For three quarters, the Jets offense was stalling, an all too familiar sight.
But with one beautifully thrown pass down the left sideline, all of that changed in a heartbeat.
Santonio Holmes ran a perfect Sluggo route, a double-move that enabled him to get behind his defender, and Mark Sanchez threw his best pass of the game when the Jets need it most to give the Jets the lead.
The Jets, who had scored just one touchdown all game until that point, scored three touchdowns in the fourth quarter to pull away from the Washington Redskins and turn a tight game into a 34-19 laughter.
Shonn Greene scored a career-high three rushing touchdowns, one out of the Wildcat formation, and finished with over 100 yards from scrimmage.
The Jets offensive line collectively were the MVP’s of the game, as they protected Sanchez admirably, as the young quarterback was sacked zero times and did not turn the ball over either.
Sanchez and the offense got off to a roaring start, a 17-play touchdown drive on their opening drive, but then went dormant after halftime until he found Holmes on the slant-and-go with a perfect pass.
Holmes finished with 58 yards receiving, most of which was on that 30-yard touchdown that gave the Jets a lead they would never relinquish with 4:49 left.
The Jets scored twice more in the final three minutes, with one touchdown aided by terrific field position after yet another strip sack by Aaron Maybin.
The man they call “mayhem” has been a revelation for the Green and White. It was his 6th sack and 4th forced fumble in just 9 games this season.
“Fourth-quarter sacks win games,” said Jets coach Rex Ryan. “Fourth-quarter sacks are even better. … I think we need to get some jerseys out there with ‘Mayhem’ on their back.”
For the Jets and their young quarterback, it was the 10th time in his three seasons that he’s led the team on a fourth quarter comeback, and his second in as many weeks.
The 25-year-old Sanchez completed passes to ten different receivers, and also became the fifth quarterback in the Super Bowl era to win 30+ games (including playoffs) in his first three seasons.
Speaking of playoffs, the Jets (7-5) are still not in a position to control their own destiny, but a win certainly doesn’t hurt.
The Cincinnati Bengals fell to 7-5 with a loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, which is huge for all of the AFC playoff hopefuls. However, the Tennessee Titans also reached 7-5 with a win, and they’re right there in the mix as well.
In the AFC West, however, there was a flip-flop at the top. The Denver Broncos (7-5) took over the division lead as the Oakland Raiders (7-5) fell to the Miami Dolphins.
According to the NFL’s official playoff tracker, the Bengals, Titans and Raiders all have a tiebreaker over the Jets as of December 4. The first two have a conference record tiebreaker, while Oakland has a head-to-head.
The Jets can’t worry about what other teams are doing, however. They have to focus on next week’s game, a home game against the Kansas City Chiefs. There are no easy games in this league. Every game is critical.
But the Jets are still alive, and they will fight on. It’s on to the next one for Gang Green.