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Sanchez, Jets come back again, top Redskins 34-19

New York Jets wide receiver Santonio Holmes, right, runs off the field with quarterback Mark Sanchez after scoring a touchdown on a pass from Sanchez during the second half of an NFL football game against the Washington Redsk insin Landover, Md., Sunday, Dec. 4, 2011. New York Jets wide receiver Santonio Holmes, right, runs off the field with quarterback Mark Sanchez after scoring a touchdown on a pass from Sanchez during the second half of an NFL football game against the Washington Redsk insin Landover, Md., Sunday, Dec. 4, 2011. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
By Joseph White
AP Sports Writer / December 5, 2011
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LANDOVER, Md.—In his own colorful way, Rex Ryan expressed his latest thoughts on the New York Jets' playoff chances.

"We know where we think we're going," he said. "More confident than 100 percent? I don't know about that."

No matter what he thinks or knows or doesn't know, and regardless of what sort of math is used, Ryan naturally has to be more confident after the Jets' 34-19 victory Sunday over the Washington Redskins. After all, a win is better than a loss -- especially for a team that feels it can't lose again if it's going to stay in contention -- but the sweat-it-out process of the last two games is enough to mess up anyone's thinking.

"It's been a rocky rise. It's been ups and downs for us," cornerback Darrelle Revis said. "We were on a three-game losing streak. Right now, we're heading in a position to where we want to be."

The Jets (7-5) were so-so for three quarters -- repeating the pattern from their win over the Buffalo Bills seven days earlier -- before Mark Sanchez led his 10th career fourth-quarter or overtime comeback victory and his second in two weeks. New York trailed 16-13 after Graham Gano's 46-yard field goal with 7:52 to go, but Gano's poorly struck kickoff helped give Sanchez prime field position to get untracked.

Sanchez scrambled to avoid pressure before completing a 10-yard pass to Shonn Greene on a third-and-4. Two plays later, Sanchez's 30-yard pass to Santonio Holmes put the Jets ahead for good with 4:49 to play.

Greene offered some insurance with his second and third touchdown runs of the game, and linebacker Aaron Maybin's sack-and-fumble hit on Rex Grossman helped thwart Washington's hopes for its own comeback.

"I think we need to get some jerseys out there with `Mayhem' on their back," said Ryan, referring to Maybin's nickname.

The Jets had only 168 total yards after three quarters, committed untimely penalties and had their sixth special-teams turnover of the season, but the defense was sufficiently stout after a slow start. The only touchdown for the Redskins (4-8) came on their opening drive as Washington lost for the seventh time in eight games.

Making matters worse, the Redskins are expected to lose two starters -- tight end Fred Davis and left tackle Trent Williams -- for the remainder of the season for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy, two people with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press. They spoke on condition of anonymity because no official announcement has been made.

The Redskins didn't comment on the suspensions, so most of the public thoughts expressed after the game concerned the usual disappointment in losing and the few bright spots. Davis, as it happened, had one of his best games of the season, catching six passes for 99 yards. Rookie Roy Helu rushed for 100 yards for the second straight week and scored his team's only touchdown. Grossman completed 19 of 46 passes for 221 yards and one interception.

"Disappointed with the way we finished," coach Mike Shanahan said. "Couldn't get much going on offense. It's hard to win the football game when you finish the way we did."

Sanchez completed 19 of 32 passes for only 165 yards, but avoided throwing an interception after having at least one in five straight games. He also didn't get sacked for the second straight week.

Greene finished with 88 yards on 22 carries as the Jets toyed a bit with the wildcat formation. Greene again carried the load despite the return of LaDainian Tomlinson, who had missed the two previous games with an ailing left knee. Tomlinson appeared to reinjure the knee in the first quarter but later came back into the game.

"It was rough the first half," Greene said. "But we just keep together and kept plugging away."

Notes: The Jets' special-teams turnover came when rookie Jeremy Kerley muffed a punt, leading to a Redskins field goal. Jim Leonhard later replaced Kerley and ran back a punt 14 yards in the third quarter to set up a Jets field goal. ... Other injuries: Redskins S D.J. Gomes (right knee) and Jets KR Joe McKnight (hyperextended elbow).

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Joseph White can be reached at http://twitter.com/JGWhiteAP

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