Sanchez Shines with Four TD’s as Jets Top Bills 28-24

Mark Sanchez completed fewer than 50 percent of his passes and heard boos from the crowd. But those same fans cheered in unison when the third-year quarterback found Santonio Holmes for a 16-yard touchdown with 1:01 remaining in the fourth quarter to lift the Jets to a much-needed 28-24 win over the Bills.

Sanchez set a career-high with four touchdown passes while finishing with 180 yards and one interception for the Jets (6-5), who snapped a two-game losing streak.

“One thing we can say is we finished,” said New York head coach Rex Ryan. “It might not have been the prettiest thing, but we finished and I’ll take that any day of the week.”

Ryan Fitzpatrick connected on 26-of-39 throws for 264 yards and three touchdowns for Buffalo (5-6), which has dropped four straight. The Bills’ current slide began with a 27-11 home loss to the Jets on November 6.

The teams were tied entering the fourth quarter, and Dave Rayner kicked a 53- yard field goal to put the Bills up 24-21 with a little more than five minutes gone.

New York was forced to punt on its next possession, but got the ball back with 5:44 to play. Sanchez found Patrick Turner for a 12-yard gain on 3rd-and-8 from the Buffalo 47. On the first play following the two-minute warning, Plaxico Burress made a one-handed grab near the sideline on 3rd-and-11 to move the ball to the Buffalo 18. Two plays later, Sanchez rolled to his right and found Holmes in the end zone.

The Bills marched to the New York 24, but the game ended with Fitzpatrick throwing three straight incompletions.

Buffalo went three-and-out on its first drive of the game, but converted a trio of third downs during its second possession, one that ended with Fitzpatrick finding David Nelson for an eight-yard touchdown.

The Jets, who had just one first down on their first two drives, answered with a 10-play, 78-yard sequence, tying the game on Dustin Keller’s three-yard TD reception early in the second quarter.

Later, New York was pinned deep in its own territory and Sanchez’s throw from the end zone was picked off by Drayton Florence. A seven-yard return set the Bills up at the Jets’ 20-yard line.

Three plays later, Stevie Johnson beat Darrelle Revis on a five-yard slant for the go-ahead touchdown. He then proceeded to mock Burress by pretending to shoot himself in the thigh in the end zone — calling to mind a 2008 accidental shooting that led to Burress serving time in jail. He also imitated Holmes’ touchdown celebration of acting like an airplane before throwing himself to the ground as if the plane crashed.

His actions resulted in a costly penalty, and the Jets wound up tying the game at 14.

Rayner had to kick off from the 20 after Johnson’s infraction and compounded the problem by driving the ball right into the front line of the New York blockers. The Jets recovered and capitalized on the short field, as Sanchez hooked up with Burress for a 14-yard touchdown with 1:03 remaining in the first half.

New York grabbed its first lead of the game when Sanchez closed the Jets’ opening drive of the third quarter with an 18-yard scoring strike to Keller.

The Jets then stopped the Bills, but Antonio Cromartie muffed the punt. Buffalo recovered at the New York 36 and, on the next play, former Jet Brad Smith made a juggling catch off a deflection against Cromartie and scored the tying touchdown.


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