Shonn Greene could sit out for the entire second half of the Jets’ game against the Colts and have a few hero popsicles just like old times in Pop Warner. Maybe grandpa will also chuck in a slice of pizza, and then he’ll go home and play Mega Man. This is also known as my average Saturday night.
Of course, he’s not sitting out for the second half, because that just wouldn’t make any sense. No, none at all, especially after in the first half Greene was just three yards short of his season-high of 94 rushing yards in Week 1. Yep, three yards short of a season-high in two quarters, and with two early third quarter carries he’s now exceeded that mark with over 26 minutes of game clock left.
This is all so very remarkable, and also so very expected. So don’t think Greene is back, because I’m not sure exactly what he was coming back from.
He’s still a plodding volume runner who had an average at best pace of 65.9 yards per game last year, and throughout his 50 game appearances he’s averaged a still very average 4.1 yards per carry. What’s happening today is that Greene owners (all right of you) who saw a matchup to pounce on with Colts linebacker Pat Angerer and his 149 tackles last year still absent as he recovers from a broken foot are getting exactly what they foresaw. Right now it seems that any running back can gash a Colts defense that’s allowing 135.6 rushing yards per game, and can make even Shonn Greene look good.
But hey, progress, right? Right. For some perspective on how much Greene has exploded today, let’s look back on his first four weeks of nothingness (2.9 yards per carry) and exclude those 94 yards in the opener, which prior to today were very much an outlier compared to the routine awfulness of his other Sunday stuffings.
Once we do that, Green has then averaged just 30.1 yards per game on 2.7 per carry, and in the first quarter he had a 21-yard run. In three of his first five games his longest run was less than 10 yards, and in just today’s opening quarter he easily exceeded his per game rushing average excluding Week 1 with 49 yards, and he also added a touchdown for his first score in four weeks.
Enjoy it while it lasts, because much better run defenses (New England, Miami, Seattle) are on deck. For now, Greene is exactly what you thought he would be: a nice bye week fill-in, and an RB who by fluke might not totally suck for at least one week.