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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 live chat!

Live Blog Patriots vs. Jets Live Chat

Aaron Dobson inactive, Brandon Browner to make season debut vs. Jets

10.16.14 at 7:05 pm ET
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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.

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Ty Law wants to see Darrelle Revis keep getting after it: ‘It’s called cat coverage’

10.16.14 at 5:52 pm ET
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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.”

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Read More: Aliquippa, Darrelle Revis, Marvin Harrison, New England Patriots

Setting the scene: Patriots take on Jets at rain-soaked Gillette

10.16.14 at 5:26 pm ET
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Heavy rain is in the forecast as the Patriots look to improve to 7-0 on Thursday night under Tom Brady. (Mike Petraglia/

Heavy rain is in the forecast as the Patriots look to improve to 7-0 on Thursday night under Tom Brady. (Mike Petraglia/

FOXBORO — For the second straight year, the Patriots will play the Jets at Gillette Stadium on a rainy Thursday night. Steady rain with a chance of thunderstorms is in the forecast for the entirety of the game. But temperatures will be very mild, with a kickoff temperature of 64 degrees expected for the 8:25 p.m. start. Temperatures are expected to remain above 60 throughout the night.

A 7 MPH breeze out of the southeast is also in the forecast throughout the game.

In 2013, the Patriots held their home opener against the Jets on Sept. 12 and squeezed out a 13-10 win as the driving rain pelted players, coaches and fans.

The Patriots have won their last five regular season games against the Jets at Gillette Stadium, not including the 28-21 loss to New York in the 2010 playoffs. Overall, the Patriots have won 20 of the last 27 meetings between the two AFC East arch-rivals.

The Patriots will be playing the first game since losing starting linebacker Jerod Mayo and starting tailback Stevan Ridley to season-ending knee injuries. Both were placed on injured reserve. Taking their place are running back Jonas Gray and offensive lineman Chris Barker, who have been activated off the practice squad and are eligible to dress for the game.

Tom Brady enters the game with a perfect 6-0 record in Thursday night games. Bill Belichick is 7-2, with his last loss coming with Matt Cassel at the helm of a 34-31 overtime loss to the Jets on Nov. 13, 2008. Belichick’s only other Thursday loss was the 34-9 Thanksgiving blowout at the hands of the Detroit Lions in his first season in New England in 2000.

The game will also feature the Patriots paying tribute to Ty Law, the cornerback who was inducted into the Patriots Hall of Fame on Aug. 1. The halftime ceremony will be similar to the ones that former Patriots Tedy Bruschi and Troy Brown have enjoyed past primetime games.

The national anthem will be performed by Joey McIntyre of “New Kids on the Block” fame. The game is on the NFL Network as well as CBS nationally. McIntyre stars in the new CBS show, “The McCarthys.”

Read More: Bill Belichick, Jerod Mayo, Joey McIntyre, New England Patriots

Patriots promote RB Jonas Gray, OL Chris Barker, place Stevan Ridley, Jerod Mayo on IR

10.16.14 at 4:32 pm ET
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Jonas Gray

Jonas Gray

FOXBORO — In a move that was expected, practice squad running back Jonas Gray has been promoted to fill the spot on injured running back Stevan Ridley for tonight’s game against the Jets.

Gray impressed the Patriots in training camp and the preseason with his tough physical running style. The second-year back out of Notre Dame played in all four preseason games this year, totaling 37 carries for 142 yards and a 3.8 yard per carry average.

The other injured Patriot from Sunday who is lost for the season, Jerod Mayo, will be replaced by offensive lineman Chris Barker. This move was made with the uncertainty with regard to center Bryan Stork and left guard Dan Connolly. Stork missed the last game in Buffalo with a head injury after leaving in the first half against the Bengals on Oct. 5. Connolly left in the first half last Sunday against the Bills, also with a head injury.

Both Ridley and Mayo were placed on season-ending injured reserve before the 4 p.m. deadline to have Gray and Barker activated. The moves were first reported by ESPN’s Field Yates and NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.


Read More: Bryan Stork, Chris Barker, Dan Connolly, Jerod Mayo
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