Published October 09, 2012
| Sports Network
East Rutherford, NJ – Arian Foster ran for 152 yards and a touchdown as the Houston Texans held off the New York Jets, 23-17, on Monday.
Matt Schaub completed 14-of-28 passes for 209 yards with a touchdown and an interception, while Shayne Graham connected on three field goals for the Texans (5-0), who keep building on their best start in franchise history.
"Being that we're undefeated right now, I think it perks everyone's interest when they're playing us to go out and give us their best shot," Schaub said.
Owen Daniels added 79 yards and a score on four receptions in the win.
Mark Sanchez went 14-for-31 through the air for 230 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions for New York (2-3), which had been 5-0 all-time against the Texans since the team entered the league in 2002.
Joe McKnight had a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in defeat.
"I think all of us were excited to play, but it never worked out. That is a good football team and at the end of the day they made more plays than we did," Jets coach Rex Ryan said.
The Texans held a 17-7 advantage at the half and added to their lead on their first touch of the third quarter when Graham capped a 14-play, 70-yard drive that lasted nearly eight minutes with a 42-yard field goal.
McKnight grabbed the ensuing kickoff at his goal line and raced up the middle of the field before cutting down the left sideline nearly untouched for a 100- yard touchdown, bringing the Jets back within 20-14 with 4:38 left in the quarter.
After New York failed to grab an onside kick attempt, Houston took advantage of the short field as James Casey's 30-yard gain on a screen pass set up a 22- yard kick by Graham.
The Jets quickly moved the ball deep into Houston territory on its next touch as Sanchez found Jeff Cumberland and Jeremy Kerley for gains of 24 and 36 yards, respectively, but they could not push the ball across the goal line and were forced to settle for Nick Folk's 21-yard field goal, making it 23-17 with 11:55 remaining in the game.
New York regained the ball at its own 42 following a Houston three-and-out and Shonn Greene converted a 2nd-and-18 with a 19-yard gain on a screen pass.
But J.J. Watt sacked Sanchez on a 3rd-and-10 a little later and the Jets had to punt the ball away.
New York got one more chance for the go-ahead score, starting a drive at its own 16 with 3:28 left, but Texans cornerback Kareem Jackson settled under a pass that deflected off the hands of Cumberland with 1:51 showing and Houston ran off all but four seconds of the clock.
Houston received the ball first and quickly moved down the field as Schaub found Daniels and Kevin Walter for double-digit gains before capping the 8- play, 85-yard march with a 34-yard touchdown strike to a wide open Daniels deep over the middle on a play-action fake.
"It was huge to start fast. We knew they were going to come out ready to play, fired up and with a lot of energy. We just had to take that wind out of their sails," Schaub said.
The Jets later took over the ball at their own 43-yard line after Antonio Cromartie intercepted a Schaub pass, and Clyde Gates made a leaping reception over a defender down the right sideline for a 27-yard gain on the next play to move the ball to the Houston 30.
Three plays later, Cumberland made a juggling catch in the middle of the end zone for a 27-yard touchdown, making it a 7-7 game with 4:07 left in the first quarter.
New York converted a 4th-and-inches at its own 24 on the first play of the second quarter with a fake punt by snapping the ball directly to backup quarterback Tim Tebow, who rumbled forward for a 3-yard gain.
"I think we have a guy in Tim that gives you some opportunities on that punt team," Ryan said about the fake punt. "We probably won't get a punt rushed. I wouldn't rush us because you never know when he's going to fake it and we're crazy enough to fake it at any time."
But the Jets did not record another first down and were forced to punt.
The Texans went back on top on their ensuing drive as Walter opened the 5- play, 67-yard drive with an 18-yard reception to move the ball into Jets territory. Foster then broke off a 21-yard rush before scoring on a 13-yard run off the left side.
New York again converted a 4th-and-short inside its own territory on its next possession with a Sanchez sneak up the middle to gain a fresh set of downs at its own 39.
Houston defense also held again, however, and forced a punt.
The Jets later regained the ball at their own seven with 4:21 remaining in the first half and drove the ball down to the Houston 12, but Brice McCain intercepted a tipped Sanchez pass and returned it 86 yards to the New York nine, setting up Graham's 27-yard field goal to make it a 17-7 game at the break.
Texans linebacker Brian Cushing left the game in the second quarter with a left knee injury and did not return ... Daniels has now caught a touchdown pass in three straight games ... Foster carried the ball 29 times and added 16 yards on one reception ... Tebow finished with 19 yards on five carries ... Houston totaled 378 yards of offense, compared to 286 for New York.