Jets wary of Colts pass-rushers

January, 21, 2010
1/21/10
12:27
PM ET
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- As if the New York Jets needed another reason to prefer running over passing.

The Jets own the NFL's most prolific run offense and enter a wobbly realm when rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez must throw. The Indianapolis Colts, meanwhile, have the league's 24th-ranked run defense.

Freeney
Mathis
It's quite obvious what the Jets plan to do Sunday in the AFC Championship Game.

Jets right tackle Damien Woody mentioned another reason they need to establish the run: Take "the sting" out of Colts defensive ends Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis.

Woody will match up against Mathis, who didn't play when the Jets beat the Colts in Week 16.

"We didn't see Mathis," Woody said. "He's a heck of a player. They have the two best bookends in the National Football League. Those guys get to the quarterback well.

"Our running game's going to be even more prevalent this week to take the sting out of those guys as far as rushing the passer. We're going to have to get physical because those guys really get up the field."

If the Jets run well enough that Sanchez doesn't have to drop back, they generally win. In their past seven victories, he hasn't completed more than 13 passes.

Mathis recorded 9.5 sacks in 14 games. Freeney also missed two games but finished with 14.5 sacks, second only to Denver Broncos outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil in the AFC.

Handing off to Shonn Greene and Thomas Jones to keep Sanchez out of the crosshairs never looked like a better strategy for the Jets.

"We feel like we can do it against anybody," Woody said. "The numbers speak for themselves. We've been running the ball all year long.

"We're consistent and we stick to it. We're going to run the ball the same way in the first quarter that we do in the fourth quarter. Our team knows that you might stop us for the first quarter, but we're going to keep coming at you the whole game."

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