EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — After Arian Foster ran over the New York Jets all night, it was time for the defense to seal things for the Houston Texans.
A six-point lead. Three minutes left. Mark Sanchez and the Jets 84 yards away from sending the Texans to their first loss with a crowd-pleasing comeback.
Not on this night.
Kareem Jackson intercepted Sanchez with 1:51 remaining as the Texans held on for a 23-17 victory Monday night and a 5-0 start.
"That's what you dream about," defensive end J.J. Watt said. "It's Monday Night Football. You're on the field. You have a chance to end the game. That's what you want. For us to go out there and do that, it's huge."
Foster ran for 152 yards and a touchdown, and the Texans overcame some big throws by Sanchez, a few exciting moments by Tim Tebow and a 100-yard kickoff return by Joe McKnight to beat the Jets for the first time in team history. The Texans (5-0) joined the Atlanta Falcons as the NFL's only teams without a loss.
"Arian stepped up and played huge," quarterback Matt Schaub said. "We're very excited to be 5-0 and get a win on the road."
It was a close one, though. Much closer than most expected. After all, 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.
"You got to give yourself a chance to win and we did that tonight," said Sanchez, whose throw was intercepted by Jackson after tipping off the hands of Jeff Cumberland.
Schaub was 14 of 28 for 209 yards and a touchdown to Owen Daniels, winning his ninth straight game — the longest active streak in the NFL — dating to last season. Daniels finished with four catches for 79 yards for the Texans, who have just their second five-game winning streak in team history.
"A big part of that is it doesn't matter on this team about stats or individually what is going on," Daniels said. "It's great to be a part of something like that."
The enthusiasm was tempered, though, by a left knee injury to star linebacker Brian Cushing that coach Gary Kubiak said he was "very concerned" about.
"I don't know what happened," Kubiak said. "They tell me he cut on a play and his foot might have got stuck in the turf."
Tebow got the MetLife Stadium crowd fired up at times during the game, including running for a first down on a fake punt. He also threw a pinpoint deep pass that newly signed Jason Hill should have caught, and later took a direct snap and ran for 13 yards to get the ball near the goal line in the fourth quarter. But other than that, Tebow spent most of his time on the sideline — again.
"You know, going in, I had no idea when I would go in," Tebow said. "I just try to be ready at all times."
After Shayne Graham's 42-yard field goal made it 20-7 late in the third quarter, McKnight got the Jets right back into it with his 100-yard kickoff return — his second of his career — to cut the Texans' lead to 20-14 with 4:38 left in the third quarter.
New York then attempted an onside kick, but the ball went through Chaz Schilens' hands and Shiloh Keo recovered, giving the Texans the ball with good field position.