Patriots Beat Jets 29-26 in Overtime as Giants Win Third in Row

The New England Patriots beat the New York Jets 29-26 in overtime after blowing a 10-point fourth- quarter lead, while the New York Giants overcame the Washington Redskins 27-23 with the longest winning touchdown in the final two minutes of a game in franchise history.

The Patriots got a 48-yard field goal from Stephen Gostkowski on the first overtime possession and sealed the home win yesterday by forcing a fumble by Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez. The Jets had scored 13 straight points in the final six minutes of the fourth quarter to lead 26-23 before Gostkowski’s 43-yard field goal as time expired forced overtime.

New England improves to 4-3 in the National Football League and now sits alone atop the American Football Conference’s Eastern Division. The Jets fall to 3-4.

“We talked about playing 60 minutes and it took a little bit more than that but the players did a good job,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said at a news conference. “They really fought hard, we had our ups and downs, and in the end, we just made enough plays to win and that’s what it’s all about.”

Eli Manning threw a 77-yard touchdown pass to Victor Cruz with 1:13 remaining as the Giants pulled out the win at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The winning score came 19 seconds after the Redskins had taken a 23-20 lead on Santana Moss’s second touchdown catch of the game. It marked the 22nd time Manning has directed a winning drive in the fourth quarter or overtime, and the eighth in the past two seasons.

“With our offense and with Eli at the helm, we’re never really too worried,” Cruz said. “We know that, no matter what situation we’re in, no matter how many points we need or a field goal, we have the confidence that we can do it.”

Division Lead

The Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Cincinnati Bengals 24-17 last night as Chris Rainey scored the go-ahead touchdown 44 seconds into the fourth quarter. It was the first road win of the season for the Steelers (3-3).

In a matchup of division leaders in the American Football Conference, the Houston Texans routed Baltimore 43-13 to improve to 6-1. Arian Foster rushed for two touchdowns and Matt Schaub threw for two scores as Houston rolled up 420 yards against a Ravens (5-2) defense that last week lost Ray Lewis and Lardarius Webb to season-ending injuries.

The Patriots are alone in first place atop the AFC East after the Tennessee Titans rallied past the Buffalo Bills 35-34 on Matt Hasselbeck’s 15-yard, fourth-down touchdown pass to Nate Washington with 1:03 left.

The New Orleans Saints held on for a 35-28 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as Drew Brees threw four first-half touchdown passes. Josh Freeman passed for 420 yards and three scores for the Buccaneers (2-4), who had a touchdown on the final play nullified when it was ruled receiver Mike Williams stepped out of bounds before his catch in the end zone.

Packers Win

The Green Bay Packers won back-to-back games for the first time this season by beating the St. Louis Rams 30-20 as Aaron Rodgers had 342 passing yards and three touchdowns.

Elsewhere in Week 7 of the regular season it was the Indianapolis Colts 17, Cleveland Browns 13; Minnesota Vikings 21, Arizona Cardinals 14; and Oakland Raiders 26, Jacksonville Jaguars 23 in overtime.

The Jets rallied from a 23-13 deficit in Foxborough, Massachusetts with a 13-point run in the final six minutes that included a 43-yard field goal by Nick Folk with 1:37 remaining that gave them a 26-23 lead. The go-ahead field goal was set up by a fumbled kickoff return at the New England 18-yard line by Devin McCourty, who earlier scored on a 104-yard kickoff return.

The Patriots then forced overtime by driving 54 yards to set up Gostkowski’s field goal as time expired. In overtime, New England drove 54 yards in 12 plays to regain the lead.

Sanchez Fumble

On the Jets’ overtime possession, Sanchez fumbled at the New York 28-yard line when he was sacked by Rob Ninkovich.

Tom Brady threw two touchdown passes to Rob Gronkowski for the Patriots, while the Jets got touchdowns from Shonn Greene and Dustin Keller. Sanchez finished with 328 passing yards for New York, with one touchdown and an interception. He also had a fumble in the end zone that led to a New England safety.

“We had an opportunity to win the game, unfortunately didn’t get it done,” Jets coach Rex Ryan said. “We kept fighting. This is a tough place to play, a tough opponent to play and we were right there.”

The Giants lost both regular-season meetings with Washington last year and appeared in danger of another when Redskins rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III threw a 30-yard scoring pass to Moss with 1:32 to play.

Safeties Spread

Two plays later, Cruz and Manning said they noticed the Redskins safeties were spread out and playing close to the line of scrimmage, trying to take away the outside passing routes. Cruz sprinted down the middle of the field, splitting the defenders while Manning lofted a deep pass.

“I didn’t see the ball get caught,” Manning said. “I just kind of heard the cheer and thought that’s probably a good sign and I got up in time to see him run in the end zone. It was a good feeling.”

The Giants improve to 5-2 with their third straight win to remain on top of the National Football Conference Eastern Division, while the Redskins dropped to 3-4.

Andre Brown and Ahmad Bradshaw also scored touchdowns for the Giants, while Manning completed 26 of 40 passes for 337 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.

Week 7 play, which began with a 13-6 win for the San Francisco 49ers (5-2) against the Seattle Seahawks (4-3) on Oct. 18, concludes with the Chicago Bears (4-1) hosting the Detroit Lions (2-3) tonight.

The Philadelphia Eagles, Atlanta Falcons, Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, Miami Dolphins and San Diego Chargers were off this week.

To contact the reporter on this story: Erik Matuszewski in New York at matuszewski@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at msillup@bloomberg.net

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