Embattled quarterback Mark Sanchez threw efficiently for 178 yards and a touchdown as the New York Jets (4-6) got back in the win column with a 27 – 13 victory at St. Louis (3-6-1) Sunday afternoon.
The win was the first for the Jets since a 35–9 drubbing of the Colts on October 14.
“It’s great to get a win. I’m happy for the guys,” said Rex Ryan, according to a report on the team’s website. “We needed a win in the worst way.”
In snapping the three-game losing streak, the Jets just out-gained the Rams 289 to 281 in total yards but were turnover-free while forcing three St. Louis turnovers—which the Jets converted into 14 points.
Safety Laron Landry had a big day, leading the Jets with eight tackles while forcing a Daryl Richardson fumble early in the fourth quarter, with the Jets ahead 20–7. Seven plays later Bilal Powell ran it in from 11 yards out to put the game out of reach.
Powell ran for 42 yards on 11 carries and scored a pair of touchdowns. Starter Shonn Greene went 64 yards on 18 carries, while third-string back Joe McKnight had 14 rushing yards and 18 receiving yards.
We needed a win in the worst way. -- Rex Ryan.
“I love the fact that we had 40 rushing attempts,” said Ryan afterwards. “It was a really sound performance by the entire team.”
Included in the team’s sound performance was struggling quarterback Mark Sanchez who had one of his better games on the season completing 15/20 pass attempts for 178 yards with one touchdown and (most importantly) zero turnovers.
After sticking by his guy through a number of sub-par performances this season, Ryan certainly noticed his quarterback’s encouraging game.
“Our quarterback rating, when you look it, in the NFL now that seems to be a big statistic now in determining wins and losses. Sanchez had a 118.3 (quarterback) rating and Bradford had a 67.4.”
Sanchez’s day actually started rough, with a pair of sacks in the first quarter.
In the second quarter, after an interception at St. Louis’ 13 by safety Eric Smith, Sanchez and the offense were unable to punch it in and had to settle for a Nick Folk 26-yard field goal attempt. Folk, who earlier had kicked a 51-yarder, had this attempt blocked and the Rams, who scored on their first possession held a 7–3 lead.
After the teams traded punts, second-year defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson sacked Rams quarterback Sam Bradford and stripped the ball from him. It was recovered by linebacker Bart Scott on the Rams’ 28-yard line.
Sanchez shook off his rough start and in just two plays found Chaz Schilens in the end zone for a 25-yard score to put the Jets up 10–7. The quarterback and team never looked back.
The Jets would add another 51-yard Folk field goal before halftime to take a 13–7 lead into the third quarter. Two early fourth-quarter scores then put the game away.
It was a game the Jets desperately needed.
“When you’ve been in situations like that … it’s hard your rookie year to draw on anything because I never experienced that kind of adversity,” said Sanchez regarding the team’s struggles. “When things go sour and south and nobody believes in you, that’s when you really get tested. We’re in that spot right now and it seems that in some of our toughest times we end up playing some of our best football.”
The last-place Jets will be tested again Thursday night against their rivals, the first-place New England Patriots. Only their best will do.