It took six games to materialize, but ground-and-pound football finally returned for the New York Jets.
As part of a 252-yard rushing attack, Shonn Greene ran for a career-high 161 yards and three touchdowns behind the Jets' best defensive effort of the season, dropping the Indianapolis Colts, 35-9, at MetLife Stadium.
"This is what we needed, this is a big win," said Greene. "Going into practice next week I think we'll have a lot confidence and be feeling good about ourselves."
New York's defense generated four turnovers and didn't allow a touchdown for the first time all season. With his starting job on the line, quarterback Mark Sanchez passed for 82 yards and two touchdowns on 11-of-18 efficiency, the first time he has completed over fifty percent of his passes since Week 1.
"We knew it was a big game for us," said Sanchez. "We just wanted to play well and have everything in practice happen for us on the field. It was a short week and guys really bounced back and played well today."
Stephen Hill and Jason Hill each caught touchdown passes for New York (3-3), which was able to stave off its first three-game losing streak at home since 2009.
Andrew Luck, who led an inspired Indianapolis team to a 30-27 comeback win over Green Bay last week, struggled on Sunday and could not produce a similar result. He completed 22-of-44 passes for 280 yards and threw two interceptions for the Colts (2-3), who lost their second road game of the season in blowout fashion.
Adam Vinatieri scored all of the Colts' points, converting three field goals from 20, 50 and 47 yards out.
The Colts got on the board first by taking advantage of defensive penalties on the Jets. They took over at their own 41 and moved 28 yards down the field on an Antonio Allen pass interference call and then another 10 after Muhammed Wilkerson was flagged for roughing the passer. But on 3rd-and-1 from inside the Jets' 10, Luck's pass to Coby Fleener was too high and they were forced to settle for a Vinatieri 20-yard field goal.
The Jets were forced to go three-and-out on their first possession, but scored touchdowns on their next three touches.
On their second drive, New York rushed for 57 yards, highlighted by a 21-yard run by Greene, his longest of the season. New York ate up nearly seven minutes on the drive and capped the 14-play march when Sanchez found Stephen Hill in the back on the end zone for a 5-yard touchdown.
On the third-play of the Colts' ensuing possession, Antonio Cromartie intercepted Luck and brought it back for a touchdown, but it was negated after Aaron Maybin was penalized for a personal foul on the return. New York maintained possession, however, and took over at the Indianapolis 35.
Faced with 3rd-and-6, Sanchez completed an 12-yard pass to Chaz Schilens inside the Colts' 20 and two plays later Greene bulled his way through the line for a 10-yard touchdown run.
Luck completed a 21-yard pass to Dwayne Allen on the Colts' next possession, but was intercepted again by Cromartie three plays later. However, the cornerback was called for pass interference. The Colts were given a first down at the Jets' 20, but Indianapolis was backed up after an illegal use of the hands penalty and a sack by Antonio Allen. Vinatieri booted a 50-yard field goal to salvage the drive and cut the Jets' lead to eight.
New York answered with another long scoring drive. Greene ran for 19 yards on first down and then another six on the next play to move the Jets to midfield. After a failed screen pass play left the Jets with 4th-and-11, the punting unit took the field but ran a direct snap to Tim Tebow, who lofted a 23-yard pass to linebacker Nick Bellore inside the Indianapolis 20. Sanchez fired a 5- yard strike to Jason Hill in the end zone to give New York a 21-6 lead at halftime.
Following a series of second half punts, the Jets took over at their own nine. They moved the ball to the 33-yard line on a 9-yard pass to Stephen Hill before Joe McKnight broke off a 61-yard run, the longest by a Jets running back this season. Two plays later, Greene punched it in on a 4-yard rush for the score to give the Jets a 28-6 lead.
The Colts tacked on three more on Vinatieri's third field goal of the contest, this one from 47 yards out. Luck completed 12-yard passes to Reggie Wayne and Fleener before hitting LaVon Brazill for 14 yards, but the Jets locked down defensively, forcing three incompletions and the Colts had to settle for three once again.
The Jets forced two more turnovers to seal the victory. Ellis Lankster intercepted Luck in the end zone with 6:39 to play and Wilkerson sacked the rookie quarterback on the Colts' 7 yard-line, forcing the ball out and New York recovered.
Greene broke through the line from two yards out five plays later for his third touchdown of the game.
"We have to give credit to the Jets," said Colts safety Antoine Bethea. "They came out steamed up and we have to play better as a unit."
The Jets were 6-of-12 on third down, while the Colts were just 3-for-11 ... New York ran the ball 44 times on Sunday, the most they have ran in a game this season ... The Jets improved to 9-2 when Sanchez has a 100+ passer rating.