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Sanchez-to-Holmes caps another thrilling Jets win

Santonio Holmes of the New York Jets scores

Santonio Holmes of the New York Jets scores a touchdown against the Houston Texans during the third quarter. (Nov. 21, 2010) Credit: Getty Images

They've been living on the edge for weeks, getting pushed to the brink before snapping right back in rubber-band fashion. The Jets should be rewarded an honorary doctorate from the college of their choice, given the way they've mastered the art of the exhilarating comeback.

Their latest exam came Sunday, when, thanks to that familiar late-game dynamic duo of Mark Sanchez and Santonio Holmes, they found a way to pull out a 30-27 win over the Texans at New Meadowlands Stadium despite blowing a 16-point fourth-quarter lead.

The second-year quarterback hit Holmes for a 6-yard touchdown with 10 seconds left, giving the Jets yet another gut-churning victory and marking the fourth time in their last five games they've won in the closing moments.

"Obviously, we'd like to be able to win these games a little easier than we have been, but we keep finding ways to win, and that's what championship teams do," Rex Ryan said. "Again, if I have to apologize for it every week, I will all the way to the Super Bowl."

Ryan almost had to apologize for the Jets (8-2) coming extremely close to blowing the 23-7 cushion they had after Nick Folk hit a 30-yard field goal with 14:51 left. Houston, which lost on a 50-yard, last-second Hail Mary pass in Jacksonville a week ago, stormed back, carving the Jets' defense up for 20 points in 11:26.

Neil Rackers' 38-yard field goal paired with an all-too-easy 43-yard touchdown toss from Matt Schaub to Jets castoff Joel Dreessen - which came one play after Shonn Greene's fumble - shaved the Jets' lead to 23-17 with 9:14 left.

Houston (4-6) took a 24-23 lead on Arian Foster's 1-yard TD run with 2:18 to play, and cashed in a Sanchez interception for a 22-yard field goal by Rackers and a 27-23 advantage with 55 seconds remaining.

"We wouldn't panic," linebacker Calvin Pace said. "I think last year, we would've panicked or something crazy would've happened."

Panic? These cardiac Jets? Not hardly. Not after all the practice they've had, including coming off back-to-back OT road wins against the Browns and Lions.

Starting at their 28, Sanchez hit LaDainian Tomlinson on two successive plays for a total of 24 yards to get to the Texans' 48. He spiked the ball to stop the clock with 24 seconds left, and on the next play, connected with Braylon Edwards down the right sideline for 42 yards to set up a first-and-goal at the 6 with 16 seconds remaining.

"In Cover 2, I'm not the first look on that," Edwards said. "But the safety cheated to the slot, which means I was there and Mark made a good play."

Holmes capped the five-play, 72-yard, 39-second drive with a nifty grab over cornerback Glover Quin just in front of the back left pylon, likely making all the fans who filed out early wish they had stayed glued to their seats.

"When we made the call, I kind of licked my lips and looked up at Brad [Smith], and I knew this play was something we had been working on all week in practice," Holmes said. "It just popped up and was so clean for me coming out. I knew the defender would try to strike and hit my hands down, but I just made it so he wouldn't see my hands come up at the last minute and just catch the ball in the back of the end zone."

Edwards said, "This is becoming our style of football - winning in the end, staying into it and making plays when they count at the end. It's not the best way to win, but at the end of the day, it is a win."

A win that just seems all too familiar.

"It was the same feeling for the past three weeks, sort of like Groundhog Day," Sanchez said. "We just know that we're not out until the final whistle."

Added Darrelle Revis, "We are excited about the win, but we wanted to come in and pummel the Texans and we were pummeling them. But when we have a team down, we just have to finish them off and we have to get to that stage."


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