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Browns rely on run game to balance out their offensive success against the Jets


At the very start of Thursday's matchup against the Jets, the Browns running backs knew they would have a good day when RB Jerome Ford caught the game's first touchdown with 11:15 left in the first quarter. He bullied his way into the endzone, taking two Jets defenders with him.

"It felt great being able to contribute," Ford said. "It was the first time I celebrated a touchdown all season."

Ford finished the game with 12 carries for 64 yards and averaged 5.3 yards per carry. He also did damage in the passing game, catching two passes for 57 yards and scoring two touchdowns.

Ford showed Thursday that he is willing to do anything to help his team win. It's the first time he has had over 50 yards rushing and receiving in the game this season.

"I felt like the lanes were out there," Ford said. "Our O-line was pushing their line forward. It was a lot of space, honestly. Running backs love to be in space. Being able to make moves and make dudes miss in the second level was great."

RB Kareem Hunt also had a solid night. Hunt found open space in the Jets defense and exploited it, as he finished the game with 10 carries for 31 yards and scored a touchdown. Hunt had a wide-open lane on his seven-yard touchdown run due to the offensive line blocking the Jets defenders.

Check out photos of the Browns against the Jets in Week 17

Hunt now has nine touchdowns this year, which leads the Browns. He likes it when the offense is more balanced and not one-dimensional. Before Thursday's game, the Browns failed to rush for over 100 yards since Week 12 against the Broncos.

"I think the O-line did a great job at making lanes for us," Hunt said. "We stuck with the run. Joe Flacco had a good game spreading the ball and the run game opened up."

The Browns running backs praised the offensive line for their stellar play Thursday against a stout Jets defensive front. The Browns offensive line helped the team average 4.5 yards per carry on Thursday. They were also 50 percent on converting third downs, which the offensive line helped in not only run blocking but also passing.

"I just feel like coach called a good game, and we were prepared," T Geron Christian said. "We were clicking today and last week, too, but today was definitely different." 

When the Browns have their run game and pass game going, their offense is difficult to stop. The last time the Browns  ran for over 100 yards and 200 passing yards in the same game was in Week 10 against the Ravens, when the Browns won the game 33-31.

"Coach Callahan does a great job with preparing us with the run list," G Michael Dunn said. "The guys up front were able to execute, and we had a good four minutes at the end of the game. But tons of credit to the running backs. It's fun blocking for those guys."