Boom! Jets' physical Ivory a tough guy to tackle

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 13, 2013 at 4:56 pm •  Published: December 13, 2013
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FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) — Chris Ivory slipped through one tackle, and then another. And, then, two more.

By the time Oakland's Tracy Porter tried to take him down in last Sunday's game, the New York Jets' bruising running back just carried him on his back over the goal line.

Five missed tackles and one powerful 15-yard touchdown run.

"Man, he's a thumper," right tackle Austin Howard said. "He's fast and he's agile, but he's got that 'thump' to him."

Ivory is establishing a reputation for being one of the most physical players in the NFL. From dragging players to powering through tackle attempts, Ivory is one tough guy to bring down.

His average of 3.1 yards after contact leads the league among running backs, according to the statistics-based site ProFootballFocus.com.

"I just pride myself in making explosive plays," Ivory said. "I just try to make plays when there's not really anything there. When you make a play, I think that's big, when you turn something out of nothing."

Ivory has been doing that for most of this season, his first with the Jets after three years with the New Orleans Saints. Healthy after dealing with hamstring issues during training camp and early in the season, Ivory leads New York with 639 yards rushing and is averaging 4.4 yards per carry.

And, a lot of those yards have come after a defensive player tried — and failed — to bring him down.

"If I have a little space to work with, I'll try to work with it," Ivory said. "Other than that, my mentality is I just won't be denied. I'm going to come at you and try to make a statement."

He's also a dangerous blocker, as witnessed by Oakland linebacker Sio Moore, who briefly left last week's game after his blitz was thwarted by a bone-rattling pop from Ivory.

"Any time your running back can be one of the most physical guys on the field, it puts a spark to the offense," wide receiver Santonio Holmes said. "It shows the character and heart that he has and the determination."

When Ivory carries the ball, his long dreads fly about behind his helmet as his legs keep churning. Several times, Ivory has appeared to be stopped at the line of scrimmage, but somehow stays upright and bounces out of the pile.

He's not exactly Earl Campbell or Christian Okoye, who always ran over or through defenders. But the 6-foot, 222-pound Ivory certainly makes defensive players earn every tackle on him.

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