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NY Jets: What's Wrong With Ivory?

Chris Ivory just hasn't looked the same the second half of this year.

Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

What's wrong with Chris Ivory?  The hard running back just hasn't looked the same lately.  Runs where he used to bounce off tacklers and churn for extra yardage are being stopped cold.  Ivory is consistently getting shut down on first contact.  He just doesn't look nearly as explosive as the Chris Ivory we've grown accustomed to.  The numbers bear this out.  Consider his splits for the first seven games versus his splits for the last seven games:




80 Yard Games

100 Yard Games

First 7 Games






Last 7 Games






As you can see Ivory just hasn't done much since midseason.  Not a single 80 yard game.  A paltry 3.6 yards per carry.  He has looked like a JAG recently.

Perhaps Ivory is wearing down.  He does have an extremely punishing style of running, and Ivory is within 8 carries of his career high.  He will undoubtedly set a new career high in carries this year, and he's got a shot at a career high in yards as well.  Throw in his career high 17 receptions and he already has more touches than he's ever registered in any previous season.  But if he is wearing down it would be an aberration; he has never had such a poor second half before, even in the other two seasons he had a significant number of yards, in 2010 and 2013.  Ivory is also now down to a mediocre 4.2 yards per carry, by far the worst average of his career.  Coming into this season Ivory had never averaged less than 4.6 yards per carry.

Maybe Ivory is suffering from nagging injuries of which we're not aware.  Perhaps it's just a function of teams stacking the line of scrimmage and daring the Jets to pass.  If that were the case you would expect Chris Johnson to also have his numbers suffer in the second half.  But while Ivory has declined, Johnson has significantly increased his production and averages in the second half of the season.  Maybe Ivory's extremely punishing running style is beginning to take a permanent toll on his body.  There really is no way to know at this point, so the question remains, what's wrong with Chris Ivory?  If the answer turns out to be something less than temporary, it would be extremely concerning for the Jets.  The Chris Ivory we've seen in the second half of this season is barely backup material.  With Chris Johnson likely on his last legs as a bell cow runner, if Ivory is also prematurely declining, then suddenly the Jets have even more holes to fill.  Let's hope that whatever ails Ivory can be cured with a long rest in the offseason.