LANDOVER, MD — Mark Sanchez and the New York Jets live for the forth quarter. After three quarters of mediocrity the Jets offense exploded for 21 fourth quarter points on their way to beating the Washington Redskins 34-19 at FedEx Field.
Sanchez found Santonio Holmes for a 30-yard touchdown strike with just under five minutes in the fourth that was followed by two touchdown runs by a banged up Shonn Greene. The late offensive score keeps the Jets (7-5) in the pack of teams fighting for the AFC wildcard spots.
It was the 10th come-from-behind victory for the Jets since Sanchez has been the starter, including the playoffs. The win comes on the heels of yet another fourth-quarter win at home against the Buffalo Bills. The Jets are in familiar territory, aiming to win out and make the playoffs for a third straight season under Rex Ryan.
Despite the win, the game was filled with mistakes and miscues for three quarters — untimely penalties, yet another turnover on special teams (their sixth this year), and compiling a meek 168 total yards against a Redskins (4-8) team that has lost seven of their last eight games.
Sanchez was a game manager going 19-32 while passing for 165 yards and one passing touchdown. The key for the third-year quarterback was not turning the ball over. With zero interceptions he snapped his streak of throwing at least one at five games. The offense relied on a heavy dose of Shonn Greene, who was nursing a rib injury, as he ran for 88 yards on 22 carries and scoring three touchdowns. Offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer reinstated the “Wildcat” formation, where they were able to average 4 yards per attempt last season, with Greene as well as Jeremy Kerley taking the snaps.
Rex Grossman was 19-of-46 for 221 yards and an interception for the Redskins. But it was the strip/sack of Grossman by Aaron Maybin that sparked the turnaround for the Jets. With his team down 20-16 Grossman was sacked by Maybin in his own 20-yard line. The ball was recovered by Calvin Pace and two plays later Greene took the direct snap in from 9-yards out to give the Jets an 11-point lead.
Graham Gano’s 43-yard field goal with 1:59 to play cut the lead to eight, but the Redskins failed to recover the onside kick. Then with 1:47 remaining Greene busted out a 25-yard run to seal the game for the Jets.
The Jets were down 16-13 after Gano was good from 46-yards out with 7:52 remaining, but on the ensuing kick off the Jets benefited from a short kick, getting the ball close to midfield. The Jets offense then came to life, as Sanchez avoided pressure and found Greene for a ten yard gain on third down. It was one of their four third-down conversions on the day. Two plays later he found Holmes in the endzone for the go ahead score.
The Redskins, who won the toss, started out fast on offense scoring on a 2-yard run by rookie Roy Helu (100 yards, 1 TD). Grossman found tight end Fred Davis (6 receptions, 99 yards) for a few big plays, including a 42-yard catch that help set up the team’s first score.
New York came back with a methodical 17-play, 74 yard drive capped by a one-yard run by Greene. The drive took 9:06 minutes and accounted for the team’s longest drive of the season. LaDanian Tomlinson returned to the field after missing two games with an MCL injury to his left knee left the game on that first drive. He was dragged down by Redskins safety Oshiomogho Atogwe, getting his left leg caught in the process.
The two teams proceeded to trade field goals before a fumbled punt by Kerley gave the Redskins great field position late in the first half. Gano capitalized with chipshot field goal, giving the Redskins a 13-10 lead at halftime. The Jets, usually sharp in the special teams game, committed their NFL-worst sixth turnover on special teams.
Safety Jim Leonhard assumed the punt return duties for Kerley, who then took a punt back 14 yards and crossing into Washington’s territory. The return led to a 51-yard field goal from Nick Folk, a season-high, tying the game at 13.
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