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Sunday, October 23, 2011
Jets 'Ground and Pound' their way to win

By Mike Mazzeo

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- “Ground and Pound” is back.

The Jets ran for a season-high 162 yards on 31 carries -- or 5.2 yards per carry -- in their 27-21 victory over the Chargers on Sunday afternoon.

“It was tough. They were hard-fought yards,” Mark Sanchez said.

Shonn Greene had 112 of them on 20 carries for the fifth 100-yard rushing performance of his career (including postseason). The last time he ran for 100 yards was at Buffalo on Oct. 3, 2010.

“The offensive line did a great job. The wide receivers blocked downfield, and John Conner opened up some big holes,” said Greene, who came into the game averaging just 3.4 yards per carry.

As a team, the Jets doubled their usual rushing output per game and then some. They came into Sunday’s action ranked 31st in the NFL in rushing yards per game (80.8). But they wanted to stay committed to running the ball against San Diego -- and that’s exactly what they did.

On their second offensive series, Greene was sprung loose on a trap play up the middle by Brandon Moore and Matt Mulligan. The run went for 24 yards -- the Jets’ longest of the afternoon.

“Shonn Greene was punishing second-level defenders,” Sanchez said. “You can tell when our running game’s really rolling when I’ve got to run and chase Shonn down after plays.”

Nick Mangold is considered an All-Pro center, but he didn’t play like one on Sunday afternoon, committing three penalties -- the first of which, a holding call, negated a touchdown reception by Santonio Holmes.

“We shot ourselves in the foot. We were moving the ball pretty well, but we can’t have penalties, and that falls on me,” Mangold said. “You gotta keep fighting through it.”

Mangold has been dealing with a persisting high right ankle sprain, but wouldn’t use that as an excuse for his penalty-riddled performance.
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“It doesn’t matter what I am (injured or not),” Mangold said. “I can’t put the refs in a position to make that decision. It’s just bad football.