DENVER -- Is LaDainian Tomlinson money or what?
After a relatively quiet day, Tomlinson scored the tying and go-ahead touchdowns in the fourth quarter, lifting the New York Jets to a 24-20 victory over the Denver Broncos.
Six games into his first season with the Jets, Tomlinson has five rushing touchdowns, 490 yards and a 5.3 average. He's on a 1,306-yard pace.
"He has been pretty decent," Rex Ryan said facetiously. "Great football player, but he's such a leader, too. When he speaks, everybody listens. They're just so into him. The whole team pulls for him. They pull for everybody, but he really is a shot in the arm for us. And, oh by the way, he's still one of the best running backs in football."
Tomlinson scored on a 20-yard run with 8:36 left in the game, a "stretch" play to the left in which he received a huge block from rookie FB John Conner. With 1:13 remaining, he scored the game winner from two yards, after the Broncos' 46-yard pass-interference penalty.
Althought it may have appeared that the Broncos let Tomlinson score on purpose, to get the ball back with more time on the clock, coach Josh McDaniels said that wasn't the strategy. Just bad defense, apparently.
Here's a little secret: Tomlinson's 2-yard TD run almost was botched. QB Mark Sanchez got his feet tangled with LG Matt Slauson, and he started falling backward as he extended the handoff to Tomlinson.
"I was so scared, falling down," said Sanchez, who watched the TD run from the ground-level view.
The Denver fans have to be sick of Tomlinson. In his previous 18 games against the Broncos, all as a member of the San Diego Chargers, he scored 20 touchdowns -- the most in history by any player against Denver.