EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez took the running backs out for dinner last week and was amazed at the appetite displayed by Shonn Greene.
"Shonn got the biggest steak you could possibly have," Sanchez said with a grin. "He eats like a lineman."
On Sunday, Greene feasted on the Indianapolis Colts.
Greene set career highs with 161 yards on 32 carries and tied a personal best with three touchdowns to lead a potent rushing attack as the Jets routed the Colts 35-9 at MetLife Stadium.
Sanchez threw two short touchdown passes in an efficient performance.
The Jets (3-3) rushed for 252 yards overall, their first 200-yard rushing game since Jan. 2, 2011, against the Bills. New York avoided losing three home games in a three-week span for the first time since 1975 and moved to .500 heading into next week's AFC East showdown against the New England Patriots in Foxboro, Mass.
"You can't afford to lose three games at home in a row," Jets coach Rex Ryan said. "That would have been tough. We're a tough team, we can overcome a lot, but we really needed this win."
The Jets rushed for just 415 yards in their first five games this season, including just 217 by Greene on 76 carries. However, Greene and his teammates had little trouble getting their "ground and pound" attack untracked against a Colts defense that was missing linebacker Robert Mathis (knee) and was further weakened when defensive end Cory Redding exited with a knee injury in the third quarter.
Greene, whose longest run of the season entering Sunday was a 14-yarder, busted off runs of 21, 19, 16 and 10 yards (the latter for a touchdown in the second quarter). He utilized a surprisingly deft spin move to elude a tackler at the line of scrimmage on his 4-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. Greene capped the scoring with a 2-yard run with 1:05 left.
"We wanted to get that big back rolling," Ryan said. "We knew we were close. We've been working hard, and today we were able to get it going. And obviously, when Shonn carries it that well and has that kind of production, it's great for the entire team."
Backups Bilal Powell and Joe McKnight combined to rush for 76 yards (61 on a single run by McKnight) on the series Greene capped with his 4-yard scoring run. However, both Powell (shoulder) and McKnight (ankle) were hurt on the series and did not return.
"That's the type of team we want to be," Greene said. "We want to run the football, stay on the field and keep our defense fresh."
Given plenty of time to throw for the first time in weeks, Sanchez (11-for-18 for 82 yards) avoided the mistakes that cost the Jets a chance at an upset of the unbeaten Texans on Monday night and did more than enough to quiet the calls for backup Tim Tebow to replace him. Sanchez was sacked just once and tossed a pair of 5-yard touchdowns, one to rookie Stephen Hill and another to Jason Hill.
Tebow contributed as well by throwing a 23-yard completion to linebacker Nick Bellore off a fake punt to set up Sanchez's touchdown pass to Jason Hill.
The Colts (2-3) failed to score a touchdown in a regular-season game for just the third time since the 2003 season. Adam Vinatieri kicked three field goals, of 20, 50 and 47 yards, to account for Indianapolis' offense.
Rookie quarterback Andrew Luck (22-for-44 for 280 yards with two interceptions and one fumble) was harassed throughout the game by a swarming Jets defense that sacked him four times. He overthrew Coby Fleener in the end zone in the first quarter and was intercepted in the end zone by Ellis Lankster to end the Colts' final threat in the fourth quarter.
"Things that were identified going into the game -- fake punts, stopping the run, protecting the quarterback, red-zone offense and defense -- (as) the keys to the game, we didn't win in any of those areas," interim Colts coach Bruce Arians said.
NOTES: Sanchez ended a streak of four consecutive games in which he completed less than 50 percent of his passes. Prior to Sanchez, only two starting Jets quarterbacks in the last 20 years had completed less than 50 percent of their passes in two straight games: Kellen Clemens in 2007 and Browning Nagle in 1992. ... Jets rookies Quinton Coples, a first-round pick, and Antonio Allen, a seventh-round pick who was making his NFL debut, each recorded their first career sacks. ... Reggie Wayne recorded his 900th career reception late in the third quarter. He is the 14th NFL player to reach the milestone. Wayne finished the day with five catches for 87 yards. ... The Colts didn't score a touchdown in a 9-6 win over the Browns on Sept. 7, 2003, or in a 17-3 loss to the Jaguars last Nov. 13.