Monday night the New York Jets bounced back from their lackluster performance against the 49ers with a much better effort against the Texans, though ultimately losing 23-17. Some untimely tipped balls that led to interceptions did in the Jets, especially just before they half and late in the game when they were driving towards possible touchdowns.
The Texans lost the toss, but the Jets deferred until second half. Matt Schaub led them down the field, using a good mix of runs and play action/misdirection to end the drive with a touchdown pass to tight end Owen Daniels, with Antonio Cromartie having been the closest in coverage. On the Jets first series they went three and out, and on their second series Tim Tebow threw a nice pass down field to Jason Hill, that Hill should have caught but went off his hands. Cromartie made up for the earlier gaffe in coverage with an interception of Schaub while covering Andre Johnson. The short field led to Mark Sanchez finding Clyde Gates for 27 yards and two plays later Jeff Cumberland for the Jets opening score, tying the game at seven. Arian Foster broke off a 45-yard run on the Texans next series, but the Jets defense stiffened.
On fourth and inches the Jets utilized Tebow once again to run for first down from punt protector position, but after that went three more plays and punted. The Texans would drive down on their next series with Foster running over and through the defense, especially for the final 21 yards and touchdown to put them up 14-7. Tebow started the next drive with a short run, then another run by Bilal Powell on which Brian Cushing left, hurt on a block by Matt Slauson. Sanchez found Jeremy Kerley about a foot short of a first down. Sanchez ran a keeper play right over Nick Mangold for the first down. Cromartie was in on offense and Sanchez found him deep along sideline, and while Cro caught it, he only got one foot down inbounds. On the Texans subsequent series Josh Bush saw time at safety. When the Jets got the ball back Sanchez was hit, fumbled, but Lex Hilliard was johnny-on-the-spot and ran the fumble about seven yards. Clyde Gates was targeted but the pass went incomplete and Gates went off the field holding his arm. Sanchez hit Kerley for a 36-yard pass play to keep the drive going. Unfortunately the next pass from Sanchez was deflected off J.J. Watt and intercepted by Brice McCain inside the Jets 10 yard line. Shayne Graham connected from 27 yards to put Houston up 17-7 at the half.
On the first play from scrimmage center Nick Mangold got his right ankle rolled up and left the game with Slauson moving to center and Vlad Ducasse back in at left guard. The Texans went on a sustained drive that ate up quite a bit of clock before Shayne Graham kicked his second field goal of the night, 42 yards, to extend the lead to 20-7. The Jets answered when Joe McKnight returned the subsequent kick-off 100 yards for a touchdown to cut the lead to 20-14. The Jets tried an onside kick on next play and Schilens had the ball slip through his hands. The Texans play action would gain big chunks of yardage as it still confused the Jets defense. Graham ended the drive with a 22-yard field goal after the Jets defense stiffened with the Texans at first and goal to go on the six yard line. Nick Mangold would return just before the quarter ended, with his ankle heavily bandaged.
A long pass to Jeff Cumberland started the quarter. Several plays later Sanchez found Kerley open near sideline on a 36-yard pass play. Tim Tebow ran for a first down to put the Jets in goal to go. J.J. Watt deflected Sanchez's pass on second down that should have found Schilens wide open in back of end zone. Nick Folk made a 21-yard field goal to cut the lead to six, 23-17. When the Jets got the ball back, Shonn Greene basically doubled his yardage for the night with a 12-yard run in which he made a nice cut move that sprang it. The Jets went backwards with eight yard loss on direct snap play to McKnight. Then Sanchez hit Greene on a wonderful screen pass play that made up for the loss and gained them a first down. Confusion of which personnel were reporting in caused the Jets to lose another valuable timeout, leaving them with only one. Watt would end that drive with sack on Sanchez. Kenrick Ellis went down holding his leg/knee, and Damon Harrison came in and helped the Jets stop the Texans on third and one. Kareem Jackson intercepted Mark Sanchez on their final drive when his pass went off Cumberland's hands as the pass was slightly high.
If the New York Jets can build off the positives from this game, and eliminate the small mistakes then they can play close games with almost every opponent the rest of the season, with the talent they have currently on the roster. Hopefully they won't pile up any more devastating injuries that could hurt those chances of success.
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