After Shane Graham put a 42 yard field goal through the uprights to put the Texans ahead 20-7 in the third quarter, the Jets needed something to lift their spirits. On the ensuing kickoff, return specialist Joe McKnight broke several tackles and with a few key blocks took the ball 100 yards for a touchdown. This was the game-changer the Jets needed, closing the deficit to just six points.
McKnight's electrifying speed and patience in following his blockers have made him one of the NFL's premier kick returners. The Jets gained a spark from the play, with the defense locking down the Texans' offense and Sanchez's unit started to build confidence and moved the ball well against the No. 1 ranked defense in league. The Jets couldn't seem to put the exclamation point on their drives, with Nick Folk's 21 yard field goal representing the offense's only points of the second half. Despite the loss, Ryan and company showed true grit, giving the undefeated Texans all they could handle.
The Jets' coaching staff made a lot of questionable decisions during Monday night's contest. One situation that stands apart from the rest is Rex Ryan electing to try an onside kick that failed after the 100 yard touchdown return from McKnight. Even though that call, relinquished the momentum, the most pivotal point in the game was the interception that deflected off the hands of Jeff Cumberland and into the hands of Kareem Jackson. The Jets' defense came up with a huge stop to force a punt and had a chance to take the lead with a touchdown. The offense began to move the ball picking up a first down. Sanchez put the ball where only Cumberland could catch it, but it bounced off of his hands and ended up as an interception for the Texans.
This was the final knockout punch for the Jets as the Texans ran out the clock. The Jets ended up getting the ball back with eight seconds on the clock, enough time for a circus play. That did not happen as Sanchez threw an incompletion to end the game. This game was a resemblance to the Jets season. The Jets showed a lot of positives, but one play crushed their hopes of a comeback. They started out the season 2-1 and looked like contenders. With a few key injuries and two straight losses, a beating from the 49ers and a hard fought loss to the Texans, the Jets are now searching for answers.
"We just need to make sure we capitalize when we can on both sides of the ball. Mentioned Jets' cornerback Antonio Cromartie following Monday night's narrow loss . The Jets do not send enough pressure and lost their star player on defense in Darrelle Revis, so it is crucial to stop the teams on third down and have tight coverage in the secondary. As for the offense, they have a lot of unproven players. The running game has not been what it was in past seasons. When the offense finally sustains a drive into the red zone, they end up turning the ball over or settling for field goals The Jets played well, but did not capitalize when they needed to.
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In the second quarter the Jets had the ball on their side of the field down 14-7. Sanchez stepped up in the pocket to avoid the Texans' pressure, but could not escape big defensive lineman Brooks Reed. Sanchez had the ball stripped and the ball spun around on the ground waiting to be picked up by either team. Fullback Lex Hilliard scrambled to the ball and instead of falling on the ball, he decided to pick it up and run with it. Hilliard rushed for seven yards on the play and because of his hustle the Jets had a 2nd-and-3 instead of a 2nd –and-13. Reed beat right tackle Jason Smith and surprised Sanchez from behind to cause the fumble. The play was a bust because the offense decided to double team defensive end J.J. Watt and left Smith alone to block the outside. Because of Hilliard's heads up play the Jets had the ball for second and short instead of giving the Texans the ball in the red zone.
The Jets lost the Week Four 34-0 to the San Francisco and needed a strong game to keep their hopes up. Key injuries to stars such as Darrelle Revis, Santonio Holmes, and Dustin Keller had the Jets as big underdogs in this game against one of the top teams in the NFL. Sanchez was coming off one of his worst performances as a starting quarterback and it didn't help that he was facing the top defense in the league. The Jets came out flat giving up an easy touchdown to tight end Owen Daniels on The Opening drive with Jets fans saying, "not again." The touchdown didn't knock the Jets off the feet though, and soon they tied the game with a touchdown pass from Sanchez to Cumberland. The Jets showed fight the whole game and lost by just one possession. This loss was a product of the Jets making critical mistakes in big parts of the game.
Next week the Colts come to town coming off a shocking upset win over the Green Bay Packers. Rookie quarterback Andrew Luck finally showed why he was the No. 1 overall pick in this year's draft and Reggie Wayne showed his old form with a monster game. Wayne had 13 receptions for 212 yards and a touchdown. If the Jets shorthanded defense can shut down Wayne like they shut down Andre Johnson this week, they will make Luck's life very hard. The Jets expect to have Keller back, who is the team's leading receiver from the past two seasons. This will give Sanchez a much needed target on offense. Expect an unproven Sanchez to continue to progress next week. At the moment the Jets have a lot of question marks, but so does the rest of the division and they are still right in the thick of AFC East race.