Jets keep postseason chances alive with win in St. Louis.
After coming off their Bye week and losing big in Seattle, the Jets season seemed to been in a tailspin. With two blowout losses in three weeks (MIA, BYE, SEA) and an article released that supposedly shed some light on a divided locker room, the Jets found an escape at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis.
“Our guys have been working extremely hard and I’m really happy for all of us that it showed,” said Rex Ryan. “We needed a win obviously, in the worst way.”
Mark Sanchez led a turnover free offense, completing 15 of 20 passes for 178 yards and a touchdown pass, caught by Chaz Schilens in the second quarter. Bilal Powell rushed for his first career touchdown in the beginning of the fourth quarter and added his second with 8:59 remaining to put the game away.
“If you take the positives from this game, build on those, continue to get better and improve, we can become a team that just doesn’t turn the ball over,” said Sanchez. “That could be our identity, if you want it to be and if you work at it.”
The Rams opened strong with an 86-yard drive that resulted in a Brandon Gibson touchdown catch, but Sam Bradford and the offense couldn’t muster up anything else beyond that point.
After Nick Folk hit a 51-yard field goal, Bradford was intercepted by Eric Smith to the Rams 13-yard line but Folk’s second attempt was blocked as Mike Westoff’s special teams unit continues to struggle.
After trading possessions (one that included a failed fake punt pass by Tim Tebow to Lex Hilliard), the Jets defense created another turnover. Muhammad Wilkerson sacked Bradford causing a fumble and Bart Scott was the beneficiary, returning the ball to the Rams 28-yard line.
The Jets finally cashed in on a turnover, as Sanchez hit Schilens for a 25-yard touchdown pass. Jeremy Kerley looked as if he was going to catch a screen, but the Rams secondary bit forward on the Sanchez pump fake, allowing Schilens to get behind the defense for an easy pitch and catch.
The Jets stopped the Rams for consecutive three and outs, mixed with another Folk field goal and headed to halftime with a 13-7 lead.
The Rams only had two possessions in the third quarter: six-plays, 26 yard for a punt and three plays, 1 yard for a punt. The Jets started their drive with 6:14 remaining in the third quarter and ended after two plays in the fourth quarter. After a key third down reception by Konrad Reuland for 18 yards, Powell found the end zone for the first time in his career, a five-yard draw touchdown run.
“I try to take full advantage of every opportunity I have to be out there, and I’m blessed to be back,” said Powell. “The offensive line did a great job and it was two good play calls.”
The Jets defense shut the door on any comeback hopes the Rams had when LaRon Landry knocked the ball loose for Daryl Richardson. A Greg McIntyre recovery gave the Jets the ball in Rams territory, where Powell ran it in for the second time to secure the win.
The Jets are 4-6 and their next game is on Thanksgiving Day against New England.