Jets, Sanchez Rally Late; Beat Lions in OT, 23-20
DETROIT, MI – Mark Sanchez wasn’t great, but he was certainly great it when it mattered.
His 52-yard strike ten seconds in to over time to Santonio Holmes set up Nick Folk’s 30-yard field goal to cap a 13-point comeback victory over the Detroit Lions in Ford Field, 23-20.
Sanchez ran the two-minute offense to perfection, leading the Jets on a 9-play drive with 1:40 left to play with zero timeouts to allow Folk’s game-tying 36-yarder. And with 2:46 remaining he scored on a one-yard quarterback sneak to bring the Jets within three points.
“”When I started running it, we got them on their heels,” Sanchez said. “It was obvious that we took over the game at the end.”
In a match-up of two first round quarterbacks, Sanchez came out on top while Matthew Stafford was forced out of the game.
Sanchez (5th pick in ‘06 draft) went 22-for-39 for a career-high 339 passing yards with one touchdown and one interception. The score came off of a 74-yard catch-and-run by Braylon Edwards with under a minute to go in the first half. Holmes led the team with 114 yards on five receptions, while LaDanian Tomlinson and Shonn Greene combined for 101 yards on the ground.
Stafford (1st pick in ‘06 draft) was 20-of-36 for 240 yards with two touchdowns, no interceptions, and one rushing score. Nate Burleson saw a lot of action — gaining 113 yards and a touchdown on seven receptions — with Calvin Johnson (1 rec, 13 yards) getting shut down by All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis. Lions running back Jahvid Best had 88 total yards on the day.
The Lions (2-6) came out fired up as the tried to triple their win total from two years ago, but couldn’t overcome the injury to Stafford or coaching miscues to hold on to the game. After missing seven weeks with a separating throwing shoulder, Stafford landed awkwardly on it and re-injured his right shoulder, leaving the game with 5:19 left to play. On the Lions final drive of the game, coach Jim Schwartz elected to pass the ball instead of running the clock down with the Jets (6-2) not having any timeouts left. The pass fell incomplete. The clock stopped. And the Lions watched the Jets walk away with a win.
“I didn’t make myself clear enough that we shouldn’t worry about taking the lost yardage play right there because the clock obviously was important,” Schwartz said.
“They gave us about 40 more seconds to work with,” offensive lineman Damien Wood said. “That was huge.”
New York, who came off of a 9-0 shutout loss at home to the Packers last week, looked flat-out sloppy at times. Sanchez missed receivers high and wide early on multiple occasions. He also fumbled three times, while Edwards had a huge fumble lost that was jarred loose by Louis Delmas. The Jets–as they have been all season–were undisciplined, drawing 11 penalties for 99 yards. Luckily, the Lions were equally indiscipline.
For much of the game the Lions seemed in control. Stafford opened the game with a methodical 13-play, 80-yard drive that was capped by a 10-yard touchdown pass to tight end Brandon Pettigrew in the back of the end zone–marking the first time a team has scored a touchdown against the Jets defense in the first quarter all season.
Rookie defensive tackle, Ndamukong Suh, filling in for the injured Jason Hanson for the PAT, hit the right upright after a third quarter score, when the Lions had a 13-10 lead. Hanson, after being evaluated on the sidelines, was healthy enough to kick an extra point in the fourth quarter to make the game 20-10.
With back-up quarterback, Shaun Hill, nursing a broken forearm it was third-stringer Drew Stanton who tried to hold on to the victory. However against a daunting Jets defense, the back-up couldn’t get anything going.
While the Lions certainly showed guts and guile, they also displayed why they’ve only was four games in the last two and a half seasons. On the game-tying drive, Lions linebacker Julian Peterson was called for a very costly personal foul. Tomlinson caught the ball in the left-side flat and scampered for the sideline–trading a loss of one yard for the time stoppage. With a clear two steps out of bounds, Peterson lunges his shoulder into Tomlinson’s back, sending him to the turf and sending a yellow flag in the air. The Jets went from their own 44-yard line to the Lions 28.
“Obviously we feel fortunate we got the win, but we don’t care — we’ll take it,” Rex Ryan said. “That’s what good teams do, find a way to win.”