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(Sunday, September 27th)
Final Score: NY Jets 24, Tennessee 17
East Rutherford, NJ (Sports Network) - Mark Sanchez is still in the honeymoon stage in New York, throwing for two touchdowns and adding a rushing score to lead the Jets in a 24-17 victory over the Tennessee Titans in a rainy afternoon at the Meadowlands.
Sanchez became the franchise's first quarterback to win the initial three starts of his career, as he completed 17-of-30 throws for 171 yards with an interception for the Jets (3-0), who are off to their best start since 2004.
Jerricho Cotchery had eight receptions for 108 yards and a TD in the win.
Both running games were bottled up throughout. New York's combination of Leon Washington and Thomas Jones amassed a total of 66 yards on 26 carries, while the Titans' Chris Johnson, who was coming off a career-high 197-yard rushing effort last week, gained 97 yards on 22 carries.
Kerry Collins did not complete a pass in the fourth quarter (10 attempts), finishing with 170 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions on 15-of-37 attempts for Tennessee (0-3), which lost its first two games by a combined six points.
LenDale White had a rushing score in defeat, while Ryan Mouton coughed up two costly fumbles on special teams.
"Our message all week was to protect the football," Titans head coach Jeff Fisher said. "You turn the ball over twice on special teams and it's hard to win the ballgame, especially against a team like this. Ryan's going to be a good player for us, but it's my responsibility to get someone in there to make those plays.
On the first possession of the second half, Collins completed a pair of 27- yard strikes to Kenny Britt and Alge Crumpler, respectively. On the seventh play of the drive, Collins found Nate Washington for a nine-yard TD to give Tennessee its first lead, 17-14. It proved to be the QB's last completion.
The Jets' fifth consecutive three-and-out resulted in a punt midway through the third, but Mouton gave the hosts a gift by muffing the kick. New York took over at the Tennessee 23 and, after gaining a much-needed first down, Sanchez connected with Cotchery on a six-yard slant in the end zone.
"The young buck did a great job," Cotchery said of his QB. "We knew we had to get the ball out fast. It was a different route. He had to change the route. He made a great throw, putting the ball on me and the rest was history."
Cotchery came up with another huge catch in the early stages of the fourth, as he was able to keep his feet inbounds on a 46-yard bomb down to the 14-yard- line, setting up Jay Feely's 30-yard field goal with 11:36 remaining.
Tennessee punted the next two times it had the ball, but Chris Hope picked off a Sanchez pass with 6 1/2 minutes to go. After the Titans rushed for two first downs, Collins threw a poor pass right to Jets linebacker David Harris.
The Titans had one last chance with the ball at their own 34 with 2:52 left, but a Harris sack and a dropped ball by Britt on 3rd-and-23 essentially sealed the game's outcome.
Sanchez was exceptional on the opening drive of the game, hitting 5-of-6 attempts for 50 yards to lead the Jets into the red zone. On 3rd-and-10 from the 14, the rookie scrambled out of the pocket and took it himself, surviving a big hit at the one before stretching the ball over the goal line.
Mouton fumbled the ensuing kickoff and the Jets took advantage of the short field when Ben Hartsock was left wide open after a nice play fake for a two- yard TD grab and a 14-0 lead just eight minutes into the game.
The Titans finally showed some life early in the second after Tony Brown forced a Sanchez fumble at the New York 45. It took the visitors 10 plays to work their way down the field, and White broke several tackles before powering into the end zone from five yards out.
It was the first offensive touchdown scored against the Jets this season.
A two-minute drill before the break yielded a 38-yard Rob Bironas field goal, cutting the Titans' deficit to 14-10.
Missing in action were Tennessee tight end Bo Scaife (knee) and Jets cornerbacks Lito Sheppard (quadriceps) and Donald Strickland (ankle)...Both teams wore retro jerseys commemorating the AFL's 50th Anniversary...Washington had 46 yards on 12 carries, compared to 20 yards on 14 carries for Thomas...Britt led the Titans with 59 yards on four grabs...Tennessee outgained the Jets, 286-229.
09/27 19:38:42 ET