Jets’ running game comes alive without Le’Veon Bell

Without their $52.5 million running back, the Jets had one of their most productive rushing games of the year.

Le’Veon Bell got the flu and was ruled out late Saturday, but Bilal Powell and Ty Montgomery stepped up to shoulder the load Sunday in the Jets’ 22-21 win over the Dolphins.

Powell’s 74 rushing yards (on 19 carries) were the most by any Jets running back this year. He and Montgomery (nine carries for 31 yards), plus Robby Anderson and Sam Darnold combined to rush for 112 yards, just shy of the Jets’ season-high of 115 against the Redskins.

“I thought Bilal and Ty did a hell of a job,” coach Adam Gase said. “We weren’t really sure when Le’Veon got sick how bad it was, so we were just circling through our normal deal thinking that Le’Veon was going to make the game. He was ruled out because he was told he can’t be over here because he has the flu.”

Bell, who took most of the practice reps on Wednesday before not practicing Thursday or Friday, rushed for 66 yards on 17 carries against the Dolphins in Week 9, a 26-18 loss in Miami. He has been active in the passing game, but is still searching for his first 100-yard rushing game of the season.

“We looked at some of the run schemes we were doing and how we were calling it throughout the game,” Gase said. “I felt like we had a good day of practice in the run game on Wednesday where I felt like [Bell] was going to be alright with what we were doing.”

But Bell didn’t get a chance to show it Sunday. Instead, Powell had success with his straight-ahead running style — different from Bell’s patient approach — as he plowed ahead into piles all day.

“Obviously we missed Le’Veon, he is obviously one of the best in the league, if not the best, so obviously you are going to miss something there,” Sam Darnold said, “but Ty and [Powell] stepped up in a huge way today and it was really awesome to see them do that.”

Powell, who passed Bill Mathis for eighth on the franchise’s all-time rushing list (now with 3,645 yards), left the game late with an ankle injury and may not have been able to return had the game gone longer, Gase said.

“[Powell and Montgomery] ran hard,” Darnold said. “Our O-line did a great job too, tight ends blocking, receivers blocking. As a group today our run game was amazing.”

For more on the Jets, listen to the latest episode of the “Gang’s All Here” podcast:

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