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Bill Belichick happy Pats won with an effort that ‘wasn’t our best’

10.17.14 at 2:21 am ET
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FOXBORO — Bill Belichick knew better than all the experts who had the Patriots as a nine-point favorite Thursday night.

Short week, injured key players lost for the season and playing your division rival that had absolutely nothing to lose and everything to gain by beating you.

And that was before the Jets put up 226 yards rushing and held the ball for nearly 41 of the 60 minutes played. The game came down to Chris Jones blocking a Nick Folk field goal attempt from 58 yards. The Patriots held on, 27-25, to improve to 5-2, with an extra three days to rest up before getting ready for the Bears on Oct. 26 in Foxboro. No wonder he ran into the north end zone after the game and gave his old linebacker Willie McGinest a big hug afterward.

“It was, I think, probably about the game we expected,” Belichick said. “With the Jets it’€™s always tough, definitely a grind-it-out game. [I'€™m] obviously really happy for Chris [Jones] at the end. After what happened last year, I thought it was so fitting that he made that play. That was awesome. It wasn’t our best. It was good enough, but it wasn’t our best. We have to do a better job in all three phases of the game, all the way around.”

The Jets were 9-of-16 on third down, a major reason they were able to hold the ball for nearly 41 minutes. Still, Belichick gave credit to his team for making it through the stretch of four games in 18 days with a 3-1 record. More importantly to Belichick, he has seen his team prove its mental toughness time and time again in the last three games.

“But I have to give our team a lot of credit,” he said. “They played four games in whatever it is, 17, 18 days, whatever it is, [18 days] since that Kansas City game. They’ve been tough, they’ve worked hard. They’€™ve really pushed themselves on the preparations. Some guys [are] banged up, some guys having to step in and all that. I thought it was a real good team win for us.

“[It'€™s] always good to win in the division; [the] kind of games that you have to win during the year somewhere along the line. So, give the credit to the players. They made the plays when they had to make them. I thought Danny [Amendola] really stepped up and gave us a lot of energy on the kickoff returns and obviously that touchdown catch was a great catch. That was good too. Hopefully we’€™ll get a little bit of a break here, a couple days to kind of catch our breath then we’€™re right back at it. Good to win; we’€™ll enjoy it for a little while, not too long and then turn the page and get on to Chicago.”

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Read More: Bill Belichick, New England Patriots, New York Jets,

Vince Wilfork ‘disappointed’ in Patriots run defense

10.17.14 at 2:05 am ET
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FOXBORO — Although the Patriots beat the Jets 27-25 on Thursday Night Football to move to 5-2 on the year and won their third straight game in the process — there are still plenty of improvements to be made — particularly when it comes to defending the run.

Not given any favors with the loss of Jerod Mayo to season-ending knee surgery this week, the Patriots allowed 218 yards on 43 carries to the Jets — including a 21-carry, 107-yard performance to running back Chris Ivory. The 218 yards were the most rushing yards the Jets have had in a game since Oct. 14, 2012 against the Colts.

This is something the defense is not taking lightly.

“I’€™m very stingy when it comes to the rush defense,”€ defensive tackle Vince Wilfork said. “That’€™s the one thing I’€™m disappointed in [the run defense]. We’€™ll fix it, we always do and hopefully we can get this thing rolling consistently.”

Thursday marked the third game this season where the Patriots have allowed 190 or more rushing yards — the Dolphins ran for 191 in Week 1 and Kansas City ran for 207 in Week 4. Also, Bill Belichick has allowed more than 200 yards rushing to an opponent 13 times during his tenure in New England and two of them have come this year.

“Luckily we played well in the red area, kept them out of the end zone and kept the points down, but didn’€™t do a good enough job in the running game — didn’€™t do a good enough job on run force, didn’€™t do a good enough job on third down obviously,” Belichick said. “We just weren’€™t consistent in any phase of the game.”

The Patriots entered Thursday with the fifth-best overall defense in the league, but the passing defense carrying the group as they are fourth in the NFL defending the pass, compared to 14th against the run. This is much improved as just two weeks ago they were 23rd.

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Read More: Chris Ivory, Dont'a Hightower, Jamie Collins, Jerod Mayo

Chris Jones earns sweet redemption, saves Patriots in the process

10.17.14 at 1:46 am ET
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Chris Jones (94) earns congratulations from Bill Belichick after blocking a potential game-winning field goal. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Chris Jones (94) earns congratulations from Bill Belichick after blocking a potential game-winning field goal. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

FOXBORO — Revenge might be sweet, but redemption for Chris Jones on Thursday night could not have tasted any better.

The Patriots defensive lineman broke through the line and blocked Nick Folk’s potential game-winning field goal from 58 yards with his left hand on the final play, preserving a 27-25 Patriots victory at Gillette Stadium.

It came almost a year to the day that he was called for an illegal push at the line in overtime that gave the Jets and Folk a second chance. Folk, who missed from 56 yards, didn’t miss from 41 as the Jets walked out of MetLife Stadium with a 30-27 win.

Jones may not have been thinking about that at the precise moment his left hand saved the Patriots from an embarrassing home loss but he certainly was reminded about it after the game by coaches, teammates and of course, media.

“A few people have told me about it, so I’ve had a chance to think about it,” Jones said. “It feels good. That was last year and it’€™s just good to get a win this year. I think it really became a reality when coach [special teams assistant] Joe Judge came up and told me. I felt it then.

“Honestly it’€™s just good to get a win. Obviously it’€™s always good to beat a division rival. The Jets gave us their best and we’€™re just glad to come out with the win.”

“[I'€™m] obviously really happy for Chris at the end,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said. “After what happened last year, I thought it was so fitting that he made that play. That was awesome.”

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Read More: Bill Belichick, Chris Jones, New York Jets, Nick Folk

Jets players frustrated by 6th straight loss: ‘We let [Rex Ryan] down tonight’

10.17.14 at 1:37 am ET
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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 and had a chance to win with a field goal as time expires, 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 Ryan.

“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.

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Read More: David Nelson, New York Jets, Rex Ryan,

What we learned: Patriots escape with narrow win over Jets

10.16.14 at 11:29 pm ET
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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, building what proved to be a decisive advantage 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. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Brandon Browner, Danny Amendola, Shane Vereen, Tom Brady

Halftime analysis: Patriots 17, Jets 12

10.16.14 at 9:52 pm ET
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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.

Patriots vs. Jets Live Chat — all the latest from Gillette

10.16.14 at 7:36 pm ET
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Staying home? Staying dry? Stay up to the second on all the latest news, updates and analysis from tonight’s Patriots-Jets game with the WEEI.com live chat!

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