Jets get vintage outing from Tomlinson
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Once LaDainian Tomlinson — remember him? — got going, he and the New York Jets had the Buffalo Bills on the run.
Showing at 31 that he’s still got much of that old “LT’’ spark in him, Tomlinson scored twice, broke the 100-yard rushing mark for the first time in nearly two seasons, and passed Tony Dorsett for seventh on the NFL’s all-time rushing list. That was more than enough in a 38-14 rout of the winless Bills yesterday.
And suddenly, there’s no need to question Tomlinson if he’s too old or was, perhaps, washed up after the Chargers cut him this past offseason.
“I know what age I am. It doesn’t mean I can’t play,’’ Tomlinson said. “I never lost confidence. I always knew I could do it. It was just about having an opportunity.’’
That opportunity came courtesy of Jets coach Rex Ryan, whom Tomlinson credited for having confidence in him.
“You want to run through a brick wall for him,’’ Tomlinson said.
The Bills’ banged-up and porous run defense won’t be mistaken for a brick wall, but it’ll do.
Tomlinson and the Jets (3-1) had 273 yards rushing, while tight end Dustin Keller scored twice in New York’s third straight win, all against AFC East rivals.
The Jets blew the game open by scoring three times in a span of 3:29 on their first three possessions of the third quarter. The surge began with Keller scoring two TDs 1:33 apart to put the Jets up, 31-7, with 4:36 left. Tomlinson then put it away 1:56 later on a 26-yard TD run, to go with his 1-yard TD plunge to open the game.
He finished with 133 yards rushing, the 47th 100-yard game of his 10-year career — and first since he had 105 for San Diego on Oct. 26, 2008.
The Bills, meantime, are 0-4 and playing well below even their own modest expectations. The defense allowed 444 yards, a week after allowing 445 — including 200 yards rushing — in a 38-30 loss to the Patriots. Add in a 34-7 loss at Green Bay two weeks ago, and Buffalo’s allowed 30 or more points in three straight games for the first time since 2000.
The offense proved equally inept under Ryan Fitzpatrick, who made his second straight start, and first a week after the team cut former No. 1 quarterback Trent Edwards. Buffalo had 223 total yards — or 50 fewer than the Jets had rushing. Fitzpatrick finished with a team-best 74 yards rushing.
“We were a bad football team,’’ first-year coach Chan Gailey said. “You play that way, you’re not going to win. You’re not going to look decent in this league. Today, we were awful.’’
Buffalo was so awful it failed to register a first down on eight of 13 drives, and went 0 for 10 on third down.