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National Football League

            === McElroy relieves Sanchez, leads Jets past Cards ===
 East  Rutherford, NJ (Sports Network) - For the first time, New York Jets head
 coach Rex Ryan finally decided to pull his struggling starting quarterback.
 And it actually paid off.
 Greg  McElroy came  in relief of Mark  Sanchez in the third quarter and passed
 for  the  lone touchdown of  the game to Jeff  Cumberland, as the Jets escaped
 with  a  7-6 victory  over the  Arizona Cardinals  in an otherwise offensively
 challenged football game.
 "Mark's  a  great competitor,  but he  understands that it  was my call," said
 Ryan.  "He's a man  and nobody wants to leave the game, but I just felt it was
 right for our team."
 Tim  Tebow, the regular  backup to Sanchez, was inactive for the game due to a
 rib injury. For the first time in his career, McElroy was active for a regular
 season  game  and took advantage of  the opportunity in helping the Jets (5-7)
 get  back on  track  after an  embarrassing  blowout loss  to  New England  on
 Thanksgiving night.
 McElroy  completed  5-of-7 throws for  29 yards,  including his 1-yard toss to
 Cumberland early in the fourth quarter.
 Sanchez  threw  three first-half interceptions and  threw for just 97 yards on
 10-of-21  passing before  being  pulled,  leaving his  role  going forward  in
 "I have no idea," said Sanchez when asked if he will be the starter next week.
 "I'll go prepare my butt off and be ready to play. Whatever Rex decides to do,
 we'll go with that."
 Arizona  rookie  quarterback Ryan Lindley may  have been worse, however, as he
 was  constantly harassed  by  the  Jets defense.  He  completed just  10-of-31
 throws  for  72 yards  with an  interception and failed  to help the Cardinals
 (4-8)  convert  on a  single third  down. They finished  0-for-15 for the game
 and  managed just 137 total yards of offense in suffering their eight straight
 defeat following a 4-0 start.
 McElroy  took over after Sanchez's third-down pass was batted down at the line
 of  scrimmage,  leading to  New York's third  consecutive three-and-out of the
 quarter with the Jets trailing by a 3-0 score.
 He  came  in relief to  a standing ovation from  the MetLife Stadium crowd and
 immediately began producing results.
 After  Bilal  Powell crossed midfield  on a  17-yard rush, McElroy completed a
 pass  to  Stephen Hill on  3rd-and-6 for a  first down. He  then took off on a
 scramble  and drew a  late hit penalty on Dan Williams, moving the Jets to the
 Cardinals' 14.
 Then  on 3rd-and-goal, McElroy rolled to his right off play action and found a
 wide-open  Cumberland in the  end zone for the first TD pass of his career and
 the  Jets' first score  of the day, putting them ahead 7-3 early in the fourth
 Former  Jet Kerry Rhodes capped a very productive day by forcing a Kahlil Bell
 fumble on New York's next drive, however, which led to a 35-yard field goal by
 Jay  Feely to make  it a 7-6 game. Rhodes also picked off Sanchez twice in the
 first quarter, but still wasn't satisfied with his return to New York.
 "We  lost the game," said Rhodes. "I played okay, but we didn't get the win so
 it wasn't a good return."
 Arizona  failed to get a first down on its next possession -- the team's ninth
 three-and-out of the game -- and the Jets killed most of the remaining 7:55 of
 the fourth quarter with a 13-play drive to hold on for the win.
 Shonn  Greene,  who ran for  104 yards  on 24 carries,  picked up a first down
 before  falling just  in front  of  the goal  line just  after the  two-minute
 warning  to  allow New York to  run out the  remaining game clock and keep its
 slim playoff hopes alive.
 In  an absolutely brutal first half offensively for both teams, Feely kicked a
 48-yard  field goal  through in  the final  seconds of  the second  quarter to
 score the first points of the game.
 The Cardinals, who managed just 115 yards of offense in the first half, got in
 field  goal  range following a  40-yard run by Rashad  Johnson on a fake punt.
 Much  like last week, Lindley had no cohesion with his receivers all game, and
 the Cardinals went 0-for-9 on third down over the first two periods.
 Sanchez  was no  better for  New York.  After his  two first-quarter  picks to
 Rhodes,  Patrick Peterson made an acrobatic interception of the quarterback in
 the second.
 The Cardinals had a chance to strike early following Rhodes' first pick, which
 gave  them the  ball deep inside New York territory. However, Arizona opted to
 run  on every play  of the short series and saw Beanie Wells get stuffed twice
 on  both third  and fourth down inside  the red zone, leading to a turnover on
 Nick  Folk missed two  field goals in the opening half for the Jets. His first
 try  from 46  yards kicked  off the  left upright  and his  second, a  52-yard
 attempt,  had  the length but  veered off track and  into the right upright to
 keep New York off the board.
                                   Game Notes
 New  York's Dustin Keller  and Joe McKnight both left the game due to injuries
 and  did not  return. Keller  injured his  ankle late  in the  first half  and
 McKnight exited with a rib injury .... Hill led the Jets with five catches for
 40  yards ...  New York  had the  ball  for almost  17 more  minutes than  the
 Cardinals, recording a time of possession total of 38:08.
 12/02 18:19:44 ET

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