FOXBORO — Coming into the game with a 1-5 record — losers of five straight — the Jets were a desperate team.

Rex Ryan and the Jets have now lost six straight games. (Getty Images)

Rex Ryan and the Jets have now lost six straight games. (Getty Images)

FOXBORO — Coming into the game with a 1-5 record — losers of five straight — the Jets were a desperate team.

Ultimately, they left everything they had on the field — having it come down to a field goal as time expired — but the kick was blocked and the Jets fell to the Patriots, 27-25 Thursday Night on the road at Gillette Stadium.

“€œIt’€™s really frustrating because this is a team you are playing your first divisional game,”€ head coach Rex Ryan said. “Obviously, these are the big dogs in our division. You know, nothing against Buffalo and Miami, they are playing well, but this team has won 10 years in a row, I think — or 10 out of 11. So, this is the one where you are trying to beat them at their place and this is like the third time in a row that I thought we were good enough to beat them here and we come away with a loss.”€

The players — like their coach — were disappointed and actually felt like they let down their coach.

“Rex is an emotional guy. The beauty of Rex is he believes in all of us and quite frankly we let him down tonight,” linebacker Calvin Pace said.

“€œHe wanted this one,”€ wide receiver David Nelson added. “We all did. Not only because it was the New England game, but we were 1-5 coming in and we know we’€™re better than that. We’€™ve laid some eggs the past couple of weeks and given away games. We wanted to come out on a national stage and showcase what we’€™re all about. I think you saw that the majority of the game.”

Although the Jets played one of their better games of the season — totaling over 400 yards of total offense — they still shot themselves in the foot by committing seven penalties for 70 yards and going 2-for-4 in the red zone.

“We had a couple big penalties in the red zone that hurt us,”€ Ryan said. “One that took a touchdown off the board — a holding call — then we had another holding call. Most penalties in the red zone, we know that’€™s hurt us. Again it played out really the way it has a lot of the season. At times, it looks like we are good enough to win and then we make too many mistakes. And obviously, those things hurt us.”

Even though only one team in NFL history who has started the year 1-6 has ever made the playoffs — the 1970 Bengals — the Jets still have some fight in them.

“Another reason why [Rex is] so disappointed in this team is he believes in this team,”€ Nelson said. “€œHe believes we’€™re a playoff caliber team and we were built for success. I think that is why it is so difficult for him to swallow and why it is difficult for all of us to swallow. … Today was extra difficult because we fought so hard and laid everything on the field and had the chance at the end of the game and came up short.”

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

FOXBORO — The Patriots held on down the stretch Thursday night to pick up a 27-25 win over the Jets at Gillette Stadium. Chris Jones blocked what would have been a game-winning 58-yard field goal as time expired.

Tom Brady and the Patriots held on down the stretch for the win over New York. (Getty Images)

Tom Brady and the Patriots held on down the stretch for the win over New York. (Getty Images)

FOXBORO — The Patriots held on down the stretch Thursday night to pick up a 27-25 win over the Jets at Gillette Stadium. Chris Jones blocked what would have been a game-winning 58-yard field goal as time expired.

It wasn’t a pretty game, but in the end, New England did enough to hold on down the stretch. The Patriots took the lead for good on a 36-yard field goal from Stephen Gostkowski with 4:10 left in the third and held on late, sealing the contest with a 19-yard touchdown pass from Tom Brady to Danny Amendola with 7:49 left in the fourth to make it 27-19.

The Jets added a late touchdown, but missed out on the two-point conversion when quarterback Geno Smith’s throw for Jace Amaro was off the target.

Brady finished the game 20-for-37 for 261 yards with three touchdowns. Shane Vereen added 12 carries for 47 yards. He also had five catches for 71 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

On the other side of the ball, Smith was 15-for-27 for 178 and one touchdown, while Jets running back Chris Ivory came away with 21 carries for 107 yards and a touchdown.

Here’s what we learned about the Patriots on Thursday night:

Tom Brady was a mixed bag against the Jets defense

The quarterback hit on some nice throws early, including a 24-yarder to Brandon LaFell and a 20-yarder to Gronkowski. His deep ball on the first touchdown of the night — a 49-yard scoring strike to Shane Vereen — would have been overthrown if Vereen didn’t do a terrific job laying out for the pass. There were a few others that were off the mark, including the 19-yarder to Amendola in the fourth quarter, a ball where the receiver made a great play on the ball. In the end, he did enough to pick up the win in his 200th career regular season, game, finding Vereen twice and Amendola once for touchdown passes.

Rob Gronkowski didn’t have the gaudy stat line he had the last two weeks, but he still played a sizable role

LaFell talked last week about the impact that a healthy Gronkowski has on the New England offense, and that was seen on multiple occasions against the Jets. New York frequently went after the tight end with multiple defenders, as he drew two and three Jets on several occasions, including when the Patriots were in the red zone. That level of attention allowed some other pass catchers to get some one-on-one work, including Vereen (on his second touchdown catch) and Amendola (on his fourth-quarter touchdown reception). In the end, he came away with five catches for 68 yards.

The defensive line is capable of being flat-out dominated

New York was able to run the ball without much of an issue throughout the evening, as Ivory broke the 100-yard mark early in the third quarter and was a colossal part of the Jets running game. (The Jets picked ups whopping 13 first downs by running the ball.) New York’s offensive line was able to shove the New England defensive front around when it came to the ground game, and it was almost enough to give them the victory. With Chicago’s superback Matt Forte on deck next week, it’ll be a massive challenge for the Patriots defensive front to try and get back on track.

Brandon Browner apparently still needs to work on his football fitness

In the first regular-season action as a member of the Patriots, the veteran cornerback started the game and was competitive as a member of the New England secondary. (Despite being flagged for his first penalty in a New England uniform.) However, he appeared to be gassed on several occasions, and missed a sizable chunk of time toward the end of the first half. He was on again with the starters at the beginning of the second half, and played a handful of snaps.

Shane Vereen is going to be relied on pretty heavily the rest of the way

Vereen was absolutely integral to the success of the New England offense on Thursday night, as he accounted for 87 yards from scrimmage (60 receiving, 27 rushing) and a pair of touchdowns in the first half to help the Patriots register a 17-12 halftime lead. And after seeing Jonas Gray get a bunch of carries in the early going, New England turned to Vereen for most of the work on the ground over the course of the final two quarters. He’s probably not the sort of guy who could handle 20 carries a game over the course of a full 16-game season, he’s a good situational guy who can work between the tackles on a limited basis.

When it comes to the offensive struggles, you can’t pin this one on the offensive line

The Patriots, who were missing center Bryan Stork and guard Dan Connolly coming into the contest (both are suffering from concussions), were forced to use Josh Kline and Jordan Devey at guard, and at first glance, both appeared to hold up well. While there were some bad penalties on the line — including an unnecessary roughness call on Jordan Devey in the first half where he pushed a New York defender in the back at the end of a play, likely a way to help protect Brady — the group held up well and gave Brady good time to work in pass protection. (The biggest negative on the night? Marcus Cannon almost got Brady killed when he blew a third-quarter block on Brady’s blindside.)

Danny Amendola has found a new job

Working as kick returner, Amendola did well to give the Patriots manageable field position over much of the evening, including a 26-yard return and a 31-yard return against the Jets. With no one doing much to seize the job over the course of the first six games — and Amendola not doing much when it comes to catching passes — it might seem like a pretty good fit for Amendola.

They got out of this one completely healthy

While the Patriots came into the game shorthanded — Stevan Ridley and Jerod Mayo were already ruled out for the year, while offensive linemen Dan Connolly and Bryan Stork were sidelined because of concussions — no one left the game because of injury.

No matter what happens the rest of the weekend, the Patriots will stay in first place

The victory allows New England to move to 5-2 on the season, which means that even if the Bills (second place at 3-3) knock off Minnesota on Sunday, the Patriots will stay in first place. Meanwhile, the Jets fell to 1-6, and saw any postseason hopes crumble. Only one team in the history of the NFL — the 1970 Bengals — started the year 1-6 and still made the postseason.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

FOXBORO — The Patriots hold a 17-12 lead after two quarters.

Tom Brady is 12-for-22 for 174 yards and two touchdowns, while Shane Vereen has three catches for 60 yards and two touchdowns, as well as three carries for 27 yards. Meanwhile, Geno Smith is 6-for-12 for 73 yards and Chris Ivory has 14 carries for 69 yards.

Here are a few quick notes:

– The Patriots came charging out of the gate with a four-play drive that went 80 yards and consumed 1:29. On the series, Brady was able to find Brandon LaFell for a 24-yarder, as well as a 49-yard scoring strike to Vereen. The touchdown pass was an impressive scoring strike, as Vereen laid out nicely for the ball to give the Patriots a quick 7-0 lead. Despite some offensive inefficiency, it didn’t appear that the offensive line was to blame — the quarterback had plenty of time to throw, and held up well in pass protection against the New York front seven.

– The Jets answered with a 22-yard field goal from Nick Folk to make it 7-3 with 6:29 left in the first quarter. The Patriots got a little lucky on that drive, as the Jets were flagged for a hold on a play that ended going for a touchdown pass (Dont’a Hightower was able to get a good rush on the play, drawing the penalty) and ended up settling for the field goal. New York had a pretty good start to the game. On its second drive, they were able to get into New England territory again, and after a brutal drop on a pass for Jace Amaro, were forced to settle for another field goal — this time, a 47-yarder — to make it 7-6 at the end of the first quarter. The Jets picked up two more field goals in the second quarter, a 46-yarder, to make it 9-7 midway through the second and a 27-yard field goal with just over a minute left to make it 14-12.

– The best and most consistent offensive sequence of the night came toward the end of the first half when Brady and the offense went 10 plays and 80 yards, a sequence that included 16-yarders to Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman, a 17-yard run by Vereen and a 23-yard pass play to Brandon LaFell. The drive came to an end with a three-yard pass play to Vereen that made it 14-9 with just over four minutes left in the half. Following a late field goal from Folk to make it 14-12, the Patriots answered with a final field goal — 39 yards — to make it 17-12 at halftime.

– The Patriots defense struggled against the New York running game over the first two quarters, as New York did a very nice job moving the chains with backs Ivory and Chris Johnson. Smith also did a nice job picking up yardage when things broke down, including a 10-yard pickup on the ground. The occasionally jittery West Virginia product displayed some good decision-making for much of the first half, and is a big reason why the Jets are in this one.

– On defense, the Patriots showed a few interesting wrinkles. New England appeared to open with Darrelle Revis in man coverage against Eric Decker, but Revis worked in man and zone against a collection of different pass catchers, including David Nelson. For the first time all year, cornerback Brandon Browner was on the field with him. While he was competitive in the early going, it was clear he looked a little gassed at the end of both early drives for the Jets. Late in the half, he could be seen on the sideline.

– The Patriots leaned heavily on running back Jonas Gray in the early going, as the Notre Dame product — who was promoted off the practice squad earlier on Thursday — saw a sizable amount of snaps over the course of the first half.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

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FOXBORO — The following Patriots will be inactive for tonight’s game: offensive lineman Bryan Stork, Dan Connolly and Cameron Fleming, safety Nate Ebner, running back James White, wide receiver Aaron Dobson and cornerback Malcolm Butler.

FOXBORO — The following Patriots will be inactive for tonight’s game: offensive linemen Bryan Stork, Dan Connolly and Cameron Fleming, safety Nate Ebner, running back James White, wide receiver Aaron Dobson and cornerback Malcolm Butler.

This means cornerback Brandon Browner will be making his season debut for the Patriots along with running back Jonas Gray and offensive lineman Chris Barker, who were both signed off the practice squad this afternoon. Gray gets the nod over White, a rookie out of Wisconsin, who has played in one game this season.

Also, playing for the Patriots are linebacker Dont’a Hightower and defensive lineman Dominique Easley — both missed Sunday’s game vs. Buffalo and should give the defense a boost in the absence of Jerod Mayo, who is out for the season.

For more Patriots news, check out

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable

FOXBORO — It’s no mistake that the Patriots are honoring Ty Law on a Thursday night against the Jets.

FOXBORO — It’s no mistake that the Patriots are honoring Ty Law on a Thursday night against the Jets.

It was the same in 2010 when they paid tribute to Tedy Bruschi, and celebrated with a 45-3 destruction of the Jets. The Patriots can only hope this works out as well.

“It means a lot. To have it come around one more time to say a final salute to the Patriot nation, it’€™s amazing,” said Law, the latest enshrinee to the Patriots Hall of Fame. “I think I [said] everything that I possibly could during the Hall of Fame ceremony, but to be able to go out on the field one last time in front of the crowd, on the football field, it’€™s an amazing feeling, and I’€™m looking forward to it.”

Law will also get the chance to again watch Darrelle Revis. In the last two weeks, Law has seen his fellow Aliquippa, Penn. legend turn into the shutdown corner everyone expected when Revis landed in New England. Has Law enjoyed seeing Revis do some of that in recent weeks?

“I knew coming into the game that’€™s how I got myself prepared,” Law said of expecting 1-on-1 battles. “It’€™s a challenge that I relished week-in and week-out, and I wanted my teammates to feed off of that confidence. I wanted to be contagious, letting guys know that I was going out there to do my job. If I took that approach, the next guy would be like, ‘€˜You know what, I got him. I’€™m going to do my job.’€™

“And it worked for us. It was just one of those things that I took a lot of pride in. And then after it was pretty much established that I’€™d be taking the top dog every week, it just became one of those things that we had a lot of fun with, and I always looked forward to it. I think it makes your job somewhat easier even though you’€™re going against the best guy, to know and study and say, ‘€˜OK, primarily I have him, so I don’€™t have to look at five, six different guys. I’€™m covering him.’€™ So, it was a blessing in that aspect as well. So, to see Darrelle doing some of the same things now€“ that was one of my selling points to him.

“If you were to come to the Patriots you would have an opportunity to do some of the same things that you did in New York. Somewhat different system, but you will still be in charge of taking out the top guy [in] man or zone, and I think that was one of the things that pushed him to come to New England. It’€™s been a joy to watch him the last few weeks to go out there and be able to do what he does best because he was totally out of place in Tampa Bay. That wasn’€™t Darrelle Revis; that wasn’€™t the type of football that he likes to play. Where we’€™re from in Aliquippa, we called that cat coverage. I’€™ve got that cat, you got that cat, you got that cat, and that’€™s what we do. So, we’€™ve been doing this thing for a long time.”

Marvin Harrison was one of the toughest cats Law ever covered.

“Absolutely, because I played with a lot of power and strength. He was more quickness, so he was naturally quicker, he was naturally faster as far as foot speed, so I had to cater my game to that,” Law said. “I had to play a little bit ‘€¦ It was like chess when I’€™m out there playing against Marvin Harrison to try to get my hands on him, then they start putting him in motion at times, and I’€™d back off because he’€™s a smart, gifted wide receiver. And then you have someone like Peyton Manning throwing him the ball. He can get it wherever he needs to get it, so it was always a challenge because he was the guy.

“How many guys could you say can play Marvin Harrison throughout a game for 65-70 plays, one-on-one, man, zone, but you’€™re always [on] him? It’€™s a tough challenge. This guy is a Hall of Famer all day, and I got a chance to battle with him throughout our careers. So, I know he’€™s going. It’€™s just a matter of time. So when you play against a Hall of Famer like Peyton Manning, a Hall of Famer like Marvin Harrison and have some success, I can hold my head up at the end of the day and say, ‘€˜You know what, that was a hell of a career playing against some of the all-time greats, and I feel good about it.’€™ It’€™s something that I can share with my kids.”

One cat that Law skinned numerous times goes by the name of Peyton Manning. Law intercepted Manning nine times, between regular season and postseason, including three in the 2004 AFC championship.

“First of all, it’€™s the utmost respect that I have for him as a player, who he is to the game, how he approaches the game and I know that he’€™s studying me as much as I’€™m studying him. And the fact that he had one of the premier wide receivers in my era in the game that I was responsible for ‘€“ all of that came into play. You’€™ll get embarrassed if you don’€™t come prepared. I probably studied more for Peyton ‘€¦ I tried to take the same approach, but you always do that little bit extra to try to find what you can do to beat him because you’€™ll be on the opposite end of the highlights if you don’€™t come in ready to roll.

“And I tried to give everybody the same respect, the same preparation, but you can’€™t do that with Peyton Manning. He’€™s too good. You have to put a little bit extra in there. It was more so the respect that I had for him, and admiration, and I wanted to perform. So, I felt like if I could play well against a Marvin Harrison, pick off balls and give Peyton Manning a hard time, that did a lot for my personal confidence going into next weekend. If I could do this against Peyton, this guy is going to have problems. So, that’€™s the kind of Jedi mind tricks I played on myself.”

Here is more from Law and his thoughts on the current-day Patriots:

Q: How do you see the Patriots defensive philosophy this season, and has Darrelle Revis had any impact on that philosophy?

TL: People always try to compare defenses to the past defenses that showed more success, that were great in their own right. You sometimes have to consider the personnel. There have been coaching changes, personnel changes, and you can’€™t always put the scheme in and say, ‘€˜Just go out there and run it.’€™ It’€™s about personnel. The Patriots, they didn’€™t have the personnel at times. There were a lot of injuries that happened. But when you get a guy like Darrelle Revis to be able to take so much of the pressure off of everyone else, it’€™s special. And that’€™s who we had. I was able to take pressure off of the defense. We were able to do certain things, and when you have a corner like that, it opens it up for everybody. I think now you have Brandon Browner there as well, the possibilities are endless. Unfortunately with the injury to [Jerod] Mayo, that hurts, that stings, but somebody else has to step up. When you have the personnel like they do now, especially back in the secondary, it’€™s going to be great for the team. No, you don’€™t have Willie McGinest or Mike Vrabel, no, but hey you have a Rob Ninkovich. Those guys have to step up and play. And I think they’€™re on the right track to be able to bring back the great defenses, and I think they’€™ve shown the last couple of weeks, if they go out there and trust the players, if the coaches trust the players and they let them do what they do best, good things will come. I mean, I understand you may have tried this and it didn’€™t work, but you didn’€™t have the personnel. You have the personnel now, so the sky is the limit for this defense.

Q: How have you seen the team use Darrelle Revis this season? Has it been a lot more man-to-man coverage than last season in Tampa Bay?

TL: Oh, absolutely. Tampa Bay, he wasn’€™t playing any man-to-man coverage. Their system was more of a zone, and that just doesn’€™t cater to his strengths. He probably played more man coverage and more of an aggressive scheme in New York, but he will play man-to-man coverage here. He’€™s going to play a lot of zone-based coverage, he’€™s going to play some soft zone, he is going to get to do a variety of different things here with New England. He didn’€™t get to anything that he liked to do, and when you pay a guy that type of money to be a shutdown corner, he didn’€™t get to do that in Tampa Bay. He played well, he still went to the Pro Bowl, but people were questioning what happened to Darrelle Revis. What happened to him? He’€™s not getting the opportunities. He’€™s not doing what he’€™s used to doing. So, his talent wasn’€™t flourishing. He’€™s going to be able to flourish here for as long as they continue to give him the responsibility and the challenge. Darrelle needs a challenge. It’€™s not a challenge for him to go into any game and play the average receiver, a mediocre receiver. The challenge for Darrelle to get him stimulated, he has to be on the guy. He wants to take him out. That’€™s how you get the best out of Darrelle Revis. Are you going to lose some sometimes? Absolutely, absolutely. Those guys get paid, too. But he’€™s going to win more than he’€™s going to lose, and I think your best chance of getting the maximum performance out of Darrelle and your best chance to win a football game is to let him go out there, whether it’€™s man or whether it’€™s zone, play against that top dog because he’€™s also going to make that quarterback think. No quarterback is going to go into the game thinking, ‘€˜I’€™m going to attack Darrelle Revis.’€™ I don’€™t care who their receiver is. That’€™s just the talent and aura that he brings to the game, that he brings to the field. He’€™s just that type of player, one of those once-in-a-lifetime-type players. I’€™ll say once-in-a-decade. Let me retract that. He’€™s a once-in-a-decade-type player.

Q: What are your thoughts on being honored at halftime of the Jets game, and what are your thoughts more generally on that rivalry?

TL: I think it’€™s not as prestigious as it used to be, but it’€™s always there. You’€™re going to bring out the best in both teams. The Jets, even though they have beaten the Patriots under Rex Ryan, but they’€™re not much of a threat when it comes down to it. And the reason is, there’€™s always that little bad blood scenario with all of us interchanging ‘€“ some of the top players, coaches, Coach [Bill] Parcells ‘€“ it’€™s always going to be there. But as a football player and as a fan, as an analyst, you would like to see better football games. There is a lot of talking going on as far as Rex ‘€¦ Of course, Bill [Belichick] is not going to give you much bulletin board material. But the product on the field hasn’€™t been the same in recent memory. Once we start getting some good football games, the hype machine will start jumping on the Patriots-Jets bandwagon again. But right now, it’€™s there, but the product on the field isn’€™t much to get too excited about because the Jets haven’€™t been a very good football team lately, in my opinion.

Q: What is your greatest moment as a Patriot?

TL: Man, that’€™s a tough question. How are you going to put me on the spot like that? It would be a medley for me. I really can’€™t pick just one because one of the greatest moments was off the field ‘€“ the reception I got during the [Patriots] Hall of Fame [induction]; the people that came out. That was an incredible feeling. This is a team game, but that day in particular for me, they made that day incredible for me. Mr. [Robert] Kraft, he outdid himself as far as setting up everything to honor me for what I did on the football field. Personally, that was one of the greatest moments for me. From a football perspective, you’€™ve got to think about the first Super Bowl ‘€“ that run ‘€“ being able to have the interception to turn the game in our favor and being such a big play in the game that got us that first championship, that helped get us that first championship. You talk about the AFC Championship Game, to have three picks in a game of that magnitude against Peyton Manning. I can ring off some plays that I get chill bumps every time I think about it. I had a friend of mine who made a highlight tape, and I was like, ‘€˜Wow, that was me?’€™ because I sure can’€™t move like that now. There are so many plays and moments throughout the career that I can sit back and feel pretty good about, but this Hall of Fame thing, this is really one of the greatest moments personally for me, given the championships, the Super Bowls, the Pro Bowls. But when people come out there to wish you well, to support you, to go out of their way to praise what you’€™ve done on the field, that right there was something I’€™ll never forget. This is incredible, and just to come back out and get one last wave is going to stand up there on the list as well.

Q: What are your impressions six games in of how the new rules are working out? Has it been the nightmare you thought it’€™d be or has it calmed down to a point where it’€™s kind of manageable?

TL: I don’€™t like the rules at all, the touchy feely calls. The refs, we’€™ve got to give them a little leeway because they’€™re trying to follow what the league mandates, but I don’€™t like it. And to be honest with you, I don’€™t know if we’€™d be sitting here having this conversation, talking about me being in the Hall of Fame and the way I played the game, if I had to play with these rules because we were taught for so long to take a certain way to dislodge a receiver from the ball. It’€™s a warrior sport as far as I’€™m concerned, and you have to be courageous, you have to be brave. I understand protecting players, but I do not like the way the game is being played at all. It’€™s more catered to the offense, I think, and like I said, nobody wants to see anyone get hurt, but as far as I’€™m concerned, we all knew what we signed up for. You know what I mean? You want to protect us from ourselves. Even the kickoffs ‘€“ why take away a guy like Devin Hester with his remarkable ability to do something that only a few people in the league can do? That’€™s why they’€™re called specialists. You’€™re taking away that position from the game. Kickoff coverage is a dynamic position, but how many kickoffs do we get to see now because of the rules? They don’€™t want that play in the game. How many [times] do you see a receiver come across the middle if you touch him if he doesn’€™t have full possession of the ball, and you get a flag on the defensive side? Nobody is scared to go across the middle anymore because they know. When I played, you were scared to go across the middle, as you should be. I just don’€™t like the way ‘€¦ Where they’€™re taking the game is messing up the integrity of the game because it was played a certain way for so long, and now these changes I don’€™t think are making the game better. That’€™s just my opinion.

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia