EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The Texans are still undefeated — but very nearly let this one slip away.
Arian Foster ran for 152 yards and a touchdown, and Houston defeated 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 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.’’
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.
Schaub was 14 of 28 for 209 yards and a touchdown to Owen Daniels, winning his ninth straight game dating to last season, the longest active streak in the NFL. Daniels finished with four catches for 79 yards for the Texans, who have just their second five-game winning streak in team history.
Nick Folk’s 21-yard field goal with 11:55 left made it 23-17, but the Jets appeared as though they would get more.
Sanchez hit Cumberland for 24 yards on first down, and then Jeremy Kerley for 36 yards two plays later. Then, Tebow came in and took the direct snap — with Sanchez lined up as a wide receiver — and rumbled up the middle for 13 yards to make it first and goal from the 3. The crowd at MetLife Stadium went wild, sensing a chance at Tebow’s first touchdown since being acquired in March.
Tebow stayed in but was stopped for no gain. Then, Sanchez — who has been under fire with many calling for Tebow to take his starting job — had a pass tipped by J.J. Watt and another went incomplete to Chaz Schilens in the end zone on third down.
Perhaps the only bad news for the Texans happened when star linebacker Brian Cushing left in the second quarter with a left knee injury and didn’t return.
Foster walked untouched into the end zone for a 13-yard touchdown to give the Texans a 14-7 lead with 11:11 left in the first half. He gained 42 yards on three straight carries on the 67-yard drive, and had 100 yards on the ground at halftime on just nine carries.
The Jets threatened late in the half, but Sanchez’s pass was tipped by end Watt and went off Kerley to Brice McCain, who ran back the interception 86 yards before Kerley caught him at the 9.
Shayne Graham made a 27-yard field goal as the half ended to make it 17-7. He added a 42-yarder late in the third quarter to make it 20-7.