Buzzing on Yahoo Sports:

Texans hold off Jets to stay undefeated

The SportsXchange

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The Houston Texans weren't dominant Monday night. But they were more than good enough to remain perfect.

Arian Foster rushed for 152 yards and a touchdown, Matt Schaub threw for 209 yards and another score and Houston's top-ranked defense came up with several timely stops as Texans held off the pesky New York Jets 23-17 at MetLife Stadium.

The Texans (5-0) never trailed in extending the best start in franchise history. Houston and Atlanta are the NFL's lone remaining unbeaten teams.

"Obviously, it's as good a start as you can have," Texans coach Gary Kubiak said. "We've just got to keep going, stay focused on ourselves and stay away from hurting ourselves and I think we'll win our share."

The Texans made more mistakes Monday than Kubiak would have liked, particularly on special teams, but emerging superstar J.J. Watt keyed a defense that put the clamps on the Jets whenever they got within striking distance.

With the Jets down 14-7 and driving for the potential tying score late in the first half, Watt tipped a Mark Sanchez pass that Brice McCain intercepted and returned 86 yards to set up Shayne Graham's 27-yard field goal.

The Jets had two chances to take the lead in the fourth quarter, but Watt sacked Sanchez at the Texans' 40-yard-line to end one threat. On the Jets' next series, McCain and Bradie James split a sack immediately before Kareem Jackson picked off a Sanchez pass near midfield with 1:51 left.

"We stood up defensively in the fourth quarter, had some big stops, none bigger than Kareem's play there at the end," Kubiak said.

Said Watt: "We had a lot of fun out there, but it wasn't an easy one by any means."

The Jets (2-3) dropped their second consecutive game despite showing signs of life on offense for the first time in three weeks. Joe McKnight returned a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter, and Sanchez was 14-of-31 for 230 yards, one touchdown and the two costly interceptions.

"The thing that is upsetting is the fact that we helped them," Jets coach Rex Ryan said. "Clearly, that's a good football team. They don't need any help."

The Jets, who lost to the 49ers 34-0 eight days earlier, seemed destined for another lopsided loss when Schaub directed an eight-play, 85-yard, game-opening drive that he capped with a 34-yard touchdown pass off play action to a wide-open Owen Daniels.

"We knew (the Jets) were going to come out ready to play, fired up and with a lot of energy, and we just had to try and take that wind out of their sails," Schaub said. "Guys executed, we found a big play there to Owen and really started the game fast."

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 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 McKnight's 100-yard kickoff return.

Despite the defeat, the Jets certainly showed more life than they did against the 49ers. The Jets, who entered the game with one touchdown in their last 33 possessions, were less conservative than usual, albeit to mixed results.

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. Cornerback Antonio Cromartie lined up at wide receiver in the second quarter and almost hauled in a long pass from Sanchez.

And Wildcat quarterback Tim Tebow was much more involved both on special teams, where he ran for a first down on a fake punt deep in Jets territory in the first quarter, and on offense, where he had a 13-yard rush out of the Wildcat formation to set up a first-and-goal that the Jets converted into a Nick Folk field goal.

"They threw the kitchen sink at us," Kubiak said. "Onside kick, fake punt, you name it, we got it all. But I thought we were handling ourselves well. We just couldn't make that play to kind of put the game away."

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-game winning streak is second-longest 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.
Sign up for Yahoo Fantasy Football
View Comments (7)