In last week’s loss to the 49ers, running back Thomas Jones (ten carries, 56 yards) scampered 17 yards into the endzone to give him a career-high 14 touchdowns (12 rushing, two receiving) on the season. The touchdown not only knotted the game 17-17 late in the third quarter, but it put him into the franchise record books. With 12 rushing touchdowns, Jones tied Curtis Martin’s (12 in 2004) single-season record as a Jet while his 14 total touchdowns placed him into a five-way tie for the franchise’s single-season record. Art Powell (1960), Don Maynard (1965), Emerson Boozer (1972) and Martin (2004) were the others to reach the endzone as many times as Jones in one season.
For a running back that took criticism for reaching the endzone just twice last season, Jones has been a force this season. With an AFC-leading 1144 rushing yards (4.7), Jones has been as important to the Jets as any other player on the roster. His bruising running style has paired perfectly with the electric Leon Washington and his 30 receptions have displayed his effectiveness in the Jets’ short passing attack. If there’s a more underrated running back in the NFL, I would like to know. Jones’ numbers dating back to the start of the 2005 season speak volumes.
These are the NFL rushing leaders dating back to the start of the 2005 season:
1. LaDainian Tomlinson (SD)- 1,244 attempts, 5,636 yards (4.5 avg.)
2. Thomas Jones (CHI, NYJ)- 1,163 attempts, 4808 yards (4.1 avg.)
3. Larry Johnson (KC)- 1,064 attempts, 4,791 yards (4.5 avg.)
4. Willie Parker (PIT)- 1,067 attempts, 4609 yards (4.3 avg.)
5. Clinton Portis (WAS)- 1,070 attempts, 4561 yards (4.3 avg.)
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