Sanchez completed a spectacular 31-yard touchdown pass play to Chansi Stuckey and put 20 points on the board in 2½ quarters as the Jets took the annual New York braggin' rights game with a 27-25 decision over the Giants on Saturday night, giving new coach Rex Ryan his first win.
"You get a little more confidence when you know your coach believes in you and has named you the starter," Sanchez said after completing 13-of-20 passes for 149 yards, a touchdown and no interceptions. "It was similar to that at SC. Once you're the guy, you talk a little different, you walk a little different and you act a little different."
If anyone had their doubts about Sanchez entering the game, all they needed to see was the touchdown pass to Stuckey that gave the Jets a 14-13 lead.
The fifth pick in the draft, Sanchez had to sprint to his right to avoid charging defensive ends Mathias Kiwanuka and Osi Umenyiora. Just before he reached the Jets' sideline, Sanchez threw a strike to Stuckey at the 10 and the receiver broke four tackles to make his way into the end zone.
"I thought we had him," said Kiwanuka, who then had to watch a thrilled Sanchez run down to the end zone to join the celebration. "It was a great play. You have to give him credit for seeing down the field with two guys in his face."
Sanchez actually didn't see the end of the play.
"It was one of those plays where you get hit throwing it and you don't really see what's going on," Sanchez said. "You kind of listen. I knew if it was a big roar, it was probably a big play by the Giants, maybe an interception and I'd have to get up quick. But I heard a quiet roar and I said: 'Oh boy, I think he caught it.'"
Ryan thought Sanchez played great.
"He was poised. He is what we thought he was," the coach said.
Thomas Jones scored on a 1-yard run, Jay Feely kicked two field goals and Erik Ainge threw a late 70-yard scoring pass to Aundrae Allison for the Jets (1-2), who survived two potential game-tying two-point conversion attempts by the Giants in the final minutes.
After Ainge's touchdown to Allison, Carr and Nicks combined on a 71-yard touchdown pass. This time, Allen Patrick was stopped on the two-point run.
Named the starting quarterback by Ryan earlier in the week, Sanchez overcame a slow start and a little early pressure to complete 13-of-20 for 149 yards. He combined with Jerricho Cotchery on a 14-yard pass play to set up Jones' touchdown run that tied it at 7 in the first quarter.
The first half was long and ugly at times. The Jets had eight penalties, with three setting up Manning's touchdown pass to Jacobs on the opening drive.
The Giants turned the ball over twice, with the first one setting up the Jones' touchdown and the second -- a fumble by Jacobs at the Jets 27 -- costing Tom Coughlin's team points. A wide-open Steve Smith also dropped a 50-yard pass from Manning at the Jets' 40 on the Giants' second possession.
"Sometimes it's good to get those out of the way now," said Manning, who finished 9-of-21 for 91 yards, a touchdown and an interception playing into the third quarter. "I know Steve feels bad about that. He hasn't done that all training camp. I know he won't drop it next time."
Jets running back Leon Washington averaged 6.9 yards rushing on nine carries. ... Nicks had a team-high seven catches for 144 yards, a 24-yard average. ... Harris led the Jets with eight tackles. Chase Blackburn, who started at middle linebacker with Antonio Pierce (foot) sidelined for the second straight game, led the Giants with six.