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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Tomlinson Motivates Shutout (Hustling Backwards)

LaDanian Tomlinson has been a revelation this season with the New York Jets. After his last two sub-par seasons with the San Diego Chargers which had many people questioning if this was the end of his run, he's found the fountain of youth (or a darn good HGH supplier) in Jersey, rushing for 490 yards and 5 TDs this season.

Greg Garber did an in-depth piece for ESPN titled "Lombardi Strikes ex-Bolt with Inspiration", examining Tomlinson's impact on the youthful NY Jets, and the platform they have put him on to reach his ultimate goal: a Super Bowl win. Much was made of his use of Vince Lombardi quotes to inspire the team, and motivate himself.

I read the piece, then watched the pre-game for the Green Bay Packers and NY Jets, where they showed Tomlinson giving a riveting pep talk to his team. The speech was passionate, riveting, right up there with the one Al Pacino gave his team during halftime of "Any Given Sunday". I was ready for some football!

And the, the Jets go out and lay their biggest egg of the season, getting shutout 9-0 at home coming off a bye week. They allowed the NFL's 23rd ranked rushing defense to 119 yards, and forced Mark Sanchez to remind folks of his rookie season performances with 2 INTs and a QB rating of 43.

Not going to place the blame of the poor performance of the offense entirely on LT's shoulders, given that he did run for 55 yards on 16 carries, and became just the sixth player to rush for over 13,000 yards in his first ten seasons. Still, with all the hype surrounding LT, it would have been nice for at least someone on the offensive side of the ball not to look so offensive.

Sanchez threw bad INTs. Tight end Dustin Keller allowed Charles Woodson to snatch the ball out of his hands for one of the picks. Wide receiver Santonio Holmes dropped some very catchable passes. Braylon Edwards was cutting patterns short and not coming back to the ball much like he did regularly with the Cleveland Browns. And Shonn Greene, the actual starter at running back continued to underwhelm, carrying 6 times for only 22 yards.

Not exactly what I expected after all the Lombardi talk.

"Mama said there will always be days like this," Tomlinson said after the game.

I'm sure Mama said a few other things that he relayed to his offensive mates behind closed doors.

("You betta not neva embarrass me like that in public again! Go get a switch!")

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