|10.21.12 at 10:15 pm ET|
FOXBORO — People were beginning to wonder whether or not Tom Brady still had the ‘clutch gene.”
The Patriots and their veteran quarterback this season have either been comfortably ahead of opponents entering the final few minutes or have struggled to hold a lead and found it necessary to fight for survival.
Brady’s critics were silenced for the time being on Sunday night, as the Brady of old led a 12-play, 54-yard drive that set up the game-tying field goal at Gillette Stadium Sunday in what would become a win over the Jets.
Shaking off Week 2 memories of a missed potential game-winner was Stephen Gostkowski, who hit a 48-yard field goal to put the Patriots ahead in overtime. New England’s defense forced a fumble on the Jets’ rebuttal, and The Patriots climbed back above .500 with the 29-26 victory.
After the game, Brady said that he hadn’t paid much attention to those questions being asked about his whether or not he could still lead a game-winning drive.
‘I haven’t turned the TV on in a week, so I don’t know what anyone said,’ Brady said. ‘But it was good to win that game. It was a tough game. It always is against the Jets. It’s nice to pull out a close one, so I’m glad we did that today.’
He said that the offense executed better on the last two drives, which ended in the game-tying and game-winning fields goals. The two prior drives ended in punts after six and three plays, respectively.
‘It really wasn’t our best day of execution in terms of assignments — we have to nail those things down,’ he said. ‘A lot of those inconsistencies, you don’t score points, and we didn’t score as many as we needed to. And those last couple of drives, we moved the ball better. I wouldn’t say they were great drives, but they were good enough.’
Good enough for the win was good enough for Brady, who admits it’s tough to say what the identity of this offense is yet. But that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and depending on the week, as Brady said, an offense’s identity could change drastically.
‘I think you continue to go do the things you’re doing well,’ Brady said. ‘You’d love to figure those things out in spring camps, but it really doesn’t play that way. You have some teams that you play and situations that you face and players that are healthy or not healthy, and schemes that you run. And you boil it down to what you’re good at. It’s only October.’
|10.21.12 at 10:01 pm ET|
|10.21.12 at 9:47 pm ET|
FOXBORO — WEEI.com Patriots writers Chris Price and Mike Petraglia break down the Patriots thrilling 29-26 overtime win against the Jets Sunday at Gillette Stadium.
|10.21.12 at 7:52 pm ET|
FOXBORO — The Patriots had another late-game meltdown Sunday against the Jets, but a 43-yard field goal from Stephen Gostkowski at the buzzer tied it and a 48-yarder from Gostkowski in overtime — combined with a defensive stop from New England in the extra session — allowed New England to escape with a 29-26 win over New York.
New England led 23-13 at the start of the fourth quarter, but the Jets put up 13 points late, with the final three coming on a 43-yard field goal by Nick Folk. Meanwhile, the Patriots, who had held fourth-quarter leads against the Ravens and Seahawks only to see them lose late, stalled out again down the stretch. That was until a fourth-quarter drive from quarterback Tom Brady ended with a 43-yard field goal from Gostkowski to force overtime and a stout stand in the extra session.
In overtime, the Patriots won the toss and came out with a 12-play. 54-yard drive that took 3:58 and ended with Gostkowski’s 48-yarder to give New England the lead. That set the stage for a sack from Rob Ninkovich and Jermaine Cunningham on Mark Sanchez. New England recovered, and that was the ballgame.
The Patriots were led by quarterback Tom Brady, who finished with 26-for-42 for 259 and two touchdowns, while Stevan Ridley had 17 carries for 65 yards and Wes Welker had six catches for 66 yards and Rob Gronkowski had six receptions for 78 yards and two touchdowns.
WHAT WENT WRONG
‘¢The Patriots escaped with the win, but stunning breakdowns on both sides of the ball in the fourth quarter continue to dog New England. They led by nine in the fourth quarter against the Ravens and ended up losing. They were up 13 in the fourth quarter against the Seahawks and suffered the defeat. And it was the same old story on Sunday, as New England had its’ chances on both sides of the ball to blow the doors off the Jets all afternoon and couldn’t convert.
‘¢As was the case through much of the first six games, the Patriots left a lot of scoring opportunities out on the field throughout the afternoon, particularly early. The Jets had a safety, an ill-timed penalty that gave the ball back to New England after a punt and a turnover (a pick by rookie Alfonzo Dennard on a horribly thrown ball by Mark Sanchez), but the Patriots could only push out to a six-point lead at halftime. It all came back to bite them in the end, as New England couldn’t hold on down the stretch.
‘¢The Patriots’ pass defense again yielded at least six pass plays of 20-plus yards, as the Jets and Mark Sanchez moved up and down the field fairly easily. New England was able to mollify the problem with some red zone stops, but it was another tough day for the Patriots’ pass defense. (That doesn’t even take into account three defensive holding calls against cornerback Ras-I Dowling.)
WHAT WENT RIGHT
‘¢The Patriots were able to convert their first kickoff return for a touchdown on the season when McCourty brought a first-half return back 104 yards for New England’s first touchdown of the day. It was a great read by the defensive back, who went inside and then outside. He delivered a fantastic juke on kicker Nick Folk and ended up taking it all the way back for the second-longest kick return in Patriots’ history, and the first kick return for more than 40 yards for New England since offensive lineman Dan Connolly returned one 71 yards against the Packers in 2010.
‘¢In the third quarter, the New England offense went on a 15-play, 83-yard drive — the most consistent of the afternoon for the Patriots. New England used 6:54 on that drive, which was highlighted by two catches from Wes Welker that helped New England convert on third downs. In addition, there was a 16-yard completion from Tom Brady to Aaron Hernandez that got the Patriots down to the New York one. After a loss of one yard, Brady found Rob Gronkowski for a two-yard touchdown pass, ending the series and giving the Patriots a 23-13 lead.
|10.21.12 at 6:44 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Three quarters are done here at Gillette Stadium, and the Patriots lead 23-13. Here are a few notes from the last 15 minutes of action:
‘¢It was a quiet quarter, compared to the first two. New York opened the quarter with a steady 11-play, 65-yard drive that included another pass play of 20-plus yards, that one coming on a 23-yard connection from Mark Sanchez to Dustin Keller that got the Jets within striking distance. The Patriots were able to get a good red-zone stop however, and Nick Folk connected on his second field goal of the day, a 21-yarder that made it 16-13 with 9:33 left in the quarter.
‘¢On their first drive of the second half, the Patriots matched that with a lengthy drive of their own. The New England offense went on a 15-play, 83-yard drive — the most consistent of the first two-plus quarters for the Patriots. New England used 6:54 on that drive for the Patriots, which was highlighted by two catches from Wes Welker that helped New England convert on third downs. In addition, there was a 16-yard completion from Tom Brady to Aaron Hernandez that got the Patriots down to the New York one (a play that had to be reviewed because there was some question about Hernandez having control as he went to the ground). After a loss of one yard, Brady found Rob Gronkowski for a two-yard touchdown pass, ending the series and giving the Patriots a 23-13 lead.
|10.21.12 at 5:56 pm ET|
FOXBORO — We are at the half here at Gillette Stadium — here are a few second-quarter notes on one of the stranger games we have seen here in recent memory:
‘¢The Patriots hold a lead, but have still left a lot of points out on the field through the first two quarters. The Jets had a safety, an ill-timed penalty that gave the ball back to New England and a turnover (a pick by rookie Alfonzo Dennard on a horribly thrown ball by Mark Sanchez), but are still only up 16-10.
‘¢The second quarter started nicely for New England, as Vince Wilfork was able to create disruption in the New York backfield — meanwhile, the Jets botched a handoff deep in their own territory for Shonn Greene. After the ball squirted loose, Mark Sanchez kicked it out of the back of the end zone for a safety, giving the Patriots a 16-7 lead. (It was the Patriots’ first safety since 2006.)
‘¢Defensively, the Patriots gave the Jets a little bit of a shakeup, moving to a 3-4 look on several occasions in the second. One of the highlights of the changing looks was the sight of Wilfork moving around to multiple spots on the defensive front. The defensive highlight of the quarter came midway through when Dennard camped under a Sanchez floater, picking off the ball at the New England two-yard line and bringing a New York drive to an end. It was an awful pass by Sanchez, who could have/should have zipped the ball in to Stephen Hill — if he did that, it would have been a New York touchdown.
‘¢Some of the other defensive wrinkles the Patriots presented in the second quarter included the return of linebacker Dont’a Hightower to the regular rotation at linebacker (it marked his first regular action since he went down with a hamstring injury against Buffalo), as well as the continued use (mostly) of Devin McCourty and Tavon Wilson at safety. Jermaine Cunningham also continued to get good reps as part of the front seven.
‘¢The Jets were able to put together a short drive at the end of the first half — a 12-play, 59-yard drive that took 3:41 and ended when Nick Folk banged home a 54-yarder with two seconds left in the first half.
‘¢The Patriots got a gift midway through the quarter — they were forced to punt on the drive following Dennard’s touchdown, but a facemask call on the Jets gave the ball back to New England. The Patriots couldn’t make New York pay, however, as they punted four plays later — much to the consternation of the New England fans, who were booing when the punt team came onto the field when it was 4th and two.
‘¢Linebacker Jerod Mayo appeared to suffer some sort of left arm/wrist/shoulder injury just before the end of the half. In addition, special teamer Matthew Slater limped off after New England’s first punt of the second quarter.
‘¢After going the first quarter without a target, Wes Welker had his first reception of the game when he pulled in a 16-yarder on New England’s first drive of the second quarter.
|10.21.12 at 5:09 pm ET|
FOXBORO — The first quarter is in the books here at Gillette Stadium, and here are a few quick notes:
‘¢The highlight of the quarter for the Patriots came midway through when Devin McCourty electrified the Gillette Stadium crowd with a 104-yard kickoff return that tied the game at seven. It was a great read by the defensive back, who went inside and then outside. He delivered a fantastic juke on kicker Nick Folk and ended up taking it all the way back for the second-longest kick return in Patriots’ history.
‘¢The Patriots opened the game using Shane Vereen at running back, and he got the first three touches of the afternoon (two rushes and a pass). New England’s drive ended after the Patriots couldn’t convert a 3rd and nine and ended up punting it away. On New England’s second drive of the afternoon (the Patriots went with Stevan Ridley in the backfield) and were able to get their tight ends involved, with a 19-yard pass play from Tom Brady to Rob Gronkowski and an 11-yarder to Aaron Hernandez to get deep into Jets’ territory. The drive finished with a flourish when Brady hit Gronkowski for a 17-yard touchdown pass over safety Laron Landry in the corner of the end zone, a brilliant grab for the big tight end.
‘¢The Patriots made a singular change at right guard, subbing in Nick McDonald for Dan Connolly. The Patriots announced that Connolly left the game with an illness, and his return is questionable.
‘¢On defense, the Patriots shuffled Devin McCourty to safety and paired him with rookie Tavon Wilson. (Rookie Alfonzo Dennard and Kyle Arrington got the call at cornerback.) On that drive for the Jets, they were able to pick up sizable chunks of yardage through the air: First, there was a Mark Sanchez-to-Jeremy Kerley 23-yard pickup. After a brief cameo from Tim Tebow at quarterback, it was a 26-yard connection from Sanchez to Kerley. Shonn Greene put the capper on an 11-play,. 76-yard drive with a one-yard run to make it 7-0 with 8:51 left in the quarter. (On the touchdown, the Patriots had only 10 players on the field.)
‘¢As for some defensive highlights, Kyle Love had a four-yard sack of Sanchez midway through the quarter that contributed to the Jets eventually having to punt the ball away at the end of their second offensive series of the afternoon. And cornerback Ras-I Dowling had a very nice pass breakup on a third-down pass play for the Jets.
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