Another close encounter
Narrow victories not foreign to Jets
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Nail-biting, racing hearts, and stunning comebacks.
They’re all in the playbook lately for the Jets.
Santonio Holmes caught a 6-yard touchdown pass from Mark Sanchez with 10 seconds left yesterday, lifting New York to an unlikely 30-27 comeback victory over the Houston Texans.
“I want to apologize to all the Jets fans for affecting the heart a little bit,’’ coach Rex Ryan said. “But we’ll take the win.’’
Especially since it appeared the Jets were on their way to a heartbreaking loss.
“We don’t think we’re ever out of it at all,’’ tight end Dustin Keller said. “We tick ourselves off when we put ourselves in those situations, but we know that we’re always capable of coming back in any game in any situation.’’
They’ve certainly proven that during the last three weeks with consecutive overtime wins on the road and now a victory that appeared improbable. At 8-2, the Jets are tied with the Patriots for the AFC’s best record.
After blowing a 16-point lead in the fourth quarter, the Jets trailed, 27-23, with less than a minute left. But Sanchez completed two passes to LaDainian Tomlinson and then made a pretty 42-yard toss to Braylon Edwards with 16 seconds remaining. Edwards was knocked out of bounds by Eugene Wilson, stopping the clock and giving the Jets a chance to win.
On the next play, Sanchez coolly found Holmes streaking into the left corner of the end zone, sending the New Meadowlands Stadium crowd into a frenzy.
Replay confirmed that Holmes, who had a 37-yard touchdown catch in overtime at Cleveland last week and set up the win at Detroit Nov. 7 with a 52-yard reception in OT, got both feet in bounds.
“We’re cutting it awfully close,’’ Sanchez said. “I don’t think anybody has any finger nails left if they’re a Jets fan.’’
It was another excruciating loss for the Texans (4-6), who fell last week at Jacksonville on a desperation heave as time expired. Two weeks ago, Houston lost to San Diego on a late interception after driving for a potential go-ahead score in the fourth quarter.
“We deserve better in these last three games,’’ Texans defensive end Mario Williams said. “We were there. It’s unheard of. We just keep having it happen to us.’’
It seemed Houston was in good shape yesterday as Arian Foster scored a questionable go-ahead touchdown on a 1-yard run with 2:18 remaining.
Foster, the NFL’s leading rusher, was hit at the goal line but reached out as he landed on a teammate and the ball broke the plane for a touchdown. Ryan challenged the call, thinking Foster was down, but the play was upheld after replay review.
Neil Rackers kicked a 22-yard field goal with 55 seconds to go after Sanchez was intercepted by Kevin Bentley — sending thousands of fans to the exits.
For those who stayed, they were treated to another incredible ending.
“If I have to apologize for it every week from here on out, I will,’’ Ryan said, “all the way to the Super Bowl.’’
Sanchez finished 22 of 38 for 315 yards and three touchdowns, two to Holmes and one to Edwards. Holmes finished with seven catches for 126 yards.
Foster had 84 yards rushing and two touchdown runs. Matt Schaub, starting after being hospitalized Tuesday night with a knee injury, threw for 254 yards and a touchdown to Joel Dreessen.
“I’m still searching for the adjective for how I would describe it,’’ Schaub said. “It’s tough to deal with.’’
The Jets went ahead, 20-7, on Holmes’s 41-yard touchdown catch with 4:38 remaining in the third quarter.
Nick Folk kicked a 30-yard field goal nine seconds into the fourth quarter to make it 23-7 and give the Jets what appeared to be a comfortable lead.
Houston then began its comeback with Rackers’s 38-yard field goal with 12:21 left.
The Texans also took advantage of a fumble by Shonn Greene as Schaub found Dreessen wide open down the left sideline and the big tight end ran into the end zone untouched for a 43-yard touchdown that made it 23-17 with 9:14 to go.
“It was a great comeback, then we let it slip away,’’ Texans owner Bob McNair said.