For the second straight week, I offer a potpourri of excerpts from New York-New Jersey sportswriters about Jets rookie Shonn Greene of Iowa.
The New York Jets rookie had 23 carries for 128 yards, including a fourth-quarter 53-yard touchdown run, in the Jets’ 17-14 AFC playoff win over the San Diego Chargers.
That’s 44 rushes for 263 yards (6.0 yards per carry) in the postseason, the second-best yardage total ever by a rookie through two playoff games.
From Mike Lupica of the New York Daily News:
Shonn Greene broke a tackle and broke into the clear and once he did, this was for all the Sundays when the Jets came up short, when some heartbreaking thing went against them, at this time of year in football or any time of year. Greene ran away from the Chargers the way he had run away from the Bengals last week, and maybe it really is destiny hot-wiring the Jets now, maybe they have caught one of those waves you catch in sports sometimes, because when Greene crossed the goal line in San Diego, before the extra point, the score was 16-7. The final against the Colts in Super Bowl III. Namath’s score.
From Mark Hale of the New York Post:
“It doesn’t matter if I’m a rookie or not,” said Greene, the first-year star from Iowa.
“We’re in the postseason, and I’ve got a job to do, and that’s help the team out.”
Help the team out? Fair to say he’s doing that.
With his 263 rushing yards through two playoff games, Greene has the second-best total ever through two games by a rookie.
The only better effort was Duane Thomas of the Cowboys back in 1970. He ran for 278.
Pretty impressive roll by Greene, considering the importance of these games.
For the 5-11, 230-pound Greene, he might have earned himself a nickname from Rex Ryan.
“That’s a big rascal right there,” his coach said. “Once he starts getting to that second level, it’s a long day.”
And a winning one for the Jets.
From Manish Mehta of the Newark Star-Ledger:
When he arrived at his destination, Shonn Greene put his left hand to his ear in celebration.
He heard silence.
Greene’s 53-yard touchdown run was the back breaker in the Jets’ 17-14 win over the Chargers that propelled a team many didn’t believe belonged among the league’s elite into next week’s AFC Championship Game. The rookie running back rumbled for 93 of his game-high 128 yards in the second half to continue his magical postseason ride.
“He’s got fresh legs,” right guard Brandon Moore said. “He’s determined. He doesn’t play like a rookie. He knows what his role is. He’s been a huge asset for us.”
He broke the Chargers’ spirit with the gallop that featured him running right over safety Eric Weddle en route to pay dirt and a new team mark. For the second week in a row, Greene provided the signature moment of the game by bowling over an unsuspecting safety.
“Once I got to the second level, I just had to make the safety miss,” Greene said. “I did that. From there, it was all green grass. When you see the green grass in the end zone, it feels like you’re in a dream.”
On a day when workhorse Thomas Jones gained just 41 yards, Greene left little doubt that the Jets have a new No. 1 running back in town. So when he scored early in the fourth quarter to give the Jets a 17-7 lead, he channeled his inner LaDainian Tomlinson by imitating the Charger running back’s trademarked end zone celebration.
“Just having fun,” Greene said with a laugh. “He didn’t get to do it, so I did it for him.”
From Ian O’Connor of the Bergen Record:
“Shonn wasn’t even active at the start of the season,” general manager Mike Tannenbaum said on his walk to the bus. “He had some things he had to improve on, like pass protection, and he worked on them.”
Tannenbaum had Greene rated as the 19th best player in the draft. He loved what he saw on Greene’s film against Penn State, but didn’t want to move up 11 third-round slots to get him — not after moving up 12 first-round slots to get Mark Sanchez, the quarterback who now has as many postseason victories as Joe Namath had in his career.
“I absolutely didn’t want to do it,” the GM said.
His chief draft advisers, Joey Clinkscales and Terry Bradway, forced him to do it.
“And I’m so glad they did,” Tannenbaum said.