Jets running backs power ‘magical’ go-ahead drive vs. Bills
No one said it better than veteran left guard Laken Tomlinson after the Jets’ stunning 20-17 upset of the Bills on Sunday at MetLife Stadium.
“The way we took over that fourth quarter,’’ Tomlinson told The Post, “was magical.’’
The Jets positively wrested control of the game with a drive that — should they reach the playoffs for the first time since 2010 — they’ll be talking about in January.
They took possession of the ball at their own 4-yard line with 7:53 remaining in a 17-17 game and marched — doing it with a running game that the Buffalo defense couldn’t stop. Using newcomer running back James Robinson, playing in his second game with the team, and Michael Carter, the Jets ran the ball on the first eight plays of the drive for 73 yards. Robinson had 37 of those yards and Carter 36.
The Jets didn’t throw the ball on that series until Zach Wilson connected with Denzel Mims for 12 yards to the Buffalo 6-yard line on a third-and-5 play.
“They couldn’t stop it,’’ Tomlinson said of the run. “I think there was a period where I pulled like three times in a row and I was like, ‘Yeah, if it keeps working, let’s keep doing it.’ ’’
The decadent drive began with a key 9-yard run by Robinson that got them out of the shadow of their own goal line. Robinson, who finished with 48 yards on 13 carries and scored a touchdown on a screen pass, would add a 16-yard run after that which was followed on the next play by a 17-yard run by Carter, who finished with 76 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries.
“It’s a great feeling when you impose your will on an opponent like that and those running backs were hitting it downhill,’’ Tomlinson said.
“That’s one of the best feeling in football when you can just move the ball like that keeping the ball on the ground and feeling like you’re willing yourself down the field,’’ tight end Tyler Conklin said.
“Showing up with the run game there on that last drive, just pounding those guys all the way down the field was huge,’’ Wilson said.
“It was devastating, man, because it took like seven minutes off the clock,’’ Carter said. “It was an important drive to our season so far.’’
Left tackle Duane Brown called the series “an O-lineman’s dream,’’ adding, “To have eight minutes on the clock, starting on your own 5-yard line in a tie game and running the ball, eating up the clock when they knew we wanted to run the ball, there’s nothing like it.’’
Jets head coach Robert Saleh, who’s been on the wrong end of a drive like that, said, “From a defensive standpoint, it sucks, I can tell you that much. I’ve always said I’d rather have someone throw for 400, 500 yards than run for 200 or 300 yards. When you line up and are throwing your best punch and you’re still being leaned on for 5 yards a pop, that’s miserable.
“Credit to our offense. Credit to Mike [LaFleur, offensive coordinator,] to stick with it. We always challenge our O-line to make it so demonstrative that the coordinator has to call a run play. I thought the push, our backs were seeing it really well. We were breaking tackles. Our receivers were blocking. Just a really well-executed drive from everyone on offense.“Imposing our will on them [in the fourth quarter, I couldn’t be more proud of the fight, Just the absolute grind and strain to finish 60 minutes.’’