Updated: 11/8/10 6:24 a.m.
DETROIT (AP) — Mark Sanchez and the New York Jets were finally moving the ball again, and after leading an improbable rally to force overtime, the young quarterback didn’t want to back off against the Detroit Lions.
So he lobbied coach Rex Ryan to stick with the hurry-up offense.
“All of overtime, that’s what we were going to do,” Sanchez said. “We talked about it for a second, and everybody agreed. That was our best chance to win. Why start running again? We got them on their heels, it was obvious.”
After scoring only 10 points in their previous seven quarters, the Jets scored 10 in the final 2:46 of regulation to tie Sunday’s game. Then they easily drove down the field to set up Nick Folk’s 30-yard field goal on the first possession of overtime that gave New York a 23-20 victory.
Detroit outplayed the Jets for the most part, but the Lions let the game slip away and lost quarterback Matthew Stafford, who hurt his throwing shoulder for the second time this season.
The Jets left Ford Field as one of several teams tied for the NFL’s best record at 6-2.
“When it’s under six minutes to go and you’re down 10 points and you find a way to battle back … just a great effort by our team,” Jets coach Rex Ryan said. “Obviously, we feel fortunate we got the win, but we don’t care.”
Trailing 20-10 late in the fourth quarter, Sanchez and the Jets drove 56 yards in 1:40 and scored on the quarterback’s 1-yard run with 2:46 to play. New York then caught a break when Detroit — with backup quarterback Drew Stanton in the game — called a pass on third-and-6. The ball fell incomplete, preventing the Lions from running another 40 seconds off the clock.
After a punt, the Jets took over at their own 22-yard line with 1:40 remaining — enough time for Sanchez to move the offense into position for Folk’s 36-yard field goal on the last play of regulation.
Stanton was in the game because Stafford left with a right shoulder injury with 5:19 remaining. He hurt the same shoulder in the season opener and missed five games, and backup Shaun Hill has also been hurt.
One more first down would have clinched the game for Detroit, and even a sack would have kept the clock running, but Stanton’s incompletion was a gift to the Jets.
“That’s my fault,” Lions coach Jim Schwartz said. “We need to keep that clock running. Looking back on it, don’t even give them the option to pass. Drew didn’t want to take a lost yardage on the play.”
That wasn’t the only thing that went wrong for the Lions (2-6). They lost kicker Jason Hanson briefly to an injured right leg and had to send 307-pound defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh — who played soccer growing up — out to kick an extra point after Stafford’s 1-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. Suh’s kick had plenty of power but hit the right upright, leaving Detroit ahead 13-10. The Lions could have used that point later in the game.
Suh was the first defensive lineman to attempt an extra point or a field goal since at least 1983, according to STATS, LLC.
The Lions’ mistakes in the second half enabled the Jets to escape with a win a week after being shut out 9-0 by Green Bay. New York was far from flawless, committing 11 penalties for 99 yards. Detroit committed 11 for 102.
“They’re a good football team but by far the dirtiest football team I’ve ever played against since I played the Tennessee Titans,” Jets linebacker Bart Scott said. “I swear to God I hope I see them again in life.”
That assessment was the last thing Detroit center Dominic Raiola needed to hear about after yet another frustrating loss.
“Bart Scott talks too much. He needs to shut up and play football,” Raiola said. “He’s talking about dirty play. Look at his career, and he’s talking about dirty play.”
That exchange summed up the afternoon. The Lions were stunned and angry, while the Jets left with their swagger firmly intact.
“That’s what good teams do,” Ryan said. “Find a way to win.”
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.