By Ben Fractenberg
MANHATTAN — Mark Sanchez and Santonio Holmes bailed the Jets out yet again.
Sanchez orchestrated a last-minute scoring drive with 55 seconds left in the game, ending it with a picture-perfect touchdown pass to Holmes to give the Jets a thrilling 30-27 comeback win over the Houston Texans on Sunday.
"I want to apologize to all the Jets fans for affecting the heart a little bit," said Jets coach Rex Ryan, whose team blew a 16-point fourth quarter lead. "But we'll take the win."
New York took a commanding 23-7 lead after a 30-yard Nick Folk field goal with 14:51 remaining in the fourth quarter before allowing Houston back in the game.
A fumble by Jets running back Shonn Greene and a Sanchez interception opened the door for the Texans. Matt Schaub threw two touchdown passes and Neil Rackers knocked home two field goals as Houston reeled off 20 straight points in the fourth quarter to give them a 27-23 lead with just 55 seconds to go in the game.
Sanchez then led the improbable comeback at the New Meadowlands Stadium, highlighted by a 41-yard completion to Braylon Edwards and Holmes' over-the-shoulder touchdown catch with only 10-seconds left in the game.
Sanchez rallied the Jets to victory for the third straight week. He led New York to a 23-20 overtime win on the road against Detroit on Nov. 7 and connected with Holmes for the game-winning score in a 26-20 overtime win against Cleveland last Sunday.
Sanchez threw for 315 yards and three touchdowns against the Texans.
The 24-year-old quarterback wore a shirt with the words "The 383rd Infantry Regiment" across the front during the post game press conference to honor his grandfather who served in the unit during World War II.
"I think he was watching," Sanchez told the Daily News. "I think he gave us that extra boost.”
The Jets (8-2) have won four straight to keep pace with the New England Patriots (8-2) in the AFC East. Both teams are tied with the Atlanta Falcons (8-2) for the top record in the NFL.