EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J.
Arian Foster ran for 152 yards and a touchdown, and the Houston Texans stayed unbeaten by defeating the New York Jets for the first time in team history, hanging on for a 23-17 victory Monday night.
With a chance to lead the Jets on a winning drive, Mark Sanchez was intercepted by Kareem Jackson on a pass that tipped off the hands of Jeff Cumberland with 1:51 remaining and the Texans (5-0) joined the Atlanta Falcons as the NFL’s only teams without a loss.
The Jets (2-3) were heavy underdogs after coming off a 34-0 loss to San Francisco last week, but made a game of it.
Backup quarterback Tim Tebow got the crowd fired up at times throughout the game, including running for a first down on a fake punt, but had little impact otherwise.
Houston also overcame a 100-yard kickoff return by Joe McKnight that cut the Jets’ deficit to 20-14.
In the third quarter, Houston kicker Shayne Graham made field goals of 42 and 22 yards.
McKnight electrified the crowd just 13 seconds after Graham capped a 14-play, 70-yard drive that took up more than half of the third quarter.
McKnight sped up the middle, cut left and shrugged off an attempted tackle by DeVier Posey inside the Houston 15.
It was McKnight’s second career TD on a kickoff return; he led the NFL in average kickoff runback last season.
The Jets then tried an onside kick, but Houston recovered at the New York 46. A 30-yard gain on a screen pass to James Casey set up Graham’s third field goal of the game.
In the second quarter, Foster virtually walked untouched into the end zone on his 13-yard touchdown to break a 7-7 tie. He gained 42 yards on three straight carries on the 67-yard drive. New York ranks next-to-last at stopping the run, a huge failure for a Rex Ryan defense — and a huge opportunity for Foster.
The Jets threatened late in the first half, but Sanchez’s pass was tipped by end J.J. Watt and went behind receiver Jeremy Kerley to Brice McCain, who ran back the interception 86 yards before Kerley caught him at the New York 9. Graham made a 27-yard field goal as the half ended.