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‘Air Vince’ Wilfork shows he’s got the ups to join Patriots FG block party

12.21.14 at 7:18 pm ET
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Nothing like a 6-foot-2, 325-pound nose tackle making like Michael Jordan to save a game with a blocked field goal.

Vince Wilfork became the fourth Patriots player this year to block a field goal, and the second one to save a potential game-winning kick by the Jets’ Nick Folk.

“Blocking a field goal by Air Vince, we’ve got to do those things,” Devin McCourty said.

On Sept. 14, Chandler Jones got the block party going with a block of Vikings kick toward the end of the first half. He returned it for a touchdown. On Oct. 16 at Gillette Stadium, Chris Jones preserved a 27-25 win with a last-second bat down. Against the Dolphins, it was Jamie Collins doing the honors on the game’s first drive, leading to a Kyle Arrington scoop and score.

Sunday, it was Wilfork’s turn. With 5:21 left, Wilfork moved over to his right, jumped up and got his right hand up high enough to block Folk’s 52-yard attempt.

“I just filled a soft A-gap, making sure that I was legal, not covering up the center and at the same time, being able to get vertical in that lane,” Wilfork said. “I felt that I had a good shot of getting some penetration, so it worked out well. That is just one of the plays that (we had) opportunities on. I had a good opportunity to make a play and I did for the team. It was nothing special that I did. I just penetrated a little bit and got my hands up and got a piece of it. I’€™m glad it helped my team win a ball game. That is what it is all about, the wins, and we walk away with another one.”

Read More: Devin McCourty, Michael Jordan, New England Patriots, New York Jets

Tom Brady: ‘I’m glad it came out the way that it did. It makes for a better Christmas’

12.21.14 at 7:00 pm ET
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Tom Brady didn't have his best game Sunday, going 23-for-35 with 182 yards, a touchdown and an interception, but he made the plays when it mattered late. (Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

Tom Brady didn’t have his best game Sunday, going 23-for-35 with 182 yards, a touchdown and an interception, but he made the plays when it mattered late. (Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

EAST RUTHERFORD N.J. — Although it wasn’t as dramatic of a turnaround as last week’s second half against the Dolphins, Tom Brady and the Patriots offense did just enough in the second half to overcome a stingy Jets defense for a hard-earned, 17-16 win Sunday at MetLife Stadium.

The Patriots entered the locker room trailing 10-7 and Brady was a pedestrian 11-for-15 passing with 79 yards and a touchdown, while Geno Smith was 11-for-16 with 117 yards and a touchdown. The Patriots had just seven first downs total in the first half, but were able to put together a few good drives in the second half — led by a more up-tempo, no-huddle offense.

“We got into a little rhythm there, Brady said. “I think it settled a few things down. We have to sustain it and get it in the red zone down there. We kind of came up short on that 3rd-and-1, 3rd-and-2, whatever it was. We just have to finish those drives, especially key drives like that where you can finally get a little momentum, a little rhythm. It’s a good defense, they challenged us. We had long field all day, we had a couple good short fields that we took advantage of. The defense really stepped up when we need to.”

Brady finished the game 23-for-35 with 182 yards, a touchdown and an interception. He was 12-for-20 with 103 yards with an interception in the second half.

Things weren’t going the Patriots’ way, as they trailed 13-7 in the third quarter, but after kicking a field goal, got a huge interception from Jamie Collins. Running back Jonas Gray ran it in from a yard out on the ensuing possession to give the Patriots a 17-13 lead. The Jets then kicked a field goal on their next possession making it a 17-16 game with 7:53 left in the game.

Following the field goal, Brady threw his first interception of the game — a tipped ball intended for Brandon LaFell — giving the Jets great field position at the Patriots’ 24-yard line. A huge Dont’a Hightower sack on third-down made it a 52-yard field goal attempt for Nick Folk, and fortunately Vince Wilfork was able to bail them out by partially blocking the attempt. The Patriots then were able to pick up a few first downs and run out the final 5:16 of time.

“We made plenty of good ones in the fourth quarter to come from behind. That was great,” said Brady. “Defensively, we played great again. I’m glad it came out the way that it did. It makes for a better Christmas. It’s always tough to get a win here, they’re a good team. They always play us hard. We got their best today.

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Mike Petraglia, Chris Price explain how shorthanded Patriots escaped with win over Jets

12.21.14 at 6:43 pm ET
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. —’s Mike Petraglia and Chris Price explain how the Patriots held off the Jets, 17-16, Sunday at MetLife Stadium to improve to 12-3 and lock up a first-round bye in the AFC playoffs. The Patriots will clinch the No. 1 seed in the AFC and home field advantage throughout if the Bengals beat the Broncos Monday night in Cincinnati.

Read More: Chris Price, MetLife Stadium, Mike Petraglia, New England Patriots

Rex Ryan on Tom Brady: ‘We’re the team that always gives him the biggest challenge, whether he admits it or not’

12.21.14 at 6:19 pm ET
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Sunday could have been the last time Rex Ryan will face the Patriots as head coach of the Jets. (Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

Sunday could have been the last time Rex Ryan will face the Patriots as head coach of the Jets. (Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

EAST RUTHERFORD N.J. — If indeed Sunday was Rex Ryan’s last game as head coach of the New York Jets, maybe the happiest guy to see him out of the AFC East is Tom Brady, as Ryan led teams have done historically well against the Patriots’ quarterback.

According to ESPN Stats and Info, going into Sunday, Brady’€™€™€™s completion percentage in games against Jets’€™€™ defenses led by Ryan was 59 percent, compared to 65 percent against the rest of the league. That trend continued Sunday as although Brady completed 66 percent of his passes (23-for-35), he wasn’t his usual self and the Jets put tons of pressure on him all game long, forcing him into just 182 yards passing, his lowest since Week 4.

“I don’t know if it is really possible to control Tom Brady. If not, we’re the team that always gives him the biggest challenge, whether he admits it or not,” Ryan said after the game.

“I just think we play defense a lot different than most teams in the league,” Ryan added. “We don’t just line up and play standard defense. I think that’s what I am talking about. Everybody plays hard and we’re no exception. Through the years, that probably holds true.”

Brady was asked what makes facing the Jets defense so difficult?

“I think this is a team that does a lot of things well,” said Brady. “They have good scheme, good players, a good rush, good in the middle of the defense, good middle linebacker, good safeties. The corners played well today. I just think we got their best and I think we kind of sputtered there and got out of rhythm.”

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Read More: Rex Ryan, Tom Brady,

Brandon Browner admits ‘looking on paper, we probably should have killed those guys’

12.21.14 at 6:16 pm ET
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — If you’re looking for a backhanded compliment from the Patriots of the Jets following New England’s 17-16 nail-biter at MetLife Stadium, look no further than Brandon Browner.

“Looking on paper, we probably should have killed those guys but we’re well coached in situations,” Browner said. “They let us know that it’s going to be a tough battle, regardless, going against the Jets. We played them earlier on this year and it was a tough battle all the way down to the end of the game. And that’s what happened. Guys are just resilient. Hats off to my teammates because that’s a good football team. Well, when they play us.”

The Jets, now 3-12 in another dreadful season for Gang Green, played the Patriots as hard as anyone could have expected. They had the chance to take the lead after a Tom Brady interception in the fourth quarter gave the Jets the ball at the Patriots 30.

But Dont’a Hightower recorded a 10-yard sack that turned a 42-yard field goal into a 52-yard attempt by Nick Folk, a kicker nursing a hip flexor.

“It was so huge,” Browner said of Hightower’s sack. “It made a longer field goal, and on a longer field goal, the flight of the ball is always going to be [lower] than on the shorter kicks because he’s trying to get it kicked out there so it’s not going to be as high and our shorter D-lineman was able to get out there and block it.

“We’re well coached in situations we’re put in throughout the week so it when it comes up we’re ready for it.”

Read More: Brandon Browner, Dont'a Hightower, New England Patriots, New York Jets

Sheldon Richardson on Jets’ success against Tom Brady: ‘Feasting, you have to feast out there’

12.21.14 at 5:30 pm ET
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Tom Brady was sacked a season-high four times against the Jets on Sunday. (Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)

Tom Brady was sacked a season-high four times against the Jets on Sunday. (Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Even though the Jets fell to the Patriots for the second time in two games this season, 17-16 on Sunday, they lost by a combined three points in those two games, and have forced quarterback Tom Brady into two of his tougher games of the season.

Brady was 23-for-35 for 182 yards with a touchdown and an interception on Sunday. This comes following their Week 7 matchup when Brady went 20-for-37 for 261 yards, but threw three touchdown passes and didn’t have an interception. Brady’s 182 yards are the lowest he’s had in a game since the Kansas City game in Week 4 when he threw for just 159 yards.

With the Patriots missing left guard Dan Connolly up front, forcing them to mix-and-match all different players in different spots all game, what was the key to getting to Brady?

“Feasting. You’ve got to feast out there,” Jets defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson said. “Got him off his spot. Put pressure on him pretty much every passing play, just didn’t come out with a victory.”

The Jets were able to sack Brady four times, a season-high, while also picking up 11 quarterback hits — throwing the quarterback off his game. Brady had just 79 passing yards at halftime.

Richardson said the key to stopping Brady and the offense, who came into the game averaging a league-high 31.6 points per game, was taking away Brady’s first read. The 17 points were their fewest output since also the Chiefs game in Week 4.

“Big pass breakups on Gronk [Gronkowski] and man, we were able to get to the quarterback,” Richardson said. “We were talking, when you take his first two reads away from him and he has to hold it, we’re there. We did that today.”

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Read More: Sheldon Richardson, Tom Brady,

Gisele Bundchen and daughter celebrate another victory for Tom Brady

12.21.14 at 5:12 pm ET
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Tom Brady‘s wife, Gisele Bundchen, took to Instagram once again to celebrate another win by her husband and his Patriots.

Yeeeeaaaaahh! #godaddy #gopats ‘¤Ã¯¸’¤Ã¯¸’¤Ã¯¸’¤Ã¯¸

A photo posted by Gisele Bündchen (@giseleofficial) on

To view more of Gisele’s Instagram posts, click here.



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