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Pound for Pound, a 'Committed' Ground Game


For a member of the Bengals defensive front it had to be a little deflating watching the video of Sunday's 37-0 loss to the Jets as they prepare for their upcoming wild card matchup this Saturday.

The Green & White duplicated another ground-pounding attack as they have all season in rushing for 257 yards.

As a former defensive tackle at Illinois, Jets right guard Brandon Moore has an idea of what the Stripes' D might have been going through on Sunday.

"You feel like you can't get off blocks. You're not breaking tackles, and people are running all over you," said Moore. "It kind of demoralizes you a little bit."

On one scoring drive early in the game the combination of Thomas Jones, Shonn Greene, Brad Smith and the O-line rushed 15 times for 68 yards on a 21-play, 74-yard drive that was capped by a 20-yard Jay Feely field goal.

With the lead, head coach Rex Ryan and offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer continued to run the ball.

"I honestly thought going into it that the strength of our team was in our offensive line and our running game," Ryan said. "I don't know if I thought we would average 170 yards a game, but I did think we could run it. Our guys certainly haven't disappointed us."

At the last regular-season game at the current Meadowlands stadium, the Jets set the franchise home record for a single game with 57 carries -– the second-most in franchise history, one less than in their 9-7 win at New England in 1973.

"We take a lot of pride running the ball," said Moore. "I remember Schotty said back when we first got back in April. He stood out in front of the offense and said, 'I want to be the No. 1 rushing team in the league.'

"I think I may have given him a little smirk because I didn't know if he meant it. He definitely committed to it and we committed to it also."

When the Jets can run the ball, it puts rookie QB Mark Sanchez into favorable situations not having to force anything downfield. He threw for only 63 yards on 8-for-16 passing Sunday but he did what he needed to do to get the W.

"We are who we are," said Moore. "We've been running the ball all year. Whether we have 60 yards or 500 yards passing, it's not really a big deal for us as a team. He's been able to manage the game and play turnover free."

Smith got some snaps at QB in last Sunday's contest adding a different look for opposing defenses to try and stop.

"With a guy like Brad Smith in the game, it keeps the defense off-balance," said Jones. "They're not sure of what he's going to do. It helps us as an offense and as a team."

The backs are seeing defensive fronts that they've never seen before this season as teams have stacked eight, nine and even 10 defenders in the box. But that hasn't changed their game plan much.

"We've seen pretty much every defense you could see," said Jones. "For the most part, when you have a rookie quarterback teams are going to load the box, they're going to make you beat them on the ground."

That's why the players are in the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center nearly every day in preparation.

"We know what's ahead of us every time we go out there," said Jones. "We spend a lot of extra time watching film and a lot of time in the weightroom, everything we can do to be physically ready, because we know it's going to be a physical game and we're going to get hit. "

Cincinnati has been described by several Jets as a very physical team, but to stop the running game, the Bengals will have to do things differently than they did Week 17.

"I'm not sure what we'll see," said Jones. "We obviously just played them a couple of days ago, so I don't think either team is going to really change too much from what we've been doing the whole year. It's obviously been working for us.

"Whatever they do, we'll just have to make adjustments if it's something different that we didn't see the other day, we're ready to do that."

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