Jacksonville, FL – Shonn Greene and Bilal Powell each had rushing scores and the New York Jets held on for a 17-10 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars to keep their slim playoff hopes alive.
Greene rushed for 77 yards on 20 carries while Powell amassed 78 yards on 19 rushes for New York (6-7), which was coming off a 7-6 win over Arizona and has strung together consecutive victories for the first time all season.
"We're confident, we think we're getting better as a team," said Jets coach Rex Ryan. "We've won three out of four so I think we're feeling better about ourselves. We still have to get better in a lot of areas but off a win you feel a lot better about making those corrections than off a loss."
A week after being pulled against the Cardinals, Mark Sanchez was asked to manage the game and did so somewhat effectively. He fumbled in the first half and connected on 12-of-19 throws overall for just 111 yards, but completed a 37-yard strike late in the contest to force Jacksonville to use all three of its timeouts.
Chad Henne led the Jaguars (2-11) into Jets territory on their final possession, but was intercepted by Ellis Lankster to seal the win for New York.
Henne passed for 185 yards, but completed just 21-of-43 throws and was picked off twice in Jacksonville's ninth loss in 10 games.
"That was a terrible one quarter that changed the momentum of the game," said Jaguars coach Mike Mularkey. "That third quarter, for whatever reason, they started to run the football and we were not effective offensively and weren't effective on third down all day."
Montell Owens ran for the Jaguars' only touchdown, finishing with 91 yards on 14 carries in defeat.
It was a rough game for Jacksonville receiver Kevin Elliot. While he had three catches for 38 yards, he dropped three passes on the day and committed a crucial penalty late before miscommunicating with Henne on the Jaguars' final offensive play.
On the last drive, Elliot hauled in a 16-yard pass on third down, but the play was nullified because he ran out of bounds prior to making the reception, resulting in a five-yard penalty.
Henne, however, was able to pick up a first two plays later, as he fired a 28- yard strike to Jordan Shipley on 4th-and-15 to keep the drive alive. Elliot then hauled in a 7-yard catch on 4th-and-2, but cut his route short two plays later, which resulted in Lankster's game-sealing interception.
For the second consecutive week, the Jets were unable to do anything offensively in the first half, but used the running game to finally muster points in the third quarter.
Greene broke the goal line on a 1-yard TD plunge to cap a 9-play, 57-yard march on the Jets' first possession of the period. New York ran seven times, didn't face a third down and took its first lead of the game at 7-3.
Jacksonville converted on just 2-of-16 third downs for the game and went three-and-out on all four of its possessions in the third quarter, with third- down sacks by Muhammed Wilkerson and David Harris on consecutive drives leading to New York scores.
Wilkerson's sack of Henne forced the Jaguars to punt, and after an 11-yard return by Jeremy Kerley, the Jets managed to get three points on a Nick Folk 44-yard field goal with 2:53 left in the period to take a 10-3 lead.
After Harris took down Henne deep inside Jacksonville territory, New York started on the Jaguars' 46 following the punt, and Powell capped a 7-play scoring drive with a 4-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter.
A Quinton Coples facemask on third down of the Jaguars' ensuing possession allowed their drive to continue and they took advantage. On 2nd-and-17, Owens sprinted 32 yards untouched to pull Jacksonville within a score at 17-10 with 7:06 remaining.
After an exchange of punts, the Jets took over on their own 11 with 3:42 left. Sanchez completed a huge pass to Jeff Cumberland for 37 yards on 3rd-and-8, forcing Jacksonville to use all of its timeouts in order to get the ball back.
Jacksonville looked poised to score on its first possession of the game, but a drive that lasted over eight minutes ended with nothing to show for it, as Garrett McIntyre drilled Henne as he threw, causing the ball to flutter out and into the hands of Jets linebacker Bart Scott.
In the second quarter, the Jaguars were called for pass interference on consecutive plays to let the Jets cross the midfield, but Justin Babin recovered a fumble after he strip-sacked Sanchez, who turned the ball over for the 19th time this season on the play.
New York's defense was able to keep the Jaguars out of the end zone, but surrendered a 31-yard field goal to Josh Scobee for the first points of the game. A 22-yard catch by Elliot helped set up the score for Jacksonville.
The Jets fumbled again on their next touch, but this time it was Kerley who lost the ball. Sanchez responded well off his fumble, firing a 17-yard strike to Chaz Schilens before scrambling for a first down two plays later. Kerley then hauled in a pass on a short out route, but as he was fighting for first down yardage, he had the ball stripped from his hands.
The Jaguars, however, couldn't take advantage of the turnover. They had an opportunity to score later in the quarter but Scobee's 55-yard attempt sailed wide left just before halftime.
The Jets beat the Jaguars for the first time in Jacksonville. They had lost in their previous three matchups ... Jets wide receiver Stephen Hill injured his knee in the second quarter and did not return ... A week after leading the Jets to victory against the Cardinals, quarterback Greg McElroy was inactive for the game ... Justin Blackmon hauled in a game-high six catches for 57 yards for Jacksonville.