For a very long while, it appeared the Jets would go down to their second straight defeat Sunday in Detroit. But by the grace of an offense that caught fire at the right time and a Lions defense that made one horrible mistake late, the Jets won 23-20 in overtime.
Mark Sanchez and Santonio Holmes hooked up on a 52-yard completion on the first possession of overtime to set up Nick Folk for the winning, 30-yard field goal with 12:44 remaining in the extra period. The Lions never touched the ball outside of regulation.
The Jets rose to 6-2 and tied with New England for first in the AFC East, but the win in Detroit really had less to do with the Jets than the 2-6 Lions’ inability to hold them off. Detroit actually led 20-10 until late in the fourth quarter, having put together touchdown drives of 80 and 90 yards in the first and fourth quarters.
But the Jets crept back into it with 2:46 remaining in regulation when Sanchez, who finished 22-of-39 for 323 yards with a touchdown and an interception, snuck it in from the 1 to end a six-play, 56-yard drive.
Then things really got interesting. After the defense caused a three-and-out series, the Jets moved from their 22 with help from Dustin Keller’s drive-maintaining first-down catch. With the Jets unable to stop the clock, LaDainian Tomlinson, held to just 55 yards rushing, caught an 11-yarder, and then moved into Lions territory with his reception. Experienced linebacker Julian Peterson hit him out of bounds, though, and the 15-yard penalty set up Folk for the tying, 36-yard field goal as regulation expired.
Sanchez’ overtime pass to Holmes was a medium route on which Holmes turned, shook off a safety, and got to the 16 before DeAndre Levy dragged him down. They kicked the field goal on third down.
The Jets knocked both starting quarterback Matthew Stafford and placekicker Jason Hanson out of the game.