Posted November 18, 2012 on
AP on Fox
New York Jets
St. Louis Rams
New England Patriots
For at least one day, the New York Jets halted the downward spiral.
Mark Sanchez was solid for the first time in several weeks, the unquestioned No. 1 quarterback presiding over a turnover-free offense in a 27-13 victory over the St. Louis Rams on Sunday.
The beleaguered Sanchez was an efficient 15 of 20 passing for 178 yards and a touchdown, while Tim Tebow was merely a footnote. The Jets dominated on defense, too. And New York stopped a three-game losing streak, and will head into a Thanksgiving night meeting against the AFC East-leading New England Patriots with renewed confidence.
Bilal Powell ran for the first two touchdowns of his career, Chaz Schilens scored on a 25-yard reception and Nick Folk kicked a pair of 51-yard field goals for the Jets (4-6), who were outscored 58-16 the previous two games. The Jets overcame a tumultuous practice week with several anonymous players quoted in a newspaper report disparaging the ability of Tebow, who had a handful of snaps but was no factor.
Brandon Gibson caught a pair of short touchdown passes for the Rams (3-6-1), who committed three turnovers and are in an 0-4-1 slump. St. Louis' defense hasn't forced a turnover in five straight games, tying the NFL's longest such slump since 1950 according to STATS LLC.
The Rams were favored for the first time this season, a 3 1/2-point pick coming off an impressive outing in a 24-24 tie at San Francisco a week earlier to beat a team that had been sliding. They've lost two straight at home - three in a row counting a blowout loss to the Patriots in London - after a 3-0 start.
The Jets, moving past blowout losses at Seattle and against Miami, led 13-7 at the half and put it away with two touchdowns in the fourth quarter.
Konrad Reuland's 18-yard catch to the 5, the longest of his career, set up Powell's 5-yard run for a 20-7 lead early in the fourth quarter. Powell, who was questionable after sustaining a concussion against the Seahawks last week, shared carries with Shonn Greene and added an 11-yard TD run that made it 27-7 midway through the fourth quarter.
Gibson's 1-yard catch capped an 86-yard drive on the first possession and his 2-yard grab cut the deficit to 27-13 with 5:40 to go with the Rams failing on a 2-point conversion pass.
Otherwise, Sam Bradford had little success against the Jets secondary while going 23 for 44 for 170 yards with an interception.
The Jets capitalized on a turnover to take their first lead in 10 quarters plus an overtime on Schilens' scoring catch that made it 10-7 with 4:31 to go in the half. Two plays earlier, Muhammad Wilkerson stripped Bradford and Bart Scott returned the fumble 38 yards.
Folk is the second kicker in Jets history with two 50-yard field goals in the same game. He's missed just three of 16 attempts, including a pair of blocked kicks in the last three weeks. Janoris Jenkins got all of the ball to snuff a 26-yard attempt in the first half, leaving the Jets with nothing to show for Eric Smith's interception that gave them possession at the St. Louis 13.
The Jets had been 3 for 3 on fake punts before linebacker James Laurinaitis thwarted a shovel pass from up back Tebow to Lex Hilliard for a 1-yard loss on fourth-and-5 from the Rams 45.
Austin Pettis' 36-yard reception was the highlight of the Rams' opening possession, a 13-play, 86-yard drive capped by Bradford's 2-yard touchdown pass to Gibson on fourth down. Both Gibson and Danny Amendola were wide open in the back of the end zone, making the Rams 7 for 12 on fourth down on the year to that point.
BEST OF MAXIM
Stat line: 15/20, 178 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT; 75% completion pct., 118.3 QB Rating
Season Stats: 168/314, 2,038 yards, 11 TD, 9 INT; 53.5 completion pct., 73.4 QB Rating
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My pick is the Rams.
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