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Tom Brady: ‘It wasn’t their day, it was our day’

12.07.10 at 1:08 am ET
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Tom Brady has been saying all week that the Patriots couldn’t afford to lose to the Jets twice in one season and on Monday night he made sure that didn’t happen, completing 21-of-29 passes for 326 yards and four touchdowns in the Pats‘ 45-3 win.

“You can’t lose to the same team twice,” Brady said. “If you want to win your division, which is our goal, you can’t lose to the same team twice. It’s a team that [was] 9-2 and playing pretty good football. It wasn’t their day. It was our day. But we may see them again.”

Brady started out red hot in leading the Patriots to a 17-0 lead after the first quarter. He was asked if he could sense things were going to go his way. “Not me,” he said. “I don’t. I’ve seen some pretty crazy things happen. You go back to last year with some leads and we just didn’t produce much in the fourth quarter. We’ve got to continue to find way to produce in the fourth quarter. Our defense really stepped up and made some huge turnovers and got us the ball on a short field and we capitalized on it.”

As he usually does, Brady noted that, “It wasn’t perfect,” but, “All in all it was a fun night. It was fun to be a New England Patriot on Tedy Bruschi night.”

Brady completed passes to eight different receivers and hooked up on touchdown passes with Wes Welker, Deion Branch, Aaron Hernandez and Brandon Tate. “We have a lot of guys who have good matchups out there,” Brady said, listing Danny Woodhead and Rob Gronkowski along with the others.

“This team plays a lot of man coverage. They’ve got some real good guys and we’ve got some guys who I thought could really have some good matchups against, so that’s pretty much the way it turned out. Those guys, we expect them to make some plays for us and they did make some plays. We took advantage of some all-out blitz situations that we really haven’t done a good job with this year. We overcame some long-yardage situations. More than anything, it’s our execution.”

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Bill Belichick: ‘Best 60 minutes of football we’ve played this year’

12.07.10 at 12:35 am ET
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Patriots coach Bill Belichick doesn’t often dole out a lot of praise, but he cut right to the chase after his team demolished the Jets, 45-3 Monday night. “I thought this was the best 60 minutes of football we’ve played all year,” he said. “We had a good week in practice. Everybody was really focused. We got a lot of solid play, really from everybody. It was a good night for us, we’ll take it.”

The win evened the season series and put the Patriots a game ahead of New York in the AFC East at 10-2, but this may not be the last time these two teams play as they could meet again in the playoffs. “The Jets are a good football team,” the coach said. “I’m sure we haven’t heard the last from them, but tonight was our night.”

Belichick was clearly pleased that the Patriots played this well, and won such an important game on Tedy Bruschi night. “I’m sure it’s a game that Tedy’s proud of. He was a part of many like this, so we maybe got a little inspiration from him tonight.”

Asked what Bruschi so special, Belichick noted their long history together. “Tedy was a special player for me,” he said. “My first year [here] in 96 was the year we drafted Tedy so I saw his development as a player. He brought a lot to his team and this entire organization with his attitude, his effort and his toughness. His work ethic, his playmaking ability, his leadership. He was the best. I’ve been so fortunate to be able to coach the Tedy Bruschi’s, the Troy Brown’s and the Willie McGinest’s. They meant a lot to this organization.”

Belichick was asked about his quarterback’s ability to read matchups and Tom Brady put up another sensational night, completing 21-of-29 passes for 326 yards and four touchdowns. “That’s why Tom’s a great quarterback,” Belichick said. “Tom does a great job with that. Nobody’s better than him. That’s part of what makes Tom Brady the quarterback he is.”

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Patriots offense handles Antonio Cromartie this time around

12.07.10 at 12:33 am ET
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FOXBORO — The ease with which the Patriots were able to dominate the Jets in their 45-3 win on Monday was quite apparent. Having dropped a 28-14 game to their AFC East Rivals in the second week of the season, the score Monday was more what the Pats had been looking for. Defensively, they showcased an ability to silence an offense that entered the contest averaging 24 points per game. Perhaps more eye-popping were the 45 points on a team that the Pats hung on a Jets defense that allowed 17 points a game entering Monday.

Tom Brady had a sensational quarterback rating of 148.8 and passed for four touchdowns on the night. As the Pats scored 24 points on their first four drives on the game, Brady was able to choose an ironic victim to take the brunt of the early beating.

In the first meeting of the season between the two AFC rivals, Jets’ newcomer Antonio Cromartie was a huge factor, shutting down Randy Moss in the second half and picking off Brady in the third quarter.

Cromartie didn’t fare quite as well on Monday. He couldn’t stick with Deion Branch [3 catches for 64 yards and a TD] and got picked on plenty in the early going.

“I felt good [against Cromartie],” Branch said after the game. “Everything was good. I enjoyed the competition. ‘€¦ He’s a great player, a great defender. I’m pretty sure I’ll see him again down the road.”

With the Patriots having scored on their first two drives and holding a 10-0 lead, the Pats got desirable field position thanks to shanked punt from Steve Weatherford that travelled just 12 yards and set the Pats up at the Jets’ 32-yard line. The Jets, whose defense had been quite lethargic at that point, got their biggest play of the game — and one that they could have built off — when UMass product James Ihedigbo sacked Brady for 12 yards.

After an incompletion on a pass intended for Aaron Hernandez, the Jets stood a chance to force the Pats to punt in what was still 10-point game. Brady hit Branch — covered by Cromartie — for 19-yards to set up a 4th and 3 from the Jets’ 25-yard line. Brady went back to Branch, who was able to race into the endzone thanks to a missed tackle by Cromartie.

The Patriots stuck with their new-found ability to go after the former All-Pro, as Brady hit Brandon Tate on the team’s next drive from four yards out to put them up 24-3.

The game was never close from there, as the Patriots, after punting on consecutive drives while the Jets also failed to add to their total, put up 21 more before the night was through.

“I wouldn’t say they were confused,” Branch said when asked about how the Jets struggled against various personnel groupings. “I think what we were doing was pretty much controlling the game. That’s how you want it as an offense. You don’t want to go into a game and let a defense dictate what you’re [going] to do on offense. That all stemmed from the preparation.”

At 10-2 on the season, the Patriots now control their own destiny as they aim to grab the top seed in the AFC. They head to Chicago to face the 9-3 Bears on Sunday.

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Snap Judgments: Patriots 45, Jets 3

12.06.10 at 11:34 pm ET
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The Patriots silenced Rex Ryan and his crew on Monday night, completely dominating the Jets to start-to-finish in a 45-3 win that gives New England sole possession of first place in AFC East (and the best record in football) at 10-2.


Tom Brady: More of the same for the runaway leader in the MVP race, as Brady finished 21-of-29 for 326 yards and four touchdowns, good for a passer rating of 148.8. Brady absolutely shredded a Jets defense that is ranked in the top five in the NFL and held him to a 72.5 passer rating in Week 2, spreading the ball around to seven different receivers. He connected with Deion Branch on a 25-yard TD pass on 4th-and-3 (after hitting Branch for 19 yards on a 3rd-and-22 the previous play) in the first quarter, Brandon Tate on a four-yarder in the second quarter, Wes Welker on an 18-yard score in the third and Aaron Hernandez on a one-yard TD to put the game away on the first play of the fourth quarter (both second-half TD drives were over 90 yards) Brady has not thrown an interception since Week 6 (and has thrown 17 touchdowns during that span). There is no question that we are watching Brady in the best stretch of his career, but it possible that we are watching Brady having the best season of his career?

Defense Steps Up: With 12:30 left in the fourth quarter and the Patriots ahead 38-3 (read: game over) Mark Sanchez had the following line:

13-27, 129 yards, zero TDs, three INTs and a passer rating of 22.5

Hands down the best defensive performance of the season for the Patriots, who were able to get pressure on Sanchez (Tully Banta-Cain with a sack and an active night from Vince Wilfork) and force turnovers. Devin McCourty, James Sanders and Brandon Spikes each picked off a very shaky Sanchez, with Spikes doing the honors at the New England two-yard line to stop a promising drive. The national spin on Tuesday will focus on how poorly Sanchez played – and he was awful – but to be fair the Patriots defense deserves a ton of credit for his performance.

The Backs Get It Done: In the Week 2 loss, the Patriots managed just 52 yards on 20 carries (2.6 yards per carry). No shame in that effort, the Jets have a top-three rushing defense. The thinking heading into Monday night was that maybe – maybe – the Patriots would be able to muster something on the ground, if only to keep the Jets honest on play-action. Well, BenJarvus Green-Ellis was a lot more than a decoy, carrying the ball 18 times for 72 yards and a pair of TD rushes. And while Danny Woodhead only carried the ball two times (for 11 yards), he was an absolute force as a receiver, catching four passes for 104 yards.


Rushing Defense: Nitpicking in a 46-3 win, but the Patriots did allow 135 yards on the ground in 29 carries, the second straight week they have struggled against the run. Obviously not a factor in this game, but something to keep an eye on as the Patriots head into Chicago to face a team that has run the ball well in each of the last two weeks.

Matt Light: The offensive line as a whole wasn’t clean in the first half, and Light was beat twice in the first 30 minutes, including allowing a sack to UMASS alum James Ihedigbo.

Halftime analysis: Patriots 24, Jets 3

12.06.10 at 10:13 pm ET
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FOXBORO ‘€” Two quarters are in the books here at Gillette Stadium and the Patriots are in command, holding a 24-3 lead over the Jets.

The Patriots have done a masterful job in almost all three phases of the game: They have managed to bottle up the Jets’€™ offense, and they have had little trouble moving the football ‘€” New England punter Zoltan Mesko wasn’€™t called upon until there were four minutes left in the first half. In addition, the New York special teams’€™ unit has let down the Jets, with one badly shanked punt and another missed field goal. It’€™s all added up to a commanding lead for New England.

Stat leaders: Tom Brady is 10-for-16 for 152 yards and two touchdowns, while BenJarvus Green Ellis (37 yards, one touchdown) and Deion Branch (three catches, 64 yards, one touchdown) lead the Patriots. On the other side of the ball, Mark Sanchez is 8-for-18 for 77 yards, while Shonn Greene (eight carries for 37 yards) is and Santonio Holmes (who didn’€™t catch a pass until late in the second quarter) has four catches for 52 yards.

On defense, the Patriots have done an excellent job disguising their coverages, forcing Sanchez into some very poor throws. New England has spent a surprising amount of time in both nickel and dime coverage. Meanwhile, up front, the Patriots have managed to keep the Jets running game mostly in check. New York missed out on a scoring attempt on their first series when kicker Nick Folk missed a 53-yarder. The Jets added a 39-yard field goal at the start of the second quarter, and a quick drive at the end of the half came up short for New York.

On offense, New England stalled out on its first series and settled for a 41-yarder from Shayne Graham. But on its next two series, the Patriots were able to put together short touchdown drives (6 for 57 yards and 4 for 32 yards), pushing the lead to 17-0 by the end of the first quarter. On the first, the key play came when Brady found Jim Leonhard’€™s replacement Eric Smith, who was flagged for a 36-yard pass interference penalty that got New England to the one, and BenJarvus Green-Ellis took it in from the one two plays later. On the second, Brady hit Branch on a fourth-and-3 over the middle, and the receiver did the rest, taking the ball to the end zone from 25 yards out to make it 17-0 with roughly a minute left in the first quarter.

It was more of the same in the second quarter. After Folk’€™s field goal made it 17-3, Brady put together a seven-play, 67-yard drive that ended with a four-yard pass to Brandon Tate in the corner of the end zone that made it 24-3. On that series, the highlight was a 35-yard completion to a wide-open Danny Woodhead on a play-action fake that got the ball down to the New York 32-yard line.

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Patriots open in five-wide set on offense

12.06.10 at 8:44 pm ET
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FOXBORO ‘€” The Patriots opened in a five-wide set against the Jets with the following offensive personnel:

OL: Matt Light, Logan Mankins, Dan Koppen, Dan Connolly, Sebastian Vollmer
WR: Brandon Tate, Danny Woodhead, Deion Branch, Wes Welker
TE: Aaron Hernandez
QB: Tom Brady

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Analysis of Patriots’ inactives

12.06.10 at 7:19 pm ET
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FOXBORO ‘€” The Patriots announced that the following players are inactive for Monday night’€™s game: running back Thomas Clayton, offensive lineman Mark LeVoir, defensive end/outside linebacker Eric Moore, offensive lineman Mark Ohrnberger, wide receiver Taylor Price, defensive lineman Myron Pryor, cornerback Jonathan Wilhite and defensive lineman Mike Wright.

No real surprises, especially when it comes to Clayton and Moore ‘€” even thought Clayton is rejoining the Patriots, it’€™s no shock to see the two as inactive. Price, LeVoir and Ohrnberger have been inactive far more than active this year (the foursome have been active for a combined four games this season), and so from a personnel perspective, they figured to be on the outside looking in for this one as well.

As for the other three, no Wright for the New England means that for the second consecutive week, the Patriots will be missing their best interior pass rusher ‘€” he leads the team in sacks with 5.5. In addition, the absences of both Wright and Pryor leaves the Patriots’€™ defensive line a little thin against a New York running game that is one of the best in the league.

And the fact that Wilhite isn’€™t over the hip problem that has nagged him over the last few weeks means that the Patriots will head into the game with three available corners in Devin McCourty, Kyle Arrington and Darius Butler. Look for Butler to see some time on the outside, while Arrington will probably jump back and forth between cornerback and the outside linebacker/defensive end spot he’€™s occasionally occupied over the last few weeks.

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