Inside the last 34 seconds Ford, who led all scorers with 38 points, made a steal and scored four free throws to keep the Riders ahead before Worthing's Steve Nelson scored the game's final basket with a three-pointer.
The Jets lost 100-83 in front of 4,000 Newcastle Eagles' supporters, but Derby recorded their third consecutive win by beating Manchester Giants 95-77, after ending the game with a 14-6 run and scoring nine of their last 18 points from the free-throw line.
Giants could yet be sucked into the battle for the last quarter-final place. They are seventh, four points ahead of Derby and Leicester and six ahead of Jets, but could feasibly lose all five of their remaining games over the last two weeks of the regular season.
Newcastle's victory kept them in second place, behind leaders Greater London Leopards, four points ahead of Birmingham Bullets and six ahead of Sheffield Sharks, Thames Valley Tigers and London Towers.
Sheffield won 124-86 on Saturday night at bottom club Watford Royals, where Sharks' Terrell Myers and Mark Robinson led their scorers with 26 points each.
Tigers won 108-71 at Crystal Palace on Saturday, where Tony Holley led Thames Valley's scorers with 26 points, while Towers won 85-75 at Chester on Friday after out-scoring the Jets 22-6 in the final quarter.