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Schilens, Powell Make Major Contributions

Posted Nov 19, 2012

The New York Jets hadn’t experienced a win in 35 days.

Their offense hadn’t produced a touchdown in their last 17 possessions, or specifically since the fourth quarter against Miami on Oct. 28.

But Sunday afternoon, at the Edward Jones Dome facing the St. Louis Rams, those statistics were erased.

The Jets picked up their first victory since Oct. 14 defeating the Rams, 27-13, in part behind strong performances from WR Chaz Schilens and RB Bilal Powell.

Schilens was the Jets’ top receiver in the contest finishing with four catches for 48 yards and his second-quarter touchdown reception. Powell, back at full form after suffering a concussion in the fourth quarter against Seattle a week ago, played his best game as a Jet. He scored his first two pro TDs on fourth-quarter draws and finished with 11 carries for 42 yards.

“It was a great call by Coach,” Powell said of his first career score, “well blocked by the offensive line. I was just excited to go celebrate with the fellas.”

That touchdown came with 14:16 left in the game when he rushed into the end zone from 5 yards out. His second TD came 5:45 later on an 11-yard run that increased the Jets’ lead to 27-7.

“He ran the ball well, great vision, reading blocks, guys getting out in front of him and giving him the chance to make moves in space,” quarterback Mark Sanchez, whose efficient passing and game management to lead the offense, said of Powell’s performance. “He did a great job in protection. I’m proud of his play and that’s great for him.”

For Schilens, his score with 4:31 left in the first half was uplifting for the Green & White, who had been trailing the whole game up to that point. They began the drive with excellent field position on the St. Louis 28 after Bart Scott ran 38 yards with a Sam Bradford fumble off of Muhammad Wilkerson's strip sack.

The first play, RB Shonn Greene picked up 3 yards. On second-and-7, Sanchez pump-faked a pass to TE Dustin Keller before hitting Schilens on a double move down the right side of the end zone for the 25-yard play, which gave the Jets a lead they would keep the rest of the way.

"It was a great play call by our coaches,” Schilens said. “They called it at the right time, we've been practicing it, and we executed it well. It's predicated on the corners being aggressive."

“The thing about Chaz is,” head coach Rex Ryan said, “everybody in the league knows the kind of competitor he is, the kind of blocker he is. He’s a big target so you’re thinking of him a lot of times on those short routes. But when he throws a double move in on you, that’s tough to defend because you’re thinking, 'I’ve got to be aggressive and challenge this guy underneath,' and then he throws a double move on you. He’s a big, fast guy and he’s very competitive. I was really happy for him making that big play. He does a lot of dirtywork and today he was able to make a huge play for us.”

The TD was the second for Schilens as a Jet, his first coming against Miami in Week 8. He also came up big on special teams at St. Louis, recording two tackles on kickoff coverage and drawing a holding penalty that nullified a 98-yard kickoff return touchdown by the Rams’ Chris Givens shortly before the half.

"It's just a little bit of a payoff, man,” No. 85 said. “I'll do anything to go out there and help us win."

After ending their three-game losing streak, the Jets now have a short week to prepare for their next opponent: the AFC East-leading New England Patriots. The Pats defeated the Green & White in overtime last month in Foxboro and this matchup will take place Thanksgiving night at MetLife Stadium. Nobody knows Thursday's outcome yet, but it certainly appears that if unsung heroes such as Schilens and Powell can continue rising to the occasion, more memorable things should happen for the Jets the remainder of the season.

"It's been tough sledding for us," Schilens said of the offense. "Things haven't always gone great. But today Bilal had a great game, Mark had a great game and so did a lot of other guys. We played well. I think all three phases played well."

“We needed to win,” Powell said, “and we came and got it and obviously we earned it.”

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