JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The New York Jets finally have a winning streak.
Riding an effective running game and stout defense in the third quarter, the Jets defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars 17-10 on Sunday at EverBank Field.
With its first two-game winning streak of the season, New York (6-7) kept alive its faint playoff hopes.
"Hopefully, we can ride the wave," Jets linebacker Calvin Pace said. "A lot of people counted us out. We just have to play hard these next few weeks."
The Jets overcame a bleak first half that included two turnovers and only 94 total yards.
New York running backs Shonn Greene and Bilal Powell took turns battering the Jacksonville defense in the second half, each scoring a touchdown and alleviating some pressure on quarterback Mark Sanchez, who earned his first win as a starter since Nov. 18.
The clinching score came early in the fourth quarter on Powell's 4-yard run that gave the Jets a 17-3 lead. Powell carried the ball on the last seven plays of the 57-yard drive.
"It wasn't great in the first half, but we stayed the course, started protecting the football better, and I thought our offensive line really took the ballgame over, as well as our defense in the third quarter," Jets coach Rex Ryan said. "It's tough to win games in the NFL, and we knew we were going to get their best shot."
Greene, who scored from 1 yard out on the Jets' first possession of the second half, gained 77 yards on 20 carries. On the drive, Greene carried six times for 29 yards.
Powell finished with 78 yards on 19 attempts.
Sanchez completed 12 of 19 passes for 111 yards but threw only eight times in the second half.
Greene's touchdown ended a streak of 16 consecutive possessions without a score for the Jets. New York's Nick Folk added a 44-yard field goal in the third period.
The Jaguars (2-11) cut the Jets' lead to 17-10 on Montell Owens' 32-yard run with 7:06 remaining in the fourth quarter, but they failed to threaten on two subsequent attempts to tie the game.
Quarterback Chad Henne (21-for-43 for 185 yards) took the Jaguars to the Jets' 27 in the closing seconds but was intercepted by Ellis Lankster with 15 seconds left.
"I was trying to throw it out of bounds," said Henne, who threw two interceptions. "I was just trying to get it as far out of bounds as I could, and it just didn't end up that way."
The Jets' defense held the Jaguars to a 2-for-15 success rate on third-down conversions and allowed the Jaguars only 6 total yards on four three-and-out drives in the third period.
Jacksonville beat Tennessee two weeks ago but has since lost to the Bills and the Jets.
"It's the tale of one quarter that changed the momentum of that game," Jaguars coach Mike Mularkey said. "They started to run the ball, and we were not effective offensively. "
A subplot throughout the afternoon was whether New York backup quarterback Tim Tebow, who grew up and played high school football in the Jacksonville area and won the Heisman Trophy at the University of Florida, would get into the game. He was on the active list and was throwing on the field 2 1/2 hours before the game.
However, Tebow never left the sideline as Ryan weathered his team's scoreless first half and stuck with Sanchez.
It was the second time Tebow had appeared in his hometown as a member of the visiting team. He got in for two plays for Denver during the opening game of his rookie season in 2010, carrying the ball once for a short gain.
A dismal first half for both teams ended in a 3-0 Jaguars lead, as Josh Scobee kicked a 31-yard field goal with 6:44 remaining in the second quarter. One of two first-half turnovers for the Jets, a fumble by Sanchez after being sacked by Jason Babin, led to the field goal.
The Jaguars failed to take advantage of another chance on the Jets' next possession. After the Jets picked up a first down at midfield, wide receiver Jeremy Kerley fumbled at the end of a 7-yard reception, with cornerback Derek Cox forcing the fumble and safety Dwight Lowery scooping it up and dashing 62 yards down the sideline for an apparent touchdown -- which was the ruling on the field.
However, the play was reviewed, and Lowery was ruled down because Kerley bumped against him with his right shoulder while both were on the ground. The Jaguars retained possession but had to punt five plays later.
The Jaguars also wasted a long drive on their first possession of the game, going from their own 33-yard line to the Jets' 20 in 12 plays. The drive included a 10-yard completion to tackle Guy Whimper, who reported as an eligible receiver, and five carries for 20 yards by Owens, a special teams player pressed into service at running back because of the Jags' numerous injuries. Owens wound up with 91 yards on 14 carries.
On a third-and-1 play at the Jets' 11, Henne was intercepted by linebacker Bart Scott on a pass tipped by another linebacker, Garrett McIntyre.
NOTES: Fans at the game wore the entire Tebow jersey ensemble. There were Jets, Denver Broncos and University of Florida jerseys with Tebow's No. 15 spotted throughout the parking lots and in the stands. ... Jets running back Joe McKnight was limited because of a migraine headache he developed before the game. ... The Jets' inactives were quarterback Greg McElroy, wide receivers Jordan White and Clyde Gates, guard Caleb Schlauderaff, tight end Dustin Keller, linebacker Ricky Sapp and defensive lineman Damon Harrison. ... The Jaguars' inactives included hobbling running backs Maurice Jones-Drew and Rashad Jennings, defensive ends George Selvie and John Chick, big-play wide receiver Cecil Shorts, cornerback Aaron Ross and guard Mike Brewster. ... Depth at tight end seemed to become even more of a concern for the Jets when Keller's replacement in the lineup, Jeff Cumberland, left the game with an injury in the second quarter. Cumberland was replaced by second-year Stanford product Konrad Reuland, but Cumberland was able to return and made a key reception for 37 yards to help the Jets burn the clock. ... Folk broke a slump with his third-quarter field goal. He was unsuccessful on four of his previous six attempts. With the exception of the blocked kick, the misses were on attempts of 44 yards on longer.