good to know that if you do the things necessary, you're capable of doing it. You've heard people tell you you're capable of doing it, you felt like you are, but it hadn't really panned out for you. It's good to finally see those things you hear the coaches say that you believe in come to fruition."