Same Old Jets? Not So Fast!

The New York Jets pulled out the stops in the final drive of the game, after watching a 23-7 lead heading into the fourth quarter evaporate.

The history books will judge what happened in North Jersey at 4:12 Sunday afternoon as an exorcism 40 years in the making.

The Jets trailed by four points and 55 seconds left in a game in which they led by 16 points. It was going to be another example of the Jets snatching defeat from the jaws of victory; another baffling late game collapse for an organization that historically specializes in late game collapses.

Forty five seconds later, the sneering "Same Ol' Jets" title may have been retired forever as Brian Schottenheimer masterminded and Mark Sanchez executed a five-play drive that culminated with a six-yard fade to Santonio Holmes in the back of the end zone.

Holmes caught the ball. Both feet were in bounds.


The Jets improved to a NFL-best 8-2 after Sanchez's six-yard touchdown fade to Holmes beat the Houston Texans, 30-27, at the Meadowlands Sunday afternoon. The Jets won't have much time to celebrate their win as they will host Cincinnati Thanksgiving night.

Sanchez was the best player on the field Sunday as he completed 22-of-38 passes for 315 yards and three touchdowns. He rushed twice for 22 yards in a game that saw him receive very little support from his offensive line. Sanchez was sacked three times for a loss of 17 yards, mostly due to the line being unable to slow the Texans pass rush.

For those interested in negatives and glasses-half-empty, the concerns are that the Jets were unable to put away a team that trailed by 16 points in the fourth quarter, and only had a 13-7 at the half.

Nick Folk's third field goal of the game increased the Jets' lead to 23-7 nine seconds into the fourth quarter. Houston then exploded for 20 points in an 11:26 span to take a 27-23 lead. Neil Rackers drilled field goals of 38 and 22 yards. His second kick pushed the Texans' to 27-23 and it came with 55 seconds left on the clock. The kicks enveloped Matt Schaub's 43-yard touchdown bomb to reserve tight end Joel Dreessen and Arian Foster's second touchdown of the game, a one-yard plunge. Schaub was 19-for-33 for 254 yards and a touchdown. The NFL's leading rusher, Foster, rushed 22 times for 84 yards.

Following Rackers' second field goal of the fourth quarter, the Jets' countenances were masks of confusion and disbelief. How could this happen? seemed to be their collective unasked question.

Up to that, the Jets were enjoying their muscle flexing on a sub-par opponent, highlighted by Sanchez and Holmes celebrating a 41-yard touchdown hook up in the third quarter by extending their arms and intimating soaring airplanes. Holmes led the Jets with seven catches for 126 yards and the two touchdowns.

Folk made a 37-yard field goal on the Jets initial drive of the game and a 33-yarder on their last drive of the half. Folk's kicks were sandwiched around a four-yard touchdown pass from Sanchez to Braylon Edwards. Edwards caught four passes for 86 yards and a touchdown, including a 42-yard connection that led to Holmes' game-winner.

It was not the fast start that Ryan and the Jets spent all week vowing to have. The National Football League's 31st ranked defense forced the Jets into two punts and made gaining yardage into trench warfare.

Houston took a 7-3 lead early in the second quarter with Foster's two-yard touchdown plunge that capped an impressive 11 play, 67 yard drive.

You can follow me on Twitter @DenisGorman

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