The Jets became the No. 1 rushing offense in the NFL (184.9 ypg) after a 316-yard performance in the 38-0 triumph over the Raiders Sunday afternoon. And the Green & White's leading rusher was a guy that had only seven carries in his pro career prior to Sunday.
''The offensive line made it easy," said rookie RB Shonn Greene, who had 19 carries for 144 yards and two touchdowns. "They did a great job. I just followed them the whole way."
Greene scored his first career TD, capping off a 10-play, 93-yard drive, the Jets' longest touchdown drive since they marched 93 yards on nine plays against the Giants in 2007. The 316 total rushing yards on the day made Week 6 and Week 7 historically significant consecutive games – it was the first time an NFL team had rushed for over 300 yards in back-to-back games since the 1975 Buffalo Bills.
But it was tough for several players to celebrate knowing No. 29 wouldn't be joining them on the plane ride home. Leon Washington went out with a broken fibula on his only carry of the day, a 6-yarder a little more than five minutes into the game, and was required to stay in California along with Dr. Ken Montgomery to undergo surgery.
"I think a lot of the team is kind of devastated, I know I am devastated by it," said RB Thomas Jones. "It's one of my best friends. He's a great teammate, great person. Honestly, from the time he got hurt to the end of the game, every couple plays I was thinking of him."
Washington was unable to put any pressure on his leg after the injury and was helped to the sideline by the Jets' training staff, then carted off the field as Jets Nation crossed their fingers and held their breath.
Considering the implications, Jones tried to identify with his fellow running mate's circumstances.
"You lay it on the line every play, every game. The risk of injury is high," he said. "I hate it for Leon. Honestly, I haven't really been able to stop thinking about it. I know he just had another baby so my prayers are going out to his family."
QB Mark Sanchez, who had a 3-yard TD run in the first quarter, felt for the guy who also sometimes lines behind center in the "Seminole" formation.
"That hurts because he's a great guy and a good person but an unbelievable player and we're going to miss him big-time," Sanchez said. "We have to keep plugging and that's what he would tell us to do."
It took only the game's first 2:06 for Jones to rush for his only TD, the 1-yarder down the middle after the Jets' defense recovered a fumble to give the offense a very short field. The FedEx Ground Player of the Week for his 210-yard performance against Buffalo followed that up with 26 carries for 121 yards on the day by the Bay.
He gave credit where credit was due, to the O-line that started its 23rd consecutive game together as a unit.
"Our offensive line did a great job today. They were coming off the ball, blocking to open up holes, and blocking linebackers," Jones said. "It was a total team effort. The coaches stuck with the run and they put us in a great position to be successful."
The Jets continued to pound the ball and several players put their names on the stat sheet. Danny Woodhead (three rushes for 24 yards) recorded his first NFL carries in the fourth quarter, and even punter Steve Weatherford rushed once on a 16-yard fake punt up the middle at the end of the first quarter, his second successful run on a fake punt in three games.
Greene capped the day with a 33-yard burst through the middle of the Silver & Black defense for the final TD of the game to make the score 38-0.
"When he gets touches, the few touches that he's had in the past he's had long runs," said G Brandon Moore. "He looked great in training camp and for him, with Leon down for a little bit now, he looks good. He's hitting the holes, he's learning from T.J. and he's hitting them hard, and I'm happy for him getting his first 100-yard game."
"When we took the young man, it was really how we visualized our team," said head coach Rex Ryan, "that we would ground and pound it and let this young kid hit you when you are on your heels a little bit in the fourth quarter."
That's how all four quarters played out Sunday against the Raiders.
"I knew what I was capable of,"' said Greene. "People have their doubts and things like that but I know what I'm capable of and I know what I can do. I will always have that trust in myself that I can get the job done."