East Rutherford, NJ (SportsNetwork.com) - Chris Ivory gashed his old team for 139 rushing yards with a touchdown and Nick Folk continued his perfect season with four field goals, as the New York Jets earned a 26-20 win over New Orleans to hand the Saints just their second loss of the season.
Ivory spent his first three NFL seasons with the Saints and joined the Jets in an April trade. He broke off runs of 52, 30 and 27 yards, and led a Jets rushing attack that compiled 198 yards.
Geno Smith also ran for a score and threw for 115 yards on 8-of-19 passing for New York (5-4), which will head into its bye week with a winning record. The Jets were coming off an ugly 49-9 loss at Cincinnati last week and have not lost two in a row this season.
"Looking at this game, we knew it was going to be tough," said Jets coach Rex Ryan. "All I know is I have a team that will fight to the end."
Drew Brees threw for 382 yards with a pair of touchdowns, but was also picked off twice in defeat. He was without the inactive wide receiver Marques Colston because of a knee injury and lost electric running back Darren Sproles to a concussion early in the first quarter.
"That's tough because he's a big part of the game plan," said Brees about losing Sproles. "We still had our opportunities, but (the Jets) did a good job of getting pressure and made it to where the ball had to come out sooner than we'd like."
Jimmy Graham caught nine passes for 116 yards and both scores for the Saints (6-2), whose lone losses have come on the road against AFC East foes. New Orleans dropped a 30-27 decision at New England in Week 6.
The Saints still had a chance after the two-minute warning, trailing by six with the ball at their own 29 after a punt. A pass to Nick Toon that would have picked up a first down was negated by a holding penalty and Brees threw incomplete on third and fourth down to seal the contest.
It also gave Rex Ryan a win over his twin brother Rob, the defensive coordinator of the Saints. The two sons of former NFL coach Buddy Ryan have now been on opposite sidelines 10 times in their coaching careers, and Rex has come away victorious on seven occasions.
The Saints killed themselves with mistakes in the first half, starting with a missed 43-yard field goal by Garrett Hartley on their initial possession. Brees was intercepted on New Orleans' next series and Ivory's 27-yard run on the first play after the turnover set up Folk's 39-yard field goal for a 3-0 lead.
Brees then found Graham behind the Jets defense for a 51-yard touchdown to put New Orleans in front late in the first quarter and New York drove 93 yards on 11 plays early in the second, escaping the shadow of their own goal line with a 52-yard burst by Ivory, before settling for a 21-yard Folk field goal.
The Saints answered right back when Brees and Robert Meachem hooked up for 60 yards on the first play after the kickoff to set up a 10-yard TD strike to Graham for a 14-6 lead.
Josh Cribbs returned the next kickoff 42 yards and the Jets took advantage of the short field to score their first touchdown. Ivory capped the eight-play set with a 3-yard touchdown run to pull New York within one with 2:39 left in the half.
Antonio Cromartie then picked off Brees two plays later and the Jets went 39 yards for the go-ahead score, as Smith darted into the end zone from the three with 37 seconds left for a 20-14 advantage.
"That was the real critical (interception)," said Brees. "I thought we were set to drive for a field goal and they turn around and get touchdown. That's a big swing."
The Jets extended the lead on the initial series of the third quarter, as a 44-yard catch and run by Greg Salas set up a 47-yard Folk kick.
Another Cromartie interception with just under six minutes left in the third was negated by a defensive holding penalty and the Saints eventually trimmed the deficit to 23-17 on a career-long 55-yard Hartley field goal.
Folk was true again from 45 yards away three minutes into the fourth quarter to again give the Jets a two-score margin that proved to be the difference.
The Saints again hurt themselves with mistakes on the next series, as fullback Jed Collins -- in place of the injured Sproles -- dropped a sure first down on 3rd-and-inches and an end around on fourth down was stopped for a loss.
"Overall, there were times when we shot ourselves in the foot," Brees added. "Hats off to the Jets, though, they played very well."
New Orleans quickly got the ball back after a Jets three-and-out and drove for a 43-yard field goal from Hartley to make it 26-20 with 3:06 left.
Folk has made each of his 23 field-goal tries and all 14 of his point-after attempts this season ... The Jets lost leading receiver Jeremy Kerley to an elbow injury in the first half ... Graham has 10 touchdown receptions this season ... The Saints had just 41 rushing yards ... New Orleans outgained New York, 407-338, and had 23 first downs to 14 for the Jets ... Hartley's longest previous field goal was 53 yards ... The Jets will visit Buffalo after the bye, while the Saints will host Dallas next Sunday night.