FLORHAM PARK, New Jersey (AP) — The New York Jets' running game was running through, over and past opposing defenses just a few weeks ago.
Lately, though, it has ground to halt.
"Inconsistency in the running game hurts," running back Matt Forte said, "because you don't want to put all the pressure on the passing game."
The Jets are ranked 18th in the NFL in rushing offense, helped in large part by their dominant performance in Week 4 when they ran for 256 yards against Jacksonville .
In the two games since, New York has combined to rush for just 118 yards — 34 at Cleveland and 74 against New England. Forte was sidelined two games with turf toe, but returned last week and finished with 22 yards.
Bilal Powell missed that game with a strained calf, but he's expected to play at Miami on Sunday. That will give the Jets a full stable of running backs, including rookie Elijah McGuire and Travaris Cadet, for the first time since they last played the Dolphins in Week 3.
"It will give us another healthy body," coach Todd Bowles said about Powell's return, "so hopefully we can make some plays."
Miami, which ranks No. 4 in the NFL against the run, gave up 103 yards rushing against the Jets in the last meeting. New York used a balance rushing attack in that game, with Powell running for 37 yards on 15 carries, McGuire 34 on seven carries and Forte 25 on eight attempts.
"It's something that you can keep defenses on their toes with," Powell said, "when you have running backs who are able to do everything."
The Dolphins' defense is much-improved since that first game, though, with Rey Maualuga starting at middle linebacker and Jordan Phillips at defensive tackle after both were sidelined with injuries. Linebacker Lawrence Timmons will also start after was suspended for the teams' first meeting after he went AWOL the week before.
Miami trailed Atlanta 17-0 at halftime last Sunday, but the defense tightened on the Falcons' high-flying offense for the final two quarters — allowing Jay Cutler and the Dolphins to pull off a 20-17 comeback victory.
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