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Jets top Skins, keep playoff hopes alive

New York Jets wide receiver Santonio Holmes celebrates

New York Jets wide receiver Santonio Holmes celebrates his touchdown in front of Washington Redskins cornerback Josh Wilson during the second half. (Dec. 4, 2011) Photo Credit: AP

LANDOVER, Md. -- They remained confident, each displaying a certain level of calmness.

After all, the Jets have had a ton of practice lately with the position in which they found themselves midway through the fourth quarter Sunday. So rather than get uptight because they were going to need another late comeback to beat the Redskins, the Jets actually seemed to be at ease in what's become a comfort zone for them.

"We've been in that situation a lot of times," running back Shonn Greene said. "We all knew what the task at hand was and we all focused in."

With razor-like sharpness, too.

Mark Sanchez threw a go-ahead 30-yard touchdown pass to Santonio Holmes with 4:49 left, the first of three TDs by the Jets in a span of 3:02 as they pulled away for a nondescript 34-19 win at FedEx Field.

Greene had touchdown runs of 9 and 25 yards in the final four minutes for the Jets (7-5), who kept pace in the AFC playoff picture. With four games to play, they're in a virtual four-way tie with Cincinnati, Tennessee and Oakland or Denver for the final wild-card spot.

Greene rumbled for 88 yards and three TDs on 22 carries and was effective in the Wildcat package. His second score, a 9-yarder in the fourth quarter off a direct snap, came out of the formation, which the Jets haven't used much this season.

Sanchez, who led his ninth fourth-quarter comeback win, completed 19 of 32 attempts for only 165 yards, including the toss to Holmes for a 20-16 lead.

"It's the competitiveness," Rex Ryan said. "Nobody wants to acknowledge it, but we all look at the other parts. Every quarterback struggles with the exception of Peyton [Manning] and [Tom] Brady, I think. I take a guy that can roll up his sleeves and say, 'You know what? We're going to get it done,' and everybody believes in him. It's just a matter of time."

On Sunday, it was a matter of "Tone Time." Trailing 16-13, the Jets faced a second-and-5 at the Redskins' 30-yard line. Sanchez dropped back and lofted a nice pass in Holmes' direction down the left side. The wide receiver had beaten Josh Wilson on a "sluggo" route, as in slant and go -- faking a slant and then breaking downfield to get free of the cornerback -- and caught the ball in stride at the 5.

"The defender bit on the slant move," Holmes said. "It was a double-move route and he jumped all over the first part of the route and the rest was history. Mark put the ball in a great place for me to catch it, and that's the ballgame."

Especially considering the way Rex Grossman was playing. He fumbled once, threw an interception and completed only 19 of 46 passes for 221 yards.

But the Jets weren't exactly an offensive juggernaut themselves early on, managing only 129 first-half yards against Washington (4-8). The Jets trailed 13-10 at halftime after failing to capitalize much on Grossman's sloppy play.

"It is frustrating sometimes, yeah, it is," cornerback Darrelle Revis said. "I think it's always been our motto on defense is just turning over the ball and giving it back to the offense."

That's what Revis thought Grossman did a wee bit too much of. "He turned the ball over," he said. "Coming into this game, that's what we wanted to do. We know he turns it over a lot, so we just wanted to put pressure on him, give him some different looks and get him to throw a turnover."

Or make him fumble. With Washington trailing by four and staring at a third-and-10 at its 20, Aaron Maybin sacked Grossman and forced a fumble recovered by the Jets' Calvin Pace at the 9 with 4:26 left. Two plays later, Greene bulldozed his way for a 9-yard touchdown and a 27-16 lead.

After Graham Gano's field goal made it a one-possession game, Antonio Cromartie recovered an onside kick and brought it back 17 yards to the Redskins' 30. Greene added his 25-yard TD run with 1:47 left, although Ryan wanted him to kneel at the 1 so the Jets could run out the clock.

The Jets' latest come-from-behind thriller was complete, keeping them in the playoff picture.

"That's huge," Sanchez said. "Two in a row is huge, but these are all for nothing if we don't win the next few. We need to cherish this victory tonight on this train ride home, then get ready for a good Kansas City team at our place."

New York Sports