What many believed was going to be a second disaster in less than a week for the New York Jets ended up being a very close and competitive football game. But still, the Jets were bested by ones of footballs' top teams on Monday night, falling to the 5-0 Houston Texans 23-17. The Jets dropped their second straight game and fell to 2-3, but quarterback Mark Sanchez probably did enough to hold off Tim Tebow from taking his starting job for at least another week.
Sanchez's stat line wasn't pretty again, completing just 14 of his 31 attempts with one touchdown and two interceptions for 230 yards, but given the Jets' lack of punch at the key skill positions, the numbers were a bit misleading. The Jets' awful struggles in the running game continued, rushing for just 69 yards on 23 carries as a team. Conversely, the Jets' run defense one again had a bad night, as Arian Foster scampered for 152 yards and a touchdown.
The Jets went down 7-0 right away but came back to tie the game when Sanchez connected with Jeff Cumberland for a 27-yard score. Houston went up by seven again as Foster got in the end zone for the fourth time this season, but it looked as though the Jets were headed towards evening things up going into halftime until probably the game's biggest play. In the red zone in the final minute, Sanchez's pass for Jeremy Kerley was intercepted and returned deep into Jets' territory, setting Shayne Graham up for a late field goal and a 17-7 halftime edge.
Another Graham field goal made it 20-7 Houston, but Joe McKnight returned the ensuing kick off 100 yards for a touchdown, keeping the Jets alive. The teams traded field goals from there on out, and the Texans capitalized on a drop by Cumberland on the Jets' last drive, picking Sanchez off for the second time and holding on for the win.
As for Tebow, he nearly completed his only attempt of the game, a well thrown ball down the seam to Jason Hill, but Hill couldn't haul it in. In the rushing game, Tebow did have 19 yards on five carries, including a 13 yard run to the four yard line where the Jets unfortunately had to settle for a field goal. While there will surely be calls for Tebow at this point, Sanchez did enough on Monday to remain the starter when the Jets host the Colts next week.