But Jets center Nick Mangold sensed the game had begun to shift.
"I got a little sniff in the second quarter," Mangold said after the Jets' 17-14 victory in Qualcomm Stadium. "Some things were starting to hit. Then that middle to the end of the third quarter you could feel it. You knew things were going to start turning."
The Jets own the NFL's best rushing offense, but you wouldn't know it early. They ran 13 times for 47 yards in the first half. Starting back Thomas Jones had four carries for 12 yards.
But the Jets kept whacking away.
"You don't go up to a tree with an axe, swing three times and say 'Why isn't it falling?'" Mangold said. "You know what you gotta do to get it to fall. We know that it takes a huge effort. We finally got it to fall."
Shonn Greene was the lumberjack. The Jets couldn't get on the scoreboard in the first half, but the rookie generated some momentum on one drive midway through the second quarter. He carried six times for 33 yards and caught a pass for 4 yards.
Greene's energy carried over into the second half. Behind a line with three Pro Bowlers -- Mangold, left guard Alan Faneca and left tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson -- Greene ran nine times for 93 yards, including a 53-yard touchdown run that provided the winning points.
In two playoff games, Greene has rushed for 263 yards. That leads the entire postseason and second only to Dallas Cowboys running back Duane Thomas in 1970 for the most rushing yards in a rookie's first two playoff games.
"We knew it was going to be an uphill battle in the run game," right tackle Damien Woody said. "But we're committed to the run game.