They’re all in the playbook lately for the New York Jets.
Santonio Holmes caught a 6-yard touchdown pass from Mark Sanchez with 10 seconds left, lifting the Jets to an unlikely 30-27 comeback victory over the Houston Texans on Sunday.
”I want to apologize to all the Jets fans for affecting the heart a little bit,” coach Rex Ryan said. ”But we’ll take the win.”
Especially since it appeared the Jets were on their way to a heartbreaking loss.
”We don’t think we’re ever out of it at all,” tight end Dustin Keller said. ”We tick ourselves off when we put ourselves in those situations, but we know that we’re always capable of coming back in any game in any situation.”
They’ve certainly proven that during the last three weeks with consecutive overtime wins on the road and now a victory that appeared improbable.
”I swear it’s like `Groundhog Day,”’ a beaming Sanchez said.
After blowing a 16-point lead in the fourth quarter, the Jets (8-2) trailed 27-23 with less than a minute left. But Sanchez completed two passes to LaDainian Tomlinson and then had a pretty 42-yard toss to Braylon Edwards with 16 seconds remaining. Edwards was knocked out of bounds by Eugene Wilson, stopping the clock and giving the Jets a chance to win.
On the next play, Sanchez coolly found Holmes streaking into the left corner of the end zone for the winning score, sending the New Meadowlands Stadium crowd into a frenzy.
”It’s just me playing football,” Holmes said.
A video replay confirmed that Holmes, whose 37-yard touchdown catch won it in overtime at Cleveland last week and set up the win at Detroit with a 52-yard reception in OT, got both feet in bounds.
”We’re cutting it awfully close,” Sanchez said. ”I don’t think anybody has any finger nails left if they’re a Jets fan.”
The Jets were coming off becoming the first team to win consecutive overtime games on the road, and looked as though they were going to fall to 2-3 at home.
But it was another heartbreaking loss for the Texans (4-6), who fell last week on a desperation heave as time expired at Jacksonville. Two weeks ago, Houston lost to San Diego on a late interception after driving for a potential go-ahead score in the fourth quarter.
”We deserve better in these last three games,” Texans defensive end Mario Williams said. ”We were there. Everything is there and we’re doing great and all of a sudden, we let the big play go. It’s unheard of. We just keep having it happen to us.”
It seemed Houston was in good shape in this one as Arian Foster scored a questionable go-ahead 1-yard touchdown with 2:18 remaining.
Foster, the NFL’s leading rusher, was hit at the goal line but reached out as he landed on a teammate and the ball broke the plane for a touchdown. Ryan challenged the call, thinking Foster was down, but the play was upheld after replay review.
Neil Rackers kicked a 22-yard field goal with 55 seconds to go after Sanchez was intercepted by Kevin Bentley – sending thousands of fans to the exits.
For those who stayed, they were treated to another incredible ending.
”If I have to apologize for it every week from here on out, I will,” Ryan said, ”all the way to the Super Bowl.”
Sanchez finished 22 for 38 for 315 yards and three touchdowns, including two to Holmes and one to Edwards. Holmes finished with seven catches for 126 yards.
New York gets back to work quickly, with another home game Thursday night against Cincinnati.
Foster had 84 yards rushing and two touchdown runs. Matt Schaub, starting after being hospitalized Tuesday night with a knee injury, threw for 254 yards and a touchdown to Joel Dreessen.
”I’m still searching for the adjective for how I would describe it,” Schaub said. ”It’s tough to deal with.”
The Jets went up 20-7 on Holmes’ 41-yard touchdown catch with 4:38 remaining in the third quarter.
The score came moments after a man jumped onto the field and dashed across the turf for about 80 yards before tripping and then being jumped on by several security officers, including two New Jersey State troopers. He was handcuffed and led away from the field.
Nick Folk kicked a 30-yard field goal to make it 23-7 and giving the Jets what appeared to be a comfortable lead with 9 seconds into the fourth quarter.
Houston then began its comeback with Rackers’ 38-yard field goal with 12:21 that made it 23-10.
The Texans also took advantage of a fumble by Shonn Greene, scoring immediately after Brian Cushing knocked the ball loose and Bentley recovered. Schaub found Dreessen wide open down the left sideline and the big tight end ran into the end zone untouched for a 43-yard touchdown that made it 23-17 with 9:14 left.
”It was a great comeback, then we let it slip away,” Texans owner Bob McNair said. ”When it’s going tough, you’ve got to step up. They stepped up. We didn’t. They are all painful.”
Notes: Jets right tackle Damien Woody left with a knee injury and didn’t return. Ryan had no update on his status. … Tomlinson passed Curtis Martin for seventh place on the NFL’s career yards from scrimmage list. He has 17,452 combined rushing and receiving yards. Marcus Allen, with 17,654 yards, is next on the list. … Texans LB Zac Diles (illness) and TE Owen Daniels (hamstring) were inactive, as was Jets WR Jerricho Cotchery (groin).