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Sunday, September 30, 2012
Jets' defense can't stop the run

By Matt Ehalt

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The Jets knew what was coming.

Play after play, the 49ers ran the ball, daring the Jets to stop them, to offer resistance.

But the Jets couldn't do it.

The Jets allowed 245 rushing yards in Sunday's 34-0 loss, the most they've ever allowed under Rex Ryan. The 49ers averaged 5.6 yards per carry and garnered 16 first downs on their 44 rushing attempts in the game. Frank Gore led the way with 62 yards on 21 carries.

"It's embarrassing. We need to look at ourselves. We need to be questioning a lot of things right now," Jets linebacker Aaron Maybin said. "For a team to come in and establish the run like that, and not only literally run the clock out but control the tempo of the game. ... We need to find a way to get off the field."

The Jets entered the game allowing 148.7 yards per game on the ground, getting thrashed particularly by the Bills and the Dolphins. Being stout against the run has been a hallmark of a defense led by Ryan, but this year's team has struggled stopping it. Sunday proved to be no different.

The 49ers are a run-first team and they showcased that Sunday as they used the run to set up the pass. Whether they were using Gore, or backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick in read-option plays, the 49ers did what they wanted and the Jets were left searching for answers.

San Francisco had drives where it ran the ball seemingly every play and yet still the Jets couldn't get a stop. In the third quarter the 49ers ran four straight times starting at the 11-yard line, including on 4th-and-1. They would eventually punch it in to make the score 17-0.

On San Francisco's first drive of the fourth quarter, it ran the ball seven times to move from its own 32-yard line to the Jets' 31 before finally throwing. All three of the 49ers' offensive touchdowns came on runs, including a seven-yard scamper by Kaepernick for the game's opening score, and short runs by Gore and Kendall Hunter, who had the final touchdowns.

"I've never given up so many rushing yards in my life," Ryan said. "What can we do to help? We just can't say it's poor tackling and this and that. There must be something to it, so we're going to find out. clearly we're not going to beat anybody when we play like we did today."

While the Jets didn't get torched in the passing game, their inability to win the battle in the trenches on defense proved to be one of the deciding aspects of Sunday's game. Cornerback Kyle Wilson knows the success for the team moving forward will hinge on finding a way to stop the run.

"Once we stop the run, that tailors to our defense, as far as making him throw the ball," Wilson said. "Again, we just have to watch film and get some things correct. Overall, just play our technique and our defense will be fine."