ST. LOUIS — For a few hours Sunday, Mark Sanchez had every right to feel good about himself and the direction of the New York Jets.
After playing turnover free in the Jets’ solid 27-13 victory over the St. Louis Rams, the beleaguered quarterback was the unquestioned No. 1. Sanchez believes it’s the type of performance that can become contagious.
‘‘If you really take the positives from this game, build on those, continue to get better and improve, we can become a team that just doesn’t turn the ball over,’’ Sanchez said. ‘‘That could be our identity, if you want it to be and if you work at it.’’
Sanchez was an efficient 15-of-20 passing for 178 yards and a touchdown, while Tim Tebow was merely a footnote. The Jets dominated on defense, too, in stopping a three-game losing streak. New York will head into a Thanksgiving night meeting against the AFC East-leading Patriots with renewed confidence.
‘‘Our guys have been working extremely hard and I'm really happy for all of us that it showed,’’ coach Rex Ryan said. ‘‘We needed a win, obviously, in the worst way.’’
Bilal Powell ran for the first two touchdowns of his career, Chaz Schilens scored on a 25-yard reception, and Nick Folk kicked a pair of 51-yard field goals for the Jets (4-6), who were outscored, 58-16, the previous two games. The Jets overcame a tumultuous practice week with several anonymous players quoted in a newspaper report disparaging the ability of Tebow, who played a handful of snaps but was no factor.
Ryan had anticipated Tebow to have a larger role, but changed the game plan because the Rams surprised them with different looks on defense.
‘‘And that kind of maybe shut him down a little more than we had originally planned,’’ Ryan said. ‘‘That was part of the reason you never saw a whole lot of him.’’
Brandon Gibson caught a pair of short touchdown passes for the Rams (3-6-1), who committed three turnovers and are winless in their last five games (0-4-1). During that stretch, St. Louis’s defense hasn’t forced a turnover, tying the NFL’s longest such slump since 1950, according to STATS LLC.
‘‘We knew they were going to come out and give us their best shot and with some fight because of all the stuff that has been going on over there,’’ Rams middle linebacker James Laurinaitis said. ‘‘Teams in the NFL just don’t fold.’’
The Jets, moving past blowout losses at Seattle and against Miami, led, 13-7, at the half and put it away with two touchdowns in the fourth quarter.
Konrad Reuland’s 18-yard catch to the 5, the longest of his career, set up Powell’s 5-yard run for a 20-7 lead. Powell added an 11-yard TD run for a 27-7 cushion. Gibson’s 1-yard catch capped an 86-yard drive on the first possession and his 2-yard grab cut the deficit to 27-13 with 5:40 to go with the Rams failing on a 2-point conversion pass.