As I watched NFL Network’s NFL Replay of Sunday’s Jets-Raiders game, one thing really stood out to me: Jets receiver Plaxico Burress was absolutely dominating the Raiders’ secondary.
No, not as a receiver: Burress had a fine day catching the ball, grabbing three passes for 55 yards and a touchdown. But what had me amazed was how many times Burress was drilling the Raiders’ defensive backs when Jets running backs Shonn Greene and LaDainian Tomlinson had the ball.
On a sweep to Greene, a brutal Burress block knocked Raiders defensive back Matt Giordano down, forcing Giordano to leave the game. It was reminiscent of the block Burress laid on Cowboys cornerback Mike Jenkins in Week One, knocking Jenkins out of that game.
On the Jets’ biggest play of the game, a 74-yard catch-and-run by Tomlinson, it was a Burress block on Raiders cornerback Chris Johnson that sprung Tomlinson, turning what would have been about a 20-yard gain into an open-field sprint on which Tomlinson finally got pushed out of bounds at the 1-yard line.
In the second quarter Burress drove Raiders cornerback Stanford Routt straight back for almost 10 yards before finally shoving him out of bounds, and Greene followed Burress for a 15-yard gain. Four plays later Greene ran for 12 yards, and Raiders defensive back Joe Porter couldn’t get there in run support because Burress backed him away.
For all the talk of whether Burress would be able to return to top speed after his two years in prison, the question of whether Burress would be able to get back to top strength has been answered: Burress looks tougher than ever as a run blocker.