EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Arian Foster rushed for 152 yards and a touchdown and Matt Schaub threw for 209 yards and another score as the Houston Texans remained unbeaten by holding off the pesky New York Jets 23-17 at MetLife Stadium on Monday night.
The Texans (5-0) never trailed in extending the best start in franchise history. The Jets (2-3) dropped their second in a row despite showing signs of life on offense for the first time in three weeks.
Schaub's 34-yard touchdown pass off play action to a wide-open Owen Daniels capped an eight-play, 85-yard, game-opening drive and gave the Texans a quick 7-0 lead. Foster carved up the Jets in the first half, when he had 100 yards on just 10 carries, including a 13-yard touchdown run in the second quarter in which he waltzed almost untouched into the end zone to give the Texans a 14-7 lead.
The Jets were better defensively in the second half, but the Texans converted three third-down opportunities on their first drive of the second half, which Shayne Graham ended with a 42-yard field goal. And Graham's 22-yard field goal later in the third quarter came after a failed onside kick by the Jets after Joe McKnight's 100-yard kickoff return.
Mark Sanchez was 14-of-31 for 230 yards, one touchdown and two costly interceptions for the Jets, who had two chances to take the lead in the fourth quarter. Sanchez was sacked by J.J. Watt on third down at the Texans' 40-yard-line to end one threat and was later picked off by Kareem Jackson near midfield with 1:51 left.
Sanchez also cost the Jets at least three points late in the first half, when, with the Jets down 14-7, his tipped red zone pass intended for Jeremy Kerley (five catches for 94 yards) was intercepted by Brice McCain, who returned it 86 yards to the Jets' 9-yard line. Graham's 27-yard field goal as time expired in the second quarter extended the Texans' lead to 17-7.
Despite the defeat, the Jets certainly showed more life than they had eight days earlier, when they were shut out by the 49ers 34-0. The Jets, who entered the game with one touchdown in their last 33 possessions, were less conservative than usual, albeit to mixed results.
Tim Tebow took his first snap on the Jets' third play from scrimmage and just missed connecting on a long pass with new wide receiver Jason Hill.
Sanchez had five completions of at least 24 yards, including a 27-yard touchdown pass to Jeff Cumberland that tied the game at 7-7 in the first quarter
On fourth-and-one from the Jets' 24 late in the first quarter, Tebow rushed for a first down on a fake punt. Antonio Cromartie lined up at wide receiver in the second quarter and almost hauled in a long pass from Sanchez. And a 13-yard rush by Tebow out of the Wildcat formation set up a first-and-goal in the fourth quarter that the Jets eventually converted into a field goal by Nick Folk for their final points.
Each team suffered potentially costly injuries. Texans linebacker Brian Cushing left the game in the second quarter with a left knee injury, while Jets center Nick Mangold exited with an ankle injury on the first play of the second half.
NOTES: Houston running back Ben Tate, who was listed as questionable with a toe injury, was one of the Texans' seven inactives. Justin Forsett took Tate's spot as the backup to starter Arian Foster. ... The Texans five straight wins is the second-longest winning streak in franchise history. The Texans won seven in a row last year. ... For the Jets, tight end Dustin Keller (hamstring) was inactive for the fourth straight game while wide receiver Stephen Hill (hamstring), fullback John Conner (hamstring) and nose tackle Sione Po'uha (back) were all out for the second time this season. ... The Jets inducted wide receiver Wesley Walker and defensive end Mark Gastineau into their Ring of Honor at halftime. Walker (13 seasons) and Gastineau (11 seasons) each spent their entire NFL careers with the Jets.