Bilal Powell had the most effective day of his career, rushing for two touchdowns and helping the New York Jets to a much needed 27-13 victory over the St. Louis Rams on Sunday.
Powell rushed for just 42 yards on 11 carries, but scored twice in the fourth quarter to help secure the win for New York (4-6), which got an outstanding effort out of its defense.
Despite early offensive miscues, the Jets' defense stayed resilient. For the game, they forced five punts and three turnovers, which led to 14 offensive points, while holding the Rams (3-6-1) to just 281 yards of offense.
"Our guys have been working extremely hard and I'm really happy for all of us that it showed today," said Jets coach Rex Ryan. "It was really a sound performance by the entire team."
After a rough game last week in Seattle, Mark Sanchez managed the game well on Sunday. He completed 15-of-20 throws for 178 yards and threw a touchdown pass to Chaz Schilens, who led the team with four catches for 48 yards.
Shonn Greene paced the rushing attack with 64 yards on 18 carries for the Jets, who will have a short week to prepare for the New England Patriots on Thanksgiving night.
Sam Bradford struggled to get the Rams' offense in rhythm most of the day. Although he tossed a pair of touchdowns to Brandon Gibson, he completed just 23-of-44 passes for 170 yards, threw an interception and lost a fumble in the defeat.
Nick Folk had a field goal blocked and Tim Tebow failed to trick the Rams on a fake punt on consecutive possessions in the first half, but the Jets started to finish drives late in the second quarter.
Off a Bradford fumble and a 38-yard return from Bart Scott, the Jets took over on the St. Louis 28 trailing 7-3, but Sanchez quickly put them ahead.
On the second play of the series, Sanchez lofted a deep ball down the field to a wide open Schilens, who hauled it in for 25-yard score for the Jets, who finally scored an offensive touchdown after going nine quarters straight without one.
After forcing the Rams to go three-and-out on their next touch, Sanchez fired a 32-yard strike to Jeremy Kerley to set up Folk for 51-yard field goal to give the Jets a 13-7 lead.
New York caught a break just before halftime, as they let Chris Givens return the ensuing kick 98 yards for a score, however, it was called back due to a holding penalty.
"That's the second consecutive week we've had a long return called back because of a penalty," said Rams coach Jeff Fisher. "That was a momentum thing for us and we weren't able to take advantage of it."
The Jets started to create some separation by bridging the third and fourth quarters with a 12-play drive that lasted nearly seven minutes to build a two- score lead.
On 3rd-and-goal, the Jets ran a draw play to Powell, who fought his way across the goal line to give the Jets a 20-7 advantage early in the fourth.
The Rams' offense continued to flounder on their first touch of the final period, as Daryl Richardson coughed up the ball on a carry. New York's Garrett McIntyre dove on it and the Jets once again started with great field position on the St. Louis 38.
The Jets capitalized off the turnover and put the game out of reach for the Rams, as Powell scored his second touchdown of the game, rushing into the end zone from 11 yards out to give the Jets a commanding 27-7 lead with 8:29 left to play.
The Rams finally put something together following a Givens 48-yard return, as Bradford lofted a 2-yard pass to Gibson for a touchdown.
However, they failed on the two-point conversion attempt and the Rams couldn't recover the ensuing onside kick, securing the victory for New York.
The Rams scored first to take the early lead, but once the Jets went up 10-7, they never led again.
Bradford led a balanced attack for the Rams on their first possession and capped a 13-play, 86-yard drive with a 1-yard touchdown pass to Gibson on fourth down. Earlier in the drive, Austin Pettis made a leaping 36-yard grab on 3rd-and-4 to set the Rams up inside the Jets' 20.
The Jets were able to answer with a field goal on their next touch, thanks in large part to Joe McKnight. He returned the ensuing kickoff 42 yards and then hauled in an 18-yard pass on third down, helping to set up Folk for a field goal try, which he connected from 51 yards out.
Eric Smith came away with an interception on the Rams' next possession deep inside their territory, but the Jets played conservative and settled for a 26- yard field goal, which got blocked by Janoris Jenkins.
On the Jets' next touch, they tried a fake punt, but the Rams were ready for it, as they stuffed Lex Hilliard, who caught a shovel pass from Tebow, for a loss.
But New York's defense continued to make stops, as Mo Wilkerson sacked Bradford and forced the ball out. Scott picked up the loose ball and returned in 38 yards to the St. Louis 28.
The Jets improved to a 10-2 when Sanchez has a passer rating over 100 ... The Rams, who have lost four of their last five, will travel to Arizona next week to face the Cardinals ... Rams wide receiver Danny Amendola, who missed three games due to an injured collarbone. twisted his ankle in the first half but returned in the third quarter.