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.
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.
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 in suffering their eight straight defeat following a 4-0 start.