|11.22.12 at 10:52 pm ET|
EAST RUTHERFORD — The third quarter is complete here at MetLife Stadium, and the Patriots remain in control, holding a 35-12 edge.
‘¢The Jets were unable to do anything with their first possession of the second half. Meanwhile, the Patriots crossed into New York territory on their first drive of the quarter, but Julian Edelman coughed it up on a nasty hit from New York safety LaRon Landry. (The tunrnover sparked more “Te-bow” chants, but Rex Ryan and the Jets did not oblige.) The hit was severe enough for New England to remove Edelman from the game — the team later announced that he had a head injury, and his return was questionable.
‘¢Following the Patriots turnover, New York sent more fans for the parking lots when they got all the way down to the New England 1-yard line, but couldn’t punch it in midway through the third quarter. The Jets got their first real break of the night after the Patriots took over when running back Stevan Ridley was called for a chop block on a pass play where Brady was dropping back to pass while he was in the end zone, drawing a safety and cutting New England’s lead to 35-5.
‘¢The Jets got their first touchdown of the night after the Patriots punted to them following the safety. Bilal Powell had a 4-yard touchdown run at the end of a relatively uneventful four-play, 71-yard drive that made the score 35-12 with 4:41 remaining in the third quarter.
|11.22.12 at 10:24 pm ET|
EAST RUTHERFORD — Midway through the second quarter, with the Jets already down 14-0, Mark Sanchez tried to slide on a scramble near the line of scrimmage.
What happened next will go into NFL lore as one of the most humorous gaffes ever committed by a quarterback.
As he was going to the ground, he ran face-first into the rear end of his own lineman – Brandon Moore – and fumbled the ball. Steve Gregory scooped up the fumbled and ran 32 yards for the touchdown.
“I was thinking a different play in my head, just a mental error there,” Sanchez said of his aborted handoff. “So, as soon as I realized there was nobody to hand it to, I started to run to toward the line and tried to cover it up and just get down, and I slid right into Brandon Moore. That was kind of an unfortunate deal there. I’m not a big believer in luck but that was pretty unlucky. It was really too bad.”
On the ensuing kickoff, Joe McKnight fumbled the kickoff when Devin McCourty delivered a crushing hit. The ball popped up in the air and was hauled down by Julian Edelman, who returned it 22 yards for a touchdown.
But the head-into-butt moment will be the defining moment of a disastrous season for the Jets and perhaps Sanchez’ career.
|11.22.12 at 9:56 pm ET|
EAST RUTHERFORD — The Patriots have taken command of this one with 35 second-quarter points — including 21 in 52 seconds — on the way to a 35-3 halftime lead on their division rivals. Here are a few quick halftime notes:
‘¢It was a big quarter for safety Steve Gregory. The Patriots got on the board first with 14:54 left in the second quarter when Tom Brady found Wes Welker for a three-yard touchdown pass. That put the capper on a 15-play, 84-yard drive that started after New England’s first takeaway of the game, an interception by Gregory late in the first quarter.
‘¢Gregory accounted for another takeaway on New York’s first drive of the second quarter. Again, the Jets had driven into New England territory — this time, they were at the Patriots’ 31-yard line — but fumbled the ball away after going for it on 4th and less than a yard. The ball was knocked away, and Gregory came away with it again at the New England 17.
‘¢Following that turnover, the Patriots took an immediate shot at the end zone when Brady connected with Shane Vereen on an 83-yard touchdown pass, their best-executed play of the first half. Vereen accounted for the bulk of the yardage, as the quarterback found him with a swing pass and he darted down the New England sideline for the score to make it 14-0 with 9:43 left in the first half.
‘¢That’s when the nuttiness began: On the first play from scrimmage on the following drive, Mark Sanchez botched a handoff, and then ran directly into the backside of offensive linemen Brandon Moore. Flattened, he dropped to the ground and dropped the ball. Gregory picked up up again and dashed 32 yards to the end zone for the score, making it 21-0 with 9:00 left in the second quarter.
‘¢It only got worst for the Jets — on the ensuing kickoff, Joe McKnight was popped by Devin McCourty and coughed up the football. Julian Edelman plucked it out of midair and ran it back 22 yards for ANOTHER touchdown to make it 28-0. That prompted the MetLife crowd to start chanting for backup quarterback Tim Tebow.
‘¢There was no Tebow, but following a Jets punt, the Patriots put the capper on the half with a four-play, 73-yard drive that ended with a 56-yard touchdown pass from Brady to Edelman where wide receiver was able to sneak neatly behind the Jets defense and safety LaRon Landry and haul in the deep ball to make it an unfathomable 35-0 late in the second quarter.
‘¢The Jets got their first points of the game at the end of the second quarter when Nick Folk connected on a 32-yard field goal that brought Bronx cheers from the Jets’ faithful.
|11.22.12 at 9:03 pm ET|
EAST RUTHERFORD — The first quarter is in the books here at MetLife Stadium and there’s no score. Here are a few quick notes:
‘¢The Jets won the toss and deferred. The Patriots got off to a slow start when Tom Brady was swarmed by a New York rush, tried to dump the ball off and was called for intentional grounding. (His second flag for intentional grounding this season.) In the end, New England went three-and-out (despite the fact that the Patriots got Aaron Hernandez back on the field for the first time in a month), and were forced to punt the ball away.
‘¢Offensively, the Patriots put together their most impressive drive of the game to this point at the end of the first quarter, as the session ended, New England was on the Jets’ three after starting a drive at its own 16 following an interception by Steve Gregory.
‘¢The Jets fared no better early on — Mark Sanchez was sacked on the first play of the game on what appeared to be a blitz from rookie linebacker Dont’a Hightower. That put them in a hole they couldn’t get out of, and eventually had to punt the ball away. The Patriots responded by driving into Jets’ territory on a drive that included a 28-yard pickup from Brady to Aaron Hernandez — his first catch since he returned from his injury, but Stephen Gostkowski missed a 39-yard field goal attempt.
‘¢Defensively, the Patriots opened with Devin McCourty and Gregory at safety and Aqib Talib and Alfonzo Dennard at corner. One other wrinkle — they had Rob Ninkovich playing his end-of-the-line spot on the right side, the same spot he was last week after Chandler Jones went down with his ankle injury. Jermaine Cunningham was on the opposite side. The defensive highlight of the quarter for the Patriots came after the Gostkowski miss — a pick from Gregory on Sanchez, just as the Jets were driving in New England territory. Gregory did a nice job reading the pattern coming across the middle — he juggled the ball but secured it quickly to come away with his second interception of the season and the fifth pick for the Patriots in the last three weeks.
|11.22.12 at 7:12 pm ET|
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The following players were inactive for Thursday’s game against the Jets: Sebastian Vollmer, Logan Mankins, Rob Gronkowski, Chandler Jones, Jake Bequette, Markus Zusevics and Marquice Cole.
Vollmer has been hampered by a back and knee injury as of late, while Mankins has been slowed by calf and ankle problems. Expect the Patriots to go with Donald Thomas in place of Mankins, while Marcus Cannon will likely see the bulk of the reps in place of Vollmer at right tackle. (And Dan Connolly appears ready to resume his role as the starting right guard in the roster after a week on the sidelines.)
Jones went down with an ankle issue last week against the Colts — in his place, expect to see Jermaine Cunningham and Trevor Scott see the bulk of the reps. (It will be interesting to see if they flip Rob Ninkovich from one side to the other defensive end spot like they did last week when Jones initially went down.)
No shock on Gronkowski, Bequette and Zusevics — the big tight end had surgery for an arm injury in the waning moments of the win over the Colts, while Bequette is a rookie who has been a healthy scratch more often than not this season. And Zusevics was activated just before the game, which means it was no surprise he’ll be on the sidelines this week.
Two names who aren’t on the list stick out. First, tight end Aaron Hernandez will be back in the lineup after am extended stretch on the shelf because of an ankle injury that has dogged him since a Week 2 loss to the Cardinals. And second, the fact that safety Patrick Chung is healthy will create an intriguing mix in the secondary. With Chung, Steve Gregory and Devin McCourty all healthy, how to the Patriots utilize their safeties? And with Cole not in the lineup, does the lack of depth at that spot make New England move McCouty back to corner.
|11.22.12 at 4:59 pm ET|
|11.22.12 at 4:34 pm ET|
EAST RUTHERFORD — The forecast calls for clear skies and temperatures in the mid-40s for the 8:20 p.m. kickoff between the 7-3 Patriots and the 4-6 Jets at MetLife Stadium.
With Gronkowski missing his first game, tonight could mark the return of Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez to the lineup after a three-game absence with a recurrence of his right ankle sprain. Ironically, Hernandez last played against the Jets on Oct. 21 at Gillette Stadium.
The Patriots are aiming for their fifth straight win. They are a combined 18-0 in the second half of the season, dating back to Jan. 3, 2010, when they lost, 34-27, at Houston.
The Patriots could essentially end the slim playoff hopes of the Jets with a win, as they would sweep the season series. Each team has 14 season sweeps in the long history of the rivalry, but New York hasn’t turned the trick since 2000. This is the 108th meeting between the teams, including the playoffs. The Patriots lead the series, 54-52-1, including 2-1 in the postseason.
Tom Brady is 2-0 in his two previous appearances on Thanksgiving, beating the Lions both times, including 45-24 two years ago at Ford Field. The Patriots played their first Thanksgiving game 28 years ago to the day, losing to the Cowboys, 20-17. They lost in Detroit, 34-9, in Bill Belichick‘s first season in New England in 2000.
Just four hours before the game, the team announced the activation of offensive lineman Markus Zusevics for depth, while releasing wide receiver Greg Salas.
The Jets also made several moves prior to the game, signing CB Donnie Fletcher, CB Darrin Walls and WR Jordan White from the practice squad to the active roster.
White (WR/6-0/215/Western Michigan/Cleveland, OH) was a seventh-round selection of the Jets in the 2012 NFL Draft. He was signed to the team’s practice squad (09/02/12) after being waived following training camp (08/27/12). White was waived from the practice squad on Sept. 28 before re-signing with the Jets on Oct. 2. In four years at Western Michigan, he started 32-of-43 games he played and produced 306 receptions for 4,187 yards and 32 touchdowns. White will wear number 17.
Fletcher (CB/6-1/195/Boston College/Cleveland, OH) entered the NFL after signing with the Jets as an undrafted free agent on May 4. He joined the Jets practice squad Sept. 1 after being waived following training camp on Aug. 31. New York signed Fletcher to the active roster from the practice squad on Sept. 22 for their game at Miami. He was waived Sept. 24 later re-signed to the Jets practice squad the next day. Fletcher will wear number 34.
Walls (CB/6-0/190/Notre Dame/Pittsburgh, PA) entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent with Atlanta July 27, 2011 and recorded one interception and two passes defensed in five games as a rookie. He was waived by the Falcons during the preseason Aug. 27 and later signed to the Jets practice squad Sept. 12. Walls will wear number 27.
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