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Hot Houston Finish Sends Jones on to Pats


Thomas Jones has rushed for more than 100 yards 26 times in regular-season action, but you naturally wonder if his 107-yard outing last week against the Texans was his most difficult path to the century mark.

"I don't remember. I've played a lot of games," Jones told this week. "Honestly, once I've played a game, I'm on to the next one so I'm not sure."

At halftime in Houston, Jones had rushed five times for 1 yard. And after he scored his first touchdown of the year from a yard out, he had 10 attempts for 10 yards. But the Green & White wore the Texans down and T.J. popped a 38-yard TD run in the fourth to effectively end it and then added a 39-yarder to kill the clock.

"One of the things we're trying to do and we've done a good job of is the guys that are hot and the guys that are feeling good, we're trying to keep them active and in the mode," said offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer. "Leon got some carries early. Thomas got some carries late in the fourth quarter, and so we kept feeding him and he popped those two big runs. We're trying to do that, kind of keep an eye on and monitor who's really kind of in the zone, if you will."

The 31-year-old Jones wasn't the only member of his family who got in a second-half zone in Week 1. His younger brother, Julius Jones, a Seattle Seahawks running back, used a 62-yard third-quarter scoring run to help propel him to a 117-yard day in the 'Hawks' 28-0 shutout of the St. Louis Rams.

"I talked to him after his game. He had a great game. My dad sent me a text message with his stats and I didn't get them until we landed in New York," said Thomas. "But I was happy for him. I think he's poised to have a great year. He's had a lot of adversity that he's had to overcome at different times."

The two brothers, products of Big Stone Gap, Va., were raised in a tight-knit family of seven siblings led by Thomas and Betty Jones. And this past weekend, Thomas and Julius both rushed for more than 100 yards on the same day for just the fourth time and for the first time since Oct. 8, 2006.

"The odds of that happening are pretty crazy, for two brothers to have 100 yards in the same day," T.J. said. "We've done it before a couple of years ago when we both rushed for 1,000 yards in the same season. We were the first brothers to do that in the history of the league. We've had some success for a while in this league. For parents to have any two siblings in the same profession and the same position to be successful is a blessing."

The Jones brothers have never gone consecutive with their 100-yard tandem feats, but maybe they'll make it happen this weekend against divisional rivals. Thomas and the Jets will play host to the Patriots at the Meadowlands early in the day. Then when Thomas is exiting the stadium, J.J. and the 'Hawks will be in San Francisco attempting to get a leg up in the NFC West.

"They have some good guys over there," Thomas said of the Pats. "They had a lot of great veteran leadership and I think those guys follow suit and I think they'll be prepared to play. We look forward to the challenge. We have a new team here, too, with a new attitude and a new mindset to the team, and it's worked good so far. We've had a good week preparing and we'll see what happens on Sunday."

But while the Jets have made national headlines this week for some of their comments regarding their upcoming contest, T.J. said the road to the division title still goes through the defending champs.

"The team to beat in the division is the Dolphins," he said. "The Dolphins won the division last year, they're the defending champions in our division. This game is just as big as any game. All 16 games are huge in this league. It doesn't matter who you're playing because at the end of the season every game counts."

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