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Snap Judgments: Patriots 29, Jets 26

10.21.12 at 7:52 pm ET
By

FOXBORO — The Patriots had another late-game meltdown Sunday against the Jets, but a 43-yard field goal from Stephen Gostkowski at the buzzer tied it and a 48-yarder from Gostkowski in overtime — combined with a defensive stop from New England in the extra session — allowed New England to escape with a 29-26 win over New York.

New England led 23-13 at the start of the fourth quarter, but the Jets put up 13 points late, with the final three coming on a 43-yard field goal by Nick Folk. Meanwhile, the Patriots, who had held fourth-quarter leads against the Ravens and Seahawks only to see them lose late, stalled out again down the stretch. That was until a fourth-quarter drive from quarterback Tom Brady ended with a 43-yard field goal from Gostkowski to force overtime and a stout stand in the extra session.

In overtime, the Patriots won the toss and came out with a 12-play. 54-yard drive that took 3:58 and ended with Gostkowski’s 48-yarder to give New England the lead. That set the stage for a sack from Rob Ninkovich and Jermaine Cunningham on Mark Sanchez. New England recovered, and that was the ballgame.

The Patriots were led by quarterback Tom Brady, who finished with 26-for-42 for 259 and two touchdowns, while Stevan Ridley had 17 carries for 65 yards and Wes Welker had six catches for 66 yards and Rob Gronkowski had six receptions for 78 yards and two touchdowns.

WHAT WENT WRONG

•The Patriots escaped with the win, but stunning breakdowns on both sides of the ball in the fourth quarter continue to dog New England. They led by nine in the fourth quarter against the Ravens and ended up losing. They were up 13 in the fourth quarter against the Seahawks and suffered the defeat. And it was the same old story on Sunday, as New England had its’ chances on both sides of the ball to blow the doors off the Jets all afternoon and couldn’t convert.

•As was the case through much of the first six games, the Patriots left a lot of scoring opportunities out on the field throughout the afternoon, particularly early. The Jets had a safety, an ill-timed penalty that gave the ball back to New England after a punt and a turnover (a pick by rookie Alfonzo Dennard on a horribly thrown ball by Mark Sanchez), but the Patriots could only push out to a six-point lead at halftime. It all came back to bite them in the end, as New England couldn’t hold on down the stretch.

•The Patriots’ pass defense again yielded at least six pass plays of 20-plus yards, as the Jets and Mark Sanchez moved up and down the field fairly easily. New England was able to mollify the problem with some red zone stops, but it was another tough day for the Patriots’ pass defense. (That doesn’t even take into account three defensive holding calls against cornerback Ras-I Dowling.)

WHAT WENT RIGHT

•The Patriots were able to convert their first kickoff return for a touchdown on the season when McCourty brought a first-half return back 104 yards for New England’s first touchdown of the day. It was a great read by the defensive back, who went inside and then outside. He delivered a fantastic juke on kicker Nick Folk and ended up taking it all the way back for the second-longest kick return in Patriots’ history, and the first kick return for more than 40 yards for New England since offensive lineman Dan Connolly returned one 71 yards against the Packers in 2010.

•In the third quarter, the New England offense went on a 15-play, 83-yard drive — the most consistent of the afternoon for the Patriots. New England used 6:54 on that drive, which was highlighted by two catches from Wes Welker that helped New England convert on third downs. In addition, there was a 16-yard completion from Tom Brady to Aaron Hernandez that got the Patriots down to the New York one. After a loss of one yard, Brady found Rob Gronkowski for a two-yard touchdown pass, ending the series and giving the Patriots a 23-13 lead.

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