Patriots Live Blog: Rob Ninkovich Comes Up Huge in Overtime as Patriots Win 29-26


Patriots Live Blog: Rob Ninkovich Comes Up Huge in Overtime as Patriots Win 29-26Final, Patriots 29-26:
Rob Ninkovich officially gets the game ball, without question.

With the Jets driving deep downfield during the overtime looking for the tying score, Ninkovich, who had 1.5 sacks on the game, made two consecutive big plays to secure the Patriots lead.

Ninkovich stuffed a run deep in the backfield, and then forced Sanchez into a forced fumble on a sack to end the game.

This was way too close for the Patriots liking, or even than it should've been. But in crunch time Gostkowski made the big kicks, Brady completed the big passes and the defense actually stepped up.

Still, the Jets ran more plays and put up more passing and total yards on the day. Sanchez actually looked decent in the second half, and luckily the Patriots were able to pull it out in the end. This should serve as a lesson for New England, though, because they didn't deserve this win.

Overtime, 11:02, Patriots 29-26: The Patriots might have gotten away with some luck, there. But they did take the lead, and that's really all that matters.

Brady led the Patriots on an epic overtime drive, aided by a late flag on a pass along the outside. Gostkowski nailed a 48-yad field goal and the Patriots will now turn to their defense to protect a 29-26 lead.

End Fourth Quarter, 26-26: Tom Brady just did what Tom Brady does.

He was built on late-game comebacks and game-winning drives, and, well, there's evidence that he does still possess some of that old swagger.

Stephen Gostkowski nailed a 43-yarder — nearly shades of Arizona — and tied this thing up at 26-26 entering overtime.

Let's go.

Fourth Quarter, 1:37, Jets 26-23: The Patriots secondary has been atrocious, but Devin McCourty's fumble could be the difference in this game.

McCourty fumbled on a kickoff return, after returning a 104-yard kick earlier in the game, and the Jets were able to get the ball back and take the lead.

Nick Folk kicked a 43-yard field goal, his fourth of the game, and the Jets now lead 26-23.

Fourth Quarter, 2:14, 23-23: The Patriots offense is inept, and the Jets offense continues to roll.

This is like a parallel universe or something. Honestly, Tom Brady has had trouble completing passes downfield all day long and Mark Sanchez suddenly looks like Peyton Manning or at least a respectable quarterback.

Nick Folk added another field goal, this time from 43 yards out, and it's a tie game

This Patriots secondary will honestly make anyone look good, even Sanchez. Brutal.

Fourth Quarter, 5:44, Patriots 23-20: The Patriots defensive strategy in 2011 was "bend but don't break," and it appears they've returned to that once again this year.

After shutting down Sanchez for much of the first half, the Patriots have now allowed two long Jets scoring drives and continue to allow big plays. The Jets have hit on six 20-plus yard plays at this point, an awful stat for a defense who should be able to limit the damage from an almost inept quarterback.

End Third Quarter, Patriots 23-13: What had appeared to be turning into another letdown performance, Tom Brady and the Patriots offense finally turned on their jets — pun very much intended — during that third quarter.

Brady, who was struggling to find time all afternoon, has finally settled into the pocket in large part to the resurgent running game.

Stevan Ridley has carried it 16 times for 61 yards while Vereen — yes, that Vereen – has seen six carries for 45 yards and is finally contributing to the team.

If the Patriots can maintain this consistency on offense, there should be no issue in closing out the Jets and quickly.

Third Quarter, 2:36, Patriots 23-13: The Patriots have finally found some patience on offense, and the running game seems to be spurring things along nicely.

Stevan Ridely, who was limited last week and wasn't heard much from early in this one, has had a number of carries and really re-energize the Patriots attack.

Brady's seemed to get into a bit of rhythm off of that momentum, too, connecting with Welker and Hernandez.

The rhythm panned out, too, as Brady hit Gronk with a two-yard pass for his second score of the game. That gives the Patriots a 10-point lead and could be just what they need to finally close — yes, I know it's early — out Sanchez and these pesky Jets.

Third Quarter, 9:33, Patriots 16-13: Okay, this game is getting too close for comfort.

Folk's 21-yard field goal gets the Jets a little closer.

After a first quarter that seemed headed for a Patriots blowout, the Jets have rallied back and cut this one to within three points.

Tom Brady really needs to step up and lead this offense, even if there is brutal pressure. This offense needs some leading right now, because otherwise New England could be staring downa 3-4 record as they turn their attention to London. Yes, it's getting that bad.

End Second Quarter, Patriots 16-10: A stellar kickoff return from Devin McCourty and some terrific series out of the defense had the Patriots staring down a rout. But the offense is having too tough of a time against the Jets.

Tom Brady is just 9 of 17 for 112 yards and a touchdown at the half. He's looked pretty inconsistent throughout, under throwing some balls and seeming to succumb to the pressure felt from the Jets pass rush.

Without Mankins and Connolly on the offensive line, Brady has constantly been fighting off pressure and can't seem to get enough time to hit guys who have been wide open down field.

On the other side, Sanchez has been decent overall, completing 12 of 21 passes for 138 yards, but a few mistakes stand out among the good. The interception by Dennard was as much a good play by the rookie defender as it was an awful pass from Sanchez. If he doesn't improve and fast, then we could be seeing some more Tebow in the second half.

The biggest concern of the game, though, should be Jerod Mayo's apparent arm injury. He walked off the field at the end of the second quarter and was being attended to on the sideline. Without him in the game, the Patriots defense could be in big trouble — yes, even against Sanchez.

Second Quarter, 0:04, Patriots 16-10: Nick Folk does what Mark Sanchez can't by putting points on the board for the Jets.

A 54-yard field goal cuts the Patriots lead down to six as the teams head for halftime.

Second Quarter, 3:30, Patriots 16-7: Without Connolly and Mankins, the Patriots offensive line has struggled to keep the Jets away from Brady.

Brady's only been sacked once so far, but he's constantly being forced from the pocket. There have been a number of wide open receivers that he's missed because he's been on the run.

Mankins is obviously so valuable to this Patriots offense, but it's showing just how important he is against the Jets today.

Second Quarter, 7:30, Patriots 16-7: First he kicked the ball out of the end zone, now he's back to making his typical mistakes — interceptions.

Alfonzo Dennard, who just made his NFL debut three weeks ago, hauled in his first career interception on an errant Sanchez throw.

The pass was just awful, and with any more wobbly misthrows like that one Sanchez will be on the bench in no time. Get Tebow warming up on the sidelines, because the Jets fans are about to roar up the chants.

Second Quarter, 13:10, Patriots 16-7: Put your hands together, because it's a safety.

The Patriots defense, which looked almost historically bad on the first drive of the game, has now put together consecutive strong stands and even got an extra two points out of it.

Vince Wilfork was the culprit of the pressure up the middle, causing even more havoc than he has already in this one. The pressure saw Sanchez mishandle the ball and suddenly, boom, tack a few points onto that lead.

End First Quarter, Patriots 14-7: The Patriots have made a commitment to running the ball against this Jets defense, but the tailback choice may have you scratching your head.

Shane Vereen, who has been absent from the Patriots offense pretty much all season, has seen four carries for 21 yards as well as a catch for 10 yards on the outside. Meanwhile, Stevan Ridley, the normal starter, has only touched the ball twice.

The carries will likely balance out by the end, but it's an interesting storyline to watch. Also, Julian Edelman is back on the field and Wes Welker has yet to see a pass his way. Cue the rampant speculation about Welker's demise… now.

First Quarter, 2:00, Patriots 14-7: With Mankins already out for the game, the Patriots are now down yet another offensive lineman.

Dan Connolly, who was absent on the field up until game time, is now listed as "questionable" for a return to the game with an unidentified illness.

With both Connolly and Mankins out, the Patriots are down to Nick McDonald and Donald Thomas at guard. I bet they're regretting cutting Matt Tennant now.

First Quarter, 4:11, Patriots 14-7: Brady was a little inconsistent on the first drive of the day, but he more than made up for it with that spirited offensive effort.

The Patriots utilized three tight ends for most of that drive, hitting Gronkowski and Hernandez down the seam to get things going. Then Gronk was the recipient of the score as well, hauling in the 17-yard touchdown to put the Patriots on top 14-7.

First Quarter, 8:39, 7-7: And just as I was about to start ripping Devin McCourty for that defensive dud on the Jets first drive, boom!

McCourty just busted the ensuing kickoff return to the house 104 yards for the touchdown.

It's been quite some time since the Patriots have had a dangerous return game, but with McCourty's speed back there it's always a problem.

That 104-yard return is the second-longest in Patriots history, second only to Ellis Hobbs 108-yard return back in 2007 against, you guessed it, the Jets.

First Quarter, 8:49, Jets 7-0: Shonn Greene gets credited with the one-yard touchdown to give the Jets an early lead, but the Patriots defense really deserve all the credit for that one.

Kyle Arrington got burned, yet again, on the outside, which is miserable considering he's covering Jeremy Kerley. Meanwhile, the rest of the secondary doesn't have much to be proud of either. They were atrocious, and so the trials and tribulations in the defensive backfield continue.

First Quarter, 13:42: Dan Connolly has arrived, or at least is starting. Oh yeah, and Shane Vereen started at tailback on the first series of the game.

Connolly, who was MIA ahead of gametime, was out in his normal guard spot in front of Tom Brady for the first series. But it was Vereen's presence, and three straight touches, that was the most surprising tidbit from the start of this one.

If Vereen can get going early, making up for Brandon Bolden's absence, then he and Ridley could really pound this miserable Jets run defense.

4:25 p.m.: Game time is upon us, let's take a look at some important storylines for this one.

1. Where's Dan Connolly? – The Patriots right guard hasn't been seen on the field all day, and with Mankins already out he'll be even more important than usual. But first he needs to show up.

2. Can Patriots secondary contain anything? – Sanchez isn't the most accurate passer, but with both Chung and Gregory out in this one the pressure will be on. Can rookies Wilson and Nate Ebner make due?

3:58 p.m.: With Chung missing from the secondary, the Patriots will likely drop a cornerback into that strong safety role to fill the void.

Now with both starting safeties on the sidelines, there will be more of an onus on rookie Tavon Wilson to perform. But alongside him in the defensive backfield will likely be a bit of a rotation.

While the speculation tends to indicate Devin McCourty would be the option, pregame warmups saw Sterling Moore take more reps back there than anyone. It wouldn't surprise me to see Moore and maybe even Ras-I Dowling see some time back there, as the size and physicality of Dowling wouldn't deviate too much from Chung's style of play.

As for the offensive line, Donald Thomas will probably be called upon to fill Mankins' spot in front of Brady. But without the Patriots best lineman, Brady will probably be under a lot more pressure and the running game could also suffer from his absence.

3:35 p.m.: Patrick Chung and Logan Mankins won't be suiting up for the Patriots here on Sunday.

With some limited time in practice this week, both Chung and Mankins appear to still be suffering from their injuries and will be inactive for the game against the Jets.

Here's a complete list of both teams inactives:

Patriots:
S Patrick Chung
S Steve Gregory
RB Brandon Bolden
LB Tracy White
OL Logan Mankins
DL Jake Bequette
DL Ron Brace

Jets:
QB Greg McElroy
WR Clyde Gates
RB Bilal Powell
S Eric Smith
OL Caleb Schlauderaff
DL Sione Po'uha
DL Kenrick Ellis

3:03 p.m.: Tim Tebow spent an extended period of time out on the field during pregame warmups.

Mark Sanchez was out on the field throwing passes to a few receivers, but he wasn't out there nearly as long as Tebow.

Tebow spent the majority of his time throwing passes with coaches and to receivers running routes. The indication here could be that Tebow sees an extended role in the passing attack against the Patriots.

Sanchez has been struggling mightily this year, completing just 49 percent of his passes through the first six games, and maybe the addition of Tebow into the passing mix could help alleviate some pressure and find more success. Then again, it also could turn out to backfire on the Jets knowing that Tebow isn't exactly the most accurate passer in football.

2:25 p.m.: Good afternoon, Foxboro!

There's plenty of anticipation for a rivalry game as the Jets come to town looking to keep their place atop the AFC East — yes, technically they're No. 1 even though all four teams are tied. But that won't be an easy task.

The Patriots have a number of questions regarding their lineup and two of those question marks — Dont'a Hightower (hamstring) and Ron Brace (back) could be seen out on the field testing out their respective injuries ahead of game time.

The two remain questionable for the game, but Hightower did appear to be moving well and that could mean his return after two weeks away from game action. As for Brace, he's played the past few weeks and I wouldn't be surprised to see him suit up again here on Sunday.

12 p.m.: Gillette may be quiet, for the time being at least, but this game day should offer some fireworks.

With the Jets in town, this game is going to contain a little more emotion than most. Let's see if Tom Brady and crew can overcome their letdown in Seattle and take control of the AFC East.

8 a.m. ET: The disappointment of a tough loss in Seattle is now in the rear-view
mirror, and the Patriots' attention turns to the visiting Jets.

Rex Ryan leads the Jets into Foxboro for an important early-season division showdown. With all four AFC East teams tied at 3-3 atop the division, there's even more riding on this typically heated rivalry.

Tom Brady is unhappy with how New England has played late in games this season, and an ailing secondary knows that a lot of the defensive issues have stemmed from their inconsistent play. With Steve Gregory out again this weekend and Patrick Chung still dinged up from last week's loss, Devin McCourty could see a shift back to safety against New York.

The secondary issues shouldn't be exploited too much against a stagnant Jets passing attack. Mark Sanchez is completing less than 50 percent of his passes and has thrown just eight touchdowns to six interceptions. Not having Santonio Holmes certainly doesn't help his case, but
Sanchez's accuracy and confidence continue to be in flux each week.

There will be plenty to keep an eye on as Sanchez and the Jets take the field, and injuries to key Patriots will make for some interesting decisions before kickoff. So keep it here for all your news, notes and analysis for your New England Patriots.

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