LANDOVER, Md. -- For the second straight week, the New York Jets staged a fourth-quarter comeback, stunning the Washington Redskins, 34-19, on Mark Sanchez’s 30-yard touchdown pass to Santonio Holmes with 4:49 remaining. A week ago, Sanchez-to-Holmes beat the Buffalo Bills in the final minute.
What it means: The Jets (7-5) won their second straight and, coupled with the Cincinnati Bengals’ loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, moved into a tie for the second wild-card spot in the AFC.
One-play difference: Sanchez & Co. capped a brutal offensive performance with one shining moment, the 30-yard scoring pass to Holmes. After throwing slants all day, they burned the Redskins with a slant-and-go. Holmes ran a double move on CB Josh Wilson to break into the clear on a corner route. Sanchez made his best throw of the day.
The Jets secured the win an 11-yard TD run by Shonn Greene, erasing what would’ve been an embarrassing offensive day. For 50-plus minutes, they made costly penalties, wasted timeouts and generally made a mess of things. They went 74 yards on their opening possession for a touchdown, then took a three-quarter hiatus.
Mr. Clutch: Sanchez isn’t the prettiest passer, but he gets it done in crunch time. It was the 10th fourth-quarter comeback/overtime win of his career.
Awesome D: After a horrible start, the Jets regained their composure on defense and absolutely stuffed the Redskins. They made Rex Grossman look bad, which isn’t hard to do, and refused to budge in the last three quarters. The Redskins produced 304 total yards. OLB Aaron Maybin recorded another sack, giving him six on the season. The Jets also had two takeaways, one on a strip sack by Maybin.
Butter-finger brigade: It’s a simple concept: See the ball, catch the ball. The Jets’ punt and kickoff returners haven’t mastered that. Rookie Jeremy Kerley committed the sixth special-teams turnover (yes, sixth), muffing a punt late in the second quarter. The Redskins converted the mistake into a gift field goal, taking a 13-10 halftime lead.
That makes four straight games in which the Jets either muffed or fumbled a return. Inexcusable. Not surprisingly, Kerley was replaced by Jim Leonhard, the only guy who can catch a punt.
Solid protection: One of the big storylines leading into the game was the Jets’ ability to block outside pass rushers, Brian Orakpo and rookie Ryan Kerrigan. Mark that a win for the Jets’ offensive line, who didn’t allow a sack for the second straight week.
Give credit to OTs D’Brickashaw Ferguson and Wayne Hunter. The Jets also employed a lot of three-step drops, with Sanchez delivering the ball quickly. They moved the pocket on occasion, letting Sanchez roll out and throw on the run, which is one of his strengths.
The challenger: Rex Ryan won two replay challenges, the latter of which resulted in a change of possession. Leonhard recovered a fumble at the Redskins’ 29 -- initially Roy Helu was ruled down by contact -- but they failed to capitalize, naturally. Folk missed from 40 yards.
LT dinged: LaDainian Tomlinson was limited to only a handful of plays after reinjured his left knee on his first “touch,” a screen pass in the first quarter.
What’s ahead: The Jets return home to face the offensively challenged Kansas City Chiefs, who lost QB Kyle Orton on Sunday to a finger injury on his first play as a Chief. It looks like the Jets will see Tyler Palko as the Chiefs' starting QB.