For at least one day, the New York Jets halted the downward spiral. Mark Sanchez was solid for the first time in several weeks, the unquestioned No. 1 quarterback presiding over a turnover-free offense in a 27-13 victory over the St. Louis Rams on Sunday. The beleaguered Sanchez was an efficient 15 of 20 passing for 178 yards and a touchdown, while Tim Tebow was merely a footnote. The Jets dominated on defense, too. And New York stopped a three-game losing streak, and will head into a Thanksgiving night meeting against the AFC East-leading New England Patriots with renewed confidence. Bilal Powell ran for the first two touchdowns of his career, Chaz Schilens scored on a 25-yard reception and Nick Folk kicked a pair of 51-yard field goals for the Jets (4-6), who were outscored 58-16 the previous two games. The Jets overcame a tumultuous practice week with several anonymous players quoted in a newspaper report disparaging the ability of Tebow, who had a handful of snaps but was no factor. Brandon Gibson caught a pair of short touchdown passes for the Rams (3-6-1), who committed three turnovers and are in an 0-4-1 slump. St. Louis' defense hasn't forced a turnover in five straight games, tying the NFL's longest such slump since 1950 according to STATS LLC.
The Rams were favored for the first time this season, a 3½-point pick coming off an impressive outing in a 24-24 tie at San Francisco a week earlier to beat a team that had been sliding. They've lost two straight at home - three in a row counting a blowout loss to the Patriots in London - after a 3-0 start. The Jets, moving past blowout losses at Seattle and against Miami, led 13-7 at the half and put it away with two touchdowns in the fourth quarter.
Konrad Reuland's 18-yard catch to the 5, the longest of his career, set up Powell's 5-yard run for a 20-7 lead early in the fourth quarter. Powell, who was questionable after sustaining a concussion against the Seahawks last week, shared carries with Shonn Greene and added an 11-yard TD run that made it 27-7 midway through the fourth quarter.
Gibson's 1-yard catch capped an 86-yard drive on the first possession and his 2-yard grab cut the deficit to 27-13 with 5:40 to go with the Rams failing on a 2-point conversion pass. Otherwise, Sam Bradford had little success against the Jets secondary while going 23 for 44 for 170 yards with an interception. The Jets capitalized on a turnover to take their first lead in 10 quarters plus an overtime on Schilens' scoring catch that made it 10-7 with 4:31 to go in the half. Two plays earlier, Muhammad Wilkerson stripped Bradford and Bart Scott returned the fumble 38 yards. Folk is the second kicker in Jets history with two 50-yard field goals in the same game. He's missed just three of 16 attempts, including a pair of blocked kicks in the last three weeks. Janoris Jenkins got all of the ball to snuff a 26-yard attempt in the first half, leaving the Jets with nothing to show for Eric Smith's interception that gave them possession at the St. Louis 13. The Jets had been 3 for 3 on fake punts before linebacker James Laurinaitis thwarted a shovel pass from up back Tebow to Lex Hilliard for a 1-yard loss on fourth-and-5 from the Rams 45. Austin Pettis' 36-yard reception was the highlight of the Rams' opening possession, a 13-play, 86-yard drive capped by Bradford's 2-yard touchdown pass to Gibson on fourth down. Both Gibson and Danny Amendola were wide open in the back of the end zone, making the Rams 7 for 12 on fourth down on the year to that point.