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Bilal Powell, Kahlil Bell Lead the Ground Game

Posted Aug 18, 2013

The hole created by the offensive line could have easily fit a car or maybe even a small truck, so you can imagine the ease with which 5’10”, 204-pound Bilal Powell maneuvered through it and into the second level of the defense.

Powell was eventually brought down after a 37-yard gain, helped out greatly by his linemen and some slippery moves of his own that allowed him to evade several would-be tacklers.

The play occurred with nine minutes remaining in the first quarter of our second preseason game and would prove to be the longest running play of the evening in the 37-13 win over the Jaguars at MetLife Stadium on Saturday night.

Veteran guard Willie Colon was impressed with the execution of the offensive line, especially when it came to clearing space for the ground game.

“That’s our goal every week,” Colon said, “Obviously, the run opens up the pass and we felt like we had a beat on them and we were able to execute.”

Powell did not see the field after the first half but finished with 68 yards on seven carries, good for 9.7 yards per touch.

Head coach Rex Ryan was satisfied with the efficiency of the running game, which totaled 176 yards rushing in four quarters of play, the most in a Jets preseason game since 2009.

“I like the way we ran the ball, there’s no doubt about it,” Ryan said, “and I liked our protection on offense.”

The Jets entered halftime with a three-point deficit as a Mark Sanchez scramble and throwaway as time expired in the second quarter prevented a tying field goal. The second-team offense, with Sanchez still at QB, took the field to start the third quarter trying to shift the momentum.

“I loved the way we came out in the second half with the twos and that temperament that we carried onto the field,” Ryan said. “They certainly were ready to play and they did a tremendous job.”

If Powell was the top first-half rusher, the recently signed Kahlil Bell did his best to upstage the third-year back when he got the call in the second half.

After we settled for a punt on the first possession of the second half, we forced a punt of our own and took the ball at midfield with just over 11 minutes remaining in the third quarter. Sanchez maneuvered the offense into Jacksonville territory, and soon it was up to Bell to finish the job.

After consecutive runs of 14 and 3 yards, the Jets had the ball on Jacksonville’s 5. The ball was once again tucked into the waiting arms of Bell, who punched it in.

“The first one was just a draw,” Bell said. “The coaches did a good job of game-planning and knowing the defense was going to run out so Mark pumped them real quick, gave me the ball and it was kind of wide open. I pretty much could pick where I wanted to go. We did a good job of getting a good push and finished that one off.”

On the next drive, Bell wasted no time in making sure this game would be one he’d remember.

After linebacker Danny Lansanah intercepted a Chad Henne pass, the Jets began the following drive deep in Jaguars territory.

Bell wiggled his way to the 1-yard line on a 4-yard rush and on his second attempt from the doorstep he was able to power in for his second score of the night — becoming the first Jet since Danny Woodhead in 2009 to score two TDs in one preseason game.

“It was just a regular lead, it was just right up the middle and we got a surge on the front side,” said Bell, who finished with 29 yards on 11 attempts. “I got hit at the line, bounced back weakside and tried to make some extra effort and I was lucky enough to get into the end zone.”
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