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Jets back on track with road win

The SportsXchange

ST. LOUIS -- The NFL's most dysfunctional team played like the team its coach insists it can be instead of the one that stumbled to a 3-6 record prior to Sunday.

Dominating most of the last three quarters, the New York Jets snapped a three-game losing streak with a methodical 27-13 win over mistake-prone St. Louis in the Edward Jones Dome.

Quarterback Mark Sanchez was an efficient 15 of 20 for 178 yards and the go-ahead touchdown, a perfect 25-yard throw off play-action to Chaz Schilens with 4:31 left in the first half.

Bilal Powell broke the game open in the fourth quarter with scoring runs of 5 and 11 yards, while Nick Folk added a pair of 51-yard field goals.

Defensively, the Jets (4-6) gave up an 86-yard touchdown drive on the Rams' first possession and little else until Brandon Gibson's second scoring catch, a 2-yarder with 5:40 remaining in the game.

Rams quarterback Sam Bradford completed 22 of 43 passes for just 170 yards with an interception and also lost a fumble while being sacked in the second quarter.

"What I liked about this game was that it was a solid performance all the way around," New York coach Rex Ryan said. "We had a field goal blocked and there were a couple of other things we could have done better, but we were solid.

"We ran the ball 41 times, Mark was efficient and our defense played well after their first scoring drive. All the hard work our guys have put in on the practice field and in the classroom paid off on the game field today."

Coming off the NFL's first tie in four seasons, a 24-24 deadlock last week at the San Francisco 49ers, St. Louis admitted to having a sour taste in its mouth following a litany of mistakes which denied it a victory over the NFC West leaders.

That taste was no sweeter after this performance. The Rams (3-6-1), which saw their winless streak stretch to five games, finished the day with three turnovers. They also hurt themselves when Rodney McLeod's holding penalty nullified Chris Givens' go-ahead 96-yard kickoff return touchdown in the first half's last minute.

"Every loss hurts, especially when you're at home with the fans on your side," Gibson said. "We had a good first drive but I think after that, we shot ourselves in the foot too much."

It was a much-needed result for the Jets, who spent a good chunk of this week in tabloid headlines after some players anonymously ripped backup quarterback Tim Tebow while saying Sanchez was the man to quarterback their team. Ryan bashed Tebow's faceless critics and many wondered if the emotional coach, who has steadfastly believed his team could make a playoff run, was losing the locker room.

In the middle of all that hub-bub, a nameless Jets official referred to Schilens and Jeremy Kerley, New York's top receivers, as "garbage weapons."

Until at least Thursday night, when the Jets host their AFC East rival New England Patriots to cap the NFL's Thanksgiving schedule, they can put this latest controversy to bed.

"I thought we executed well all day," left tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson said. "There's no question we needed this win."

Meanwhile, St. Louis remains in the NFC West basement. Its last win was Oct. 4 against then-unbeaten Arizona, where it goes next week in a battle of teams that are a combined 0-10-1 since that Thursday night tussle.

"We just have to try to turn things around," defensive end Robert Quinn said. "I thought we had a good game plan today but you have to give the Jets credit because they made more plays than we did. Maybe we can regain momentum next week."

Notes: Rams LB Mario Haggan injured his elbow on the game's third play while trying to tackle Jets backup QB Tim Tebow and wasn't able to return. ... Tebow got in for three snaps offensively, rushing twice for minus-5 yards and handing off to Jeremy Kerley in the second quarter. Tebow also completed a shovel pass to Lex Hilliard on a fake punt in the second quarter, but the play lost a yard. ... St. Louis offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer held the same position for the Jets from 2006-11. ... Defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson was a force for the Jets with four tackles, a sack and a forced fumble. He also blocked Rams right tackle Barry Richardson into running back Steven Jackson on a third-quarter play, forcing Jackson into Yeremiah Bell for a 4-yard loss.
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