Film review: Now this is Ground & Pound

October, 16, 2012
10/16/12
1:19
PM ET
One final look back at the Jets' 35-9 win over the Colts:

This was the epitome of Ground & Pound. After breaking down a tape of the game, a few things jumped out: The Jets battered the Colts by pounding the rock up the middle, many times with basic power plays from their gap-scheme rushing attack. In other words, you often saw a guard -- Brandon Moore or Matt Slauson/Vladimir Ducasse -- pulling into an inside gap, leading the way.

By my count, the Jets ran up the middle for 153 of their 252 yards, including Joe McKnight's 61-yard run. (He broke a tackle in the backfield and ran behind a block by C Nick Mangold before breaking it to the outside.) Only 52 yards came outside the tackle box. A breakdown:

Left end: 5 carries for 27 yards.

Left tackle: 4 for 22 yards, 1 TD

Middle: 22 for 153 yards, 2 TD

Right tackle: 8 for 26 yards.

Right end: 2 for 24 yards.

The best play might have been Shonn Greene's 21-yard run in the first quarter -- his longest run in 126 carries to that point. The Jets ran a power play, with Moore pulling left and delivering a great block on LB Jerrell Freeman. Slauson moved out the nose tackle. LT D'Brickashaw Ferguson and TE Konrad Reuland had nice seal blocks, opening a gaping hole for Greene. It was textbook stuff.

THE UNSUNG HEROES: On Monday, Rex Ryan praised the tight ends -- Dustin Keller and Jeff Cumberland -- for exceptional run blocking. You can also throw Jason Smith, the jumbo TE, into that group, too. They all were critical factors in the 252-yard rushing effort. In multiple-TE packages, the Jets ran 26 times for 126 yards -- a 4.8 average. And that doesn't include McKnight's long run, which came out of a 3 WR package.

TONY TIME: OC Tony Sparano did a nice job of mixing his personnel groupings, keeping the Colts offbalance. Most of the damage was done with the Colts' base defense on the field, and that made sense. Going into the game, the Colts had been allowing 5.1 yards per carry out of their base, worst in the league for a 3-4 team, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

Here's a closer look at how Sparano mixed the packages:

2 RB/1 TE/2 WR -- 9 carries for 35 yards

1 RB/3 TE/1 WR -- 9 carries for 33 yards

1 RB/2 TE/2 WR -- 8 carries for 55 yards

2 RB/2 TE/1 WR -- 7 carries for 35 yards, 2 TD

1 WR/1 TE/3 WR -- 6 carries for 70 yards

2 RB/3 TE/0 WR -- 1 carry for 2 yards, 1 TD

0 RB/1 TE/4 WR -- 1 carry for 3 yards

1 RB/4 TE/0 WR -- 1 carry for 1 yard

A RUNNING WRINKLE: This was an interesting look. On three plays, the Jets lined up in a full house backfield -- one RB, one FB and a TE. On those plays, they ran three times for 12 yards. On one play, they lined up with 2 TEs in the backfield, but motioned out of it. Another time, they had Jason Smith standing up as a TE, leading a key block into a hole. Yep, Sparano loves his tight ends.

GO GREENE: The blocking was terrific, but let's not forget about the man of the hour, Greene, who enjoyed a career day. Before the game, he had been averaging only 1.4 yards per carry after initial contact, per ESPN Stats, but that total should increase. By my count, he broke at least six tackles in this game, gaining no fewer than 63 yards after initial contact. He ran like a man tired of hearing people question his ability.

THE TEBOW PACKAGE: For a change, the Jets actually seemed to have a plan for Tim Tebow. His completion on the fake punt got most of the headlines, but another effective play came on a third-and-1 from the Colts' 8. Coming out of a timeout, the Jets did a nice job of disguising their intentions, sending Tebow into the game after they broke the sideline huddle. That may have caused some indecision for the Colts.

The Jets emptied the backfield, leaving Tebow in shotgun. They double teamed DTs Antonio Johnson and Drake Nevis, opening a hole for Tebow to pick up the first down.

LET'S NOT FORGET THE DEFENSE: This was easily the best defensive performance of the season. The most encouraging aspect was the improved pass rush; the Jets had four sacks after recording only five in the first five games. Muhammad Wilkerson, Quinton Coples and Aaron Maybin played their best games.

Maybin was a factor on two key plays: He pressured Andrew Luck on his first interception and he may have saved a TD by hitting Luck on a fourth-quarter pass to a wide-open Reggie Wayne. Wayne beat CB Antonio Cromartie badly on a double move -- it should've been a 29-yard TD -- but Luck overthrew him, probably because Maybin was bearing down on him. Maybin, who cost Cromartie a pick-six earlier because of a penalty on the interception, paid him back by saving his butt.

The Jets didn't use a lot of extra pressure, but it was effective when they dialed it up. Luck was held to 5-for-13 for 85 yards, 1 INT when facing 5+ pass rushers, according to ESPN Stats.

Rich Cimini

ESPN New York Jets reporter

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