Commentary

Greene, O-line come up big vs. Redskins

The running back scored three touchdowns, while the linemen did not allow a sack

Updated: December 5, 2011, 12:21 AM ET
By Jane McManus | ESPNNewYork.com

LANDOVER, Md. -- New York Jets running back Shonn Greene has been solid, but not stellar, this season. A "B" student -- until the fourth quarter of another must-win game against the Washington Redskins, when Greene scored two of his three touchdowns as the Jets prevailed 34-19.

"In that fourth quarter, that's where the money is," Greene said. "That's when we've got to win the game. So we focus in and we execute."

Shonn Greene
Howard Smith/US PresswireShonn Greene found the end zone three times on Sunday against the Redskins.

The game was tied going into the final quarter, but Greene's timely emergence -- combined with another strong performance from the offensive line -- puts the team at 7-5 and still in the hunt for a wild-card berth.

Are the Jets a realistic postseason threat?

"Absolutely," said Greene, who had 88 rushing yards on 22 carries and caught three passes for 26 yards.

Coach Rex Ryan pointed out early in his postgame news conference that the offensive line -- a frequent target of critics all season long -- did not allow a sack against a defense that was second in the league in sacks with 33.

"To hold a team at 30-plus sacks on the season, [Brian] Orakpo and [Ryan] Kerrigan and [Barry] Cofield, it's a good sign for us as a line and the quarterback helping us out a lot," right guard Brandon Moore said.

Wayne Hunter, the newest member of the line at right tackle, has taken a lot of heat for giving up sacks as he got accustomed to being a starter. He said it was gratifying to have two straight games in which the Jets haven't given up a single sack. "Especially back-to-back games," Hunter said. "I think there's a lot of confidence in the offensive linemen, and it's nice to hear that the big man thinks that way."

The big man, Ryan, was not so pleased with Greene's final touchdown, a 25-yard run with 1:47 left on the clock. Ryan thought he should have taken a knee short of the end zone so the team could shave more time off the clock.

Greene said later that he could saw his coach's point. "There have been times when players got hurt on the last plays," Greene said. "But I was just running."

Ryan can instill those habits starting Wednesday, since he has given the players Monday off after the victory. The Jets will host the Kansas City Chiefs next Sunday at MetLife Stadium. And they're going in on a high note.

"We were saying to ourselves that we have to pick it up at that point," running back LaDainian Tomlinson said. "Offensive line did a great job all game long. No sacks, that's huge, for the pass rush that those guys have Mark's back hanging in there, hanging tough, making some tough throws. Shonn Greene, three touchdowns today. I mean what a great performance from everybody."

"I think collectively as a team this is one of the best games we've had," Greene said. "Just sticking together and grinding it out."

Jane McManus has covered New York sports since 1998 and began covering football just before Brett Favre's stint with the Jets. Her work has appeared in Newsday, USA Today, The Journal News and The New York Times. Follow Jane on Twitter.

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