Patriots Live Blog: New England’s Defense Comes Up Big As Pats Roll Past Jets 49-19

Final, Patriots 49-19: That got out of hand, and fast. “Yeah, Brick killed a guy with a trident….”

Alright, well, maybe it wasn’t a trident, and maybe Brick was the Patriots and the guy was the Jets’ playoff hopes. But that really did get out of hand.

For what was supposed to be an exciting Thursday night football game, that was disgusting.

Tom Brady scored four times, including one rushing touchdown, and the Patriots scored once on defense and another time on special teams. That means, for the second straight week, New England has scored a touchdown in all three facets of the game.

Steve Gregory was in on four turnovers. He forced a fumble, intercepted a pass and recovered a pair of fumbles, including one for a touchdown. He led a defensive effort that included two picks, two sacks and five forced fumbles.

Overall, that was a terrific effort by the entire team. Wes Welker, Shane Vereen, Julian Edelman and Stevan Ridley also got in on the scoring action.

So, while you take all that in and let it fester, which Patriots player do you think deserves this week’s game ball?

Fourth Quarter, 2:00, Patriots 49-19: Oh, Dustin Keller scored a touchdown to bring it to 49-19, for all you keeping track at home.

Let the tryptophan sink in and enjoy the night, because this one looks like it’s all over.

Fourth Quarter, 2:52, Patriots 49-12: For real this time, riddle me this. Why is Brady still in the game at quarterback?

I understand you hate the Jets, and that you want to put the biggest hurting on them as humanly possible in a 60-minute game. But why are you going to risk your best player in a meaningless end to a now meaningless game?

Must be saving Mallett’s arm for the postseason.

Fourth Quarter, 12:02, Patriots 49-12: Ridley me this.

Alright, I don’t know where I’m going with this one. I’ve gotten completely stir crazy in the press box and have resorted to making terrible puns. Let’s act as if I don’t normally.

As such, Ridley just punched in a nine-yard score, and this game is all but over at 49-12. Let’s call it a night and go to bed … or at least get a snack!

Fourth Quarter, 12:02, Patriots 42-12: Brady can be sneaky, especially near the goal line.

A one-yard score gives Brady four touchdowns on the day, and fantasy owners must be grinning real wide.

Seriously, this is absurd. A 30-point deficit is bad enough, but Rex missed Thanksgiving dinner for this.

OK, no more Ryan fat jokes. But he may need to eat more leftovers than a teenage girl who was just broken up with. Yup, it’s that bad.

Also, this place is empty. I mean, completely empty. There might be one-eighth of the seats filled at this point.

End Third Quarter, Patriots 35-12: The Jets were rolling in the third quarter. They even shut out the Patriots 9-0.

So, the Jets are back then, right? Well, if you call a 22-point deficit being back then, sure, they’re back.

At least these fans don’t have to be embarrassed that the only scores they had on the night were a field goal and a safety. There’s a touchdown in there now. It is Thanksgiving, and I’d say Rex is pretty thankful for that.

I wonder how many plates of leftovers Rex is going to eat after this one, though.

Third Quarter, 3:32, Patriots 35-12: Five points obviously weren’t enough. The Jets now have 12 points on the night. Boomshackalacka.

Mark Sanchez is doing his best Tony Romo impersonation by giving up a big lead and then leading his team to a bunch of meaningless scoring drives. Seriously, these guys might as well be brothers — or at least distant cousins. They both stink.

Either way, the Patriots need a score here just to reaffirm their dominance over this suddenly enthused — even if only slightly — Jets crowd.

Third Quarter, 6:42, Patriots 35-5: Just when you thought the Jets were in danger, safety arrived.

Ha, a little football humor on that one. But seriously, Stevan Ridley got caught with a chop block in the end zone, and the Jets now have five whole points. Woohoo!

Aside from that, the New England defense has been the talk of the night.

Sanchez drove the Jets all the way down to the one-yard line. But alas, nothing but some sand to pound for that Gang Green offense.

Spikes, Jerod Mayo and Gregory have been huge on the night. There’s gotta be a game ball in there for a number of these guys.

Third Quarter, 8:22, Patriots 35-3: Sorry — I was in a collective state of shock for much of that halftime. I must’ve even blacked out Lenny Kravitz’s performance. Devastating!

The majority of the Jets crowd is still here, but about one quarter of these fans must have left at halftime, given the excessive number of empty seats all over the stands.

I understand this is an ugly, embarrassing game. Truly, I do. But, if I paid $150-plus for these seats, I’d damn well be sure to get my time and/or money’s worth.

Halftime, Patriots 35-3: I’ve been hearing The Twilight Zone music going off in my head since basically the start of the second quarter. And Mark Sanchez isn’t making things any better.

Sanchez’s first half included an interception, a fumble and a bum rush — literally — into his offensive lineman, and the Jets’ 35-point deficit can’t even be questioned because of it.

Turnovers continue to be the flavor of the season for the Patriots. Four forced turnovers in the first half, and Sanchez has apparently reverted back to his crummy self for this game.

Brandon Spikes forced a fumble with some serious strength, tossing it almost 20 yards downfield. But Steve Gregory has been the defensive story of the half, picking off a pass, scooping up a pair of fumbles and scoring a touchdown.

It doesn’t help that the Patriots scored three touchdowns in a matter of 56 seconds off those turnovers, extending their lead to 28-0 at the time. It’s now 35-3, and the Jets fans were even booing their kicker after scoring the only points of the game.

This is embarrassing for the Jets, their fans and pretty much everyone involved in this game. The Patriots must be pleased with a 32-point lead heading into the half, but yikes — this is ugly with a capital “U.”

Second Quarter, 2:51, Patriots 35-0: Julian Edelman is a weapon — not like the Patriots need anymore.

While Brady and Brandon Lloyd continue to struggle with their connection on deep balls, Brady and Edelman seem to be right in rhythm.

A 59-yard touchdown grab gives Edelman two scores on the night, and all the questions about putting consecutive performances together are put to rest … just like this game.

Second Quarter, 8:51, Patriots 28-0: Seriously, what is happening? Am I in an episode of The Twilight Zone?

The first touchdown marked Gregory’s third turnover of the game, with the pick and now two fumble recoveries. That’s weird enough after all the grief he’s gotten this season.

And not to overshadow Gregory here, but Sanchez is literally falling apart before our very eyes.

Sanchez just tackled himself into the butt of Brandon Moore, fumbling the ball, and then Gregory returned the fumble for a score to make it 21-0.

Now, it was McKnight fumbling on the kickoff return. Edelman gets the touchdown, and then … another touchdown. That’s three touchdowns in the matter of 56 seconds. Umm, is that a record? If not, then it should be.

Second Quarter, 9:44, Patriots 14-0: Ok, so this is getting silly.

First it was Spikes’ strength. Now it’s Vereen’s speed.

Shane Vereen was a nobody in the Patriots’ offense just four weeks ago, and now he looks like an integral piece to the puzzle.

Vereen busted out a 83-yard touchdown catch-and-run off a screen pass from Brady. The play was nice, but the speed he showed after the catch was the real impressive part.

I mean, talk about off to the races. This dude would have just beat “I’ll Have Another” at the Kentucky Derby. I’m talking Jeff Demps fast. Damn.

Second Quarter, 10:04, Patriots 7-0: Well, well, well. What do we have here?

Another turnover, you say? The Patriots are the best team in the NFL at creating turnovers, and Brandon Spikes just created another.

Even more impressive than the second turnover in less than two quarters, though, is Spikes’ strength. He just swatted that ball out Shonn Greene’s hand and it flew about 20 yards down field. Was this guy born half-moose, half-human?

Second Quarter, 14:54, Patriots 7-0: Need a replacement for the Gronk? Look no further than Wes Welker.

The questions all week surrounded how the Ptriots would replace Gronk, especially in the red zone. Well, with a drive getting in close to the goal line, Welker was the target, and the shifty little receiver got it done.

A three-yard touchdown grab puts the Patriots up 7-0 and might put some of the growing Gronk concerns to bed — for now.

End First Quarter: A scoreless first quarter? I’m pretty sure no one predicted that.

The Patriots and Jets both had their chances, but kicked — or, in Sanchez’s case, threw — them away.

Gostkowski’s miss only further raises concerns over his inconsistencies in the kicking game. But Sanchez’s pick must be far more worrisome for the Jets, seeing as it indicates he’s still not progressing in this offense.

Brady hasn’t been very sharp to start, completing just 4 of 10 passes. But Ridley and Vereen have carried the offensive load with 66 first quarter yards.

Oh yeah, and Steve Gregory is a beast.

First Quarter, 6:03: Steve Gregory is constantly being criticized for his inconsistent play out of the secondary. But he’s finally making good on his expectations heading into the season.

Gregory picked off a Mark Sanchez pass and cut down a Jets deep drive downfield before they had a chance to take the early lead.

The secondary seems to be playing much more aggressive since Talib came on board, and Gregory is just one of the guys reaping some of the benefits. Also, I’m not sure Patrick Chung would’ve read the route the same way or been able to come up with that pick.

First Quarter, 10:03: Well, there’s good news and there’s bad news. I would ask which you want first, but given I’m manning this live blog and don’t want to wait for your tweets to roll through, I’ll go with the good.

Rob Ninkovich is back to sideline and on the field, following a quick run to the locker room. Bathroom break, maybe?

As for the bad, Stephen Gostkowski just botched a 39-yard field goal that would’ve given the Patriots an early lead.

That’s Gostkowski’s second missed field goal in as many games, which could become a much bigger problem as the season goes on. If the kicking game can’t figure things out, then the Jets could have a much easier time than anticipated.

First Quarter, 11:38: The defense looked stout in their first action of the day. But hey, the Dcould be getting even thinner along the line.

Rob Ninkovich headed to the locker room, running the entire way, and looked to be holding his arm tight to his chest.

Without Jones already, the Patriots are thin on the outside. But add Nink to that absentee list, and suddenly the pass rush looks even weaker.

First Quarter, 13:28: Th Patriots got the ball first, but what was hopeful to be a quick strike turned into a foiled drive.

Brady and the offense went a quick three and out, which isn’t a good sign for the first series of life without Gronk.

Hernandez should see some extended playing time, but can he be effective enough to help propel the offense?

8:25 p.m.: Pretty cool moment just ahead of game time.

After the Jets players ran out of the tunnel, New York firefighters and police ran out of the tunnel with some serious giddy excitement. It was pretty sweet to see the first responders get all amped up down on the field, and for the fans to properly salute them.

8:11 p.m.: The players are amped up out on the field here at Metlife Stadium, and Tom Brady has his fierce face in full gear as he gears up for the Jets.

But even a no-nonsense face like that can’t protect him from a weakened and seriously depleted offensive line. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the biggest questions heading into this Thanksgiving showdown at the Meadowlands with this week’s Three and Out.

1. Replacing the Gronk – Gronk is out for at least the next four games, and that means some other guys will need to step up on offense to make up for his production. Aaron Hernandez’s return should help alleviate the blow, but his role is still to be fully determined. As for the rest of the production, Wes Welker will need to take on more of the offensive load, and Visanthe Shiancoe and Daniel Fells will have to take on the extra tight end responsibilities.

2. Keeping up with the Jones – Speaking of stars on the shelf, Chandler Jones will miss his first game of the season here on Thursday, and the defensive line will be hard-pressed to make up for his presence on defense. Rob Ninkovich will have some extra responsibilities to put pressure on Mark Sanchez,but Jermaine Cunningham will once again need to provide any added pass rush. We’ll see if the Patriots can get a push against this O line and force some errant throws without arguably their best pass rusher.

3. Holding the line — Mankins is out again. That hasn’t been a huge problem, so far, but will the Patriots be able to make up for Sebastian Vollmer’s presence along the line? Vollmer has been playing at an All-Pro level of late. And with him unable to give it a go against the Jets, New England will be looking to the likes of Nick McDonald and Marcus Cannon to fill the hole he’s leaving behind. How much time will Brady have in the pocket, and will he have enough of an opportunity to find his open receivers?

We’ll just have to wait and see. But in the meantime, keep it locked here with the live blog for all your New England Patriots news, notes and analysis.

7:51 p.m.: Also, who’s watching the end of this Cowboys vs. Redskins game?

Tony Romo literally looks like Tom Brady right now, and Dez Bryant is finally showing up like Michael Irvin in the No. 88 jersey.

If this defense can hold Robert Griffin III at the end, they may actually have a chance to pull off a major comeback win.

Something big could finally be going down in Big D.

7:38 p.m.: Just before the start of the season, New England traded a late-round pick to the Rams in exchange for wide receiver Greg Salas. But after an extended stint on the practice squad and some time with the first teamers last week, Salas is no more.

Salas was waived by the Patriots Thursday night to make room for offensive lineman Markus Zusevics on the 53-man roster. Zusevics has been on the Patriots’ practice squad for most of the season, but with lingering injuries to guard Logan Mankins and tackle Sebastian Vollmer, his addition to provide more depth.

Salas did see a few plays on one series with the offense against the Colts last Sunday, but his impact was minor if at all noticeable.

Zusevics is inactive against the Jets for this Thanksgiving night showdown, and Salas is likely an option for the practice squad should he pass through the waiver wire.

7:15 p.m.: The Patriots will obviously be without tight end Rob Gronkowski tonight, given his surgically repaired forearm. But — on Thanksgiving, no less — the Patriots are getting something they can be thankful for.

The returns of tight end Aaron Hernandez and safety Patrick Chung will help bolster a receiving corps and secondary that have been left thin in recent weeks.

Hernandez’s availability should be a point to watch, specifically how many plays he’ll be allotted, but his presence will be helpful nontheless.

As for Chung, the depth on defense will be helpful, but where will Devin McCourty line up come game time? That is the million-dollar question. McCourty has looked solid over the top in coverage, but will he stick around at safety, or would he and new acquisition Aqib Talib be better suited on the corners in the New England secondary?

7 p.m.: Rob Gronkowski, Logan Mankins and Chandler Jones were all ruled out ahead of tonight’s game, but there was one surprise on the inactives list for the Patriots here at the Meadowlands.

Sebastian Vollmer, who was listed as questionable on Wednesday’s injury report, will be out against the Jets. That means that the Patriots line will be even thinner as Logan Mankins is slated to miss yet another game.

Check out the full list of inactives for both teams below.

Patriots:
Chandler Jones
OL Logan Mankins
TE Rob Gronkowski
OL Sebastian Vollmer
OL Mark Vusevics
DL Jake Bequette
CB Marquice Cole

Jets:
QB Greg McElroy
RB Kahlil Bell
CB Eric Berry
DL Damon Harrison
G Caleb Schlauderaff
G Hayworth Hicks
TE Hayden Smith

6:20 p.m.: Some Patriots players are out on the field here at Metlife, working out some of the kinks and getting all jacked up for a showdown with the AFC East rival Jets.

The stadium has yet to open its gates, but we’re sure to see fans filling the seats in no time as Tom Brady gets ready to lead New England onto the field against Mark Sanchez and the Jets.

While I prepare to provide you with the most up-to-date info ahead of gametime, check out my view from the press box. This place is no Gillette, but it’s pretty sweet.

5:38 p.m.: Most people have carved up the turkey and are already starting on the dessert portion of their meal. But I’m just getting set and ready for a long night ahead here at MetLife Stadium.

There’s plenty for us to cover ahead of game time, including a new addition to the Patriots offense and a wild finish in Detroit.

So, wrap up the leftovers and grab a big plate of pie, because we’ve got a rivalry ready to be reborn down at the Meadowlands.

8 a.m. ET: It’s a beautiful day for a parade here in New York City, but it’s also a great day for some football.

Thanksgiving simply wouldn’t be complete without the continued tradition of turkey and football overtaking America. And the Patriots will be extending that practice with a Thursday night showdown at the Meadowlands to get you over your tryptophan hangover.

Tom Brady is 2-0 in Thanksgiving Day games (2002, 2010), but this time around he’ll be celebrating Turkey Day with the AFC East rival Jets to see who gets the divisional drumstick. That feat might face a tougher test this week, though, as not only does the short week present a problem, but Rob Gronkowski’s injury will keep the talented tight end off the field for four to eight weeks.

Gronk, who had surgery to repair his broken left forearm on Monday, was just getting back into the swing of the season before the injury, and now the Patriots are left with a gaping hole on offense.

The return of tight end Aaron Hernandez could help fill the void in the meantime, but Brady will need some other players to step up as well if he expects to continue the recent rhythm in the passing game. Visanthe Shiancoe, Daniel Fells and even Brandon Lloyd and Julian Edelman will be relied on to make up for the missing production.

As for the Jets, a big win in St. Louis has them sitting at 4-6 and feeling more confident as the Patriots come to town. But their success rides on Mark Sanchez’s shoulder, and which version of Sanchez shows up could determine the Jets’ chances on Thursday.

The action won’t get under way until a little after 8:20 p.m. So, get your fill of turkey, stuffing and potatoes early, and then be sure to keep up with our live blog, which we’ll be updating from MetLife Stadium throughout the day, for all the news, notes and analysis on your New England Patriots.

Have a question for Luke Hughes? Send it to him via Twitter at @LukeFHughes or send it here.

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