Patriots 31, Jets 14. Final: That's it and that's all. If it wasn't for a blocked punt that led to a touchdown in the second quarter, this game wouldn't have been nearly as close. The Patriots thoroughly dominated their division rival, with Wes Welker (15 catches, 192 yards) and the defense (five forced turnovers) leading the charge.
Fourth quarter, 3:24: Because four turnovers wasn't enough, Mark Sanchez got one for the thumb. Tully Banta-Cain forced Sanchez to fumble, and his edge-rushing partner, Derrick Burgess, recovered it at the New England 29-yard line.
Fourth quarter, 4:58: This is Laurence Maroney's third career two-touchdown game, and it's his first since the 2007 regular-season finale.
Patriots 31, Jets 14. Fourth quarter, 5:06: Laurence Maroney found the end zone from one yard out for his second score of the day. It wasn't a pretty drive, but the inefficiency proved effective. The Pats ran eight plays to travel 25 yards, and they wiped 4:47 off the clock.
Fourth quarter, 6:00: Tom Brady has 300 passing yards for the fifth consecutive game, and Wes Welker has a career-high 14 receptions.
Fourth quarter, 9:53: Mark Sanchez threw his fourth interception of the game, this one to Brandon Meriweather. This was as ugly of a pick as one could possibly throw. Sanchez was pressured and scrambled to his left, but there weren't any receivers on that side of the field. At that point, he should have just heaved the ball into the fifth row, but he kept the play going and Jerricho Cotchery tailed back toward Sanchez about 30 yards down field. Sanchez threw the ball off of his back foot while getting smacked by a Patriots defender, and the ball sailed into Meriweather's hands. The Patriots take over at the Jets' 25-yard line.
Fourth quarter, 10:37: There were some boos in the crowd when the Patriots punted on fourth-and-3. The Jets take over at their own 8-yard line after Jerricho Cotchery's fair catch.
Fourth quarter, 11:39: Kerry Rhodes should let someone else do the talking in that locker room. He's been getting battered all over the field against the Patriots.
Fourth quarter, 14:42: Mark Sanchez threw a terrible pass well short of Braylon Edwards, and Leigh Bodden tied a team record with his third interception of the game. Asante Samuel set the original mark in 2006.
Fourth quarter, 14:51: The Jets take over at their own 48-yard line after Chris Hanson's punt. This is another big spot for the defense, obviously.
End of third quarter. Patriots 24, Jets 14: The Jets' coaches are going wild in the box next to us. Those of us on the left side of the press box can hear into the visiting coaches' box, and Rex Ryan's crew is whooping it up right now. When the teams come back to start the fourth quarter, the Patriots will be punting from their own 23-yard line.
Third quarter, 2:42: New England's defense held up in a drive that could have really sucked the air out of this place. After blowing a 17-point lead to the Colts, the Pats had a 24-point lead against the Jets, who have made things a little more interesting than they probably should be. The Patriots aren't out of the woods yet, though, as they open this drive on their own 8-yard line.
Third quarter, 2:53: The Patriots announced Pat Chung has a head injury, and his return is questionable.
Third quarter, 4:27: The Patriots have reversed the field position, but they had to punt it away to the Jets, who are trying to erase a 24-point deficit at Gillette Stadium. New York takes over at its own 16.
Third quarter, 4:45: Wes Welker has 10 catches for a career-high 151 yards. It's his fourth game this season with 10 receptions, which is three behind Andre Johnson's single-season record.
Third quarter, 7:30: Sebastian Vollmer is back at left tackle for the Patriots, and Nick Kaczur has stayed in on the right side after hurting his knee in the second quarter. The Pats' offensive line, from left to right, is Vollmer, Logan Mankins, Dan Koppen, Dan Connolly and Kaczur.
Patriots 24, Jets 14. Third quarter 9:45: The Patriots suddenly have a ball game on their hands. Mark Sanchez hit Jerricho Cotchery for a 29-yard touchdown on a nice throw to the right side of the end zone. Jonathan Wilhite was in coverage.
Third quarter, 13:28: Mark Sanchez just completed his first pass since the first quarter. Sanchez misfired on all three second-quarter attempts. He missed on six consecutive passes before delivering a 12-yard strike to tight end Dustin Keller, and he had thrown two interceptions in that span. That was Sanchez's first completion in about 23 minutes of game time.
Third quarter, 14:56: I've always felt that Bill Belichick is a little too liberal with his challenges, and he just lost his second of the game on the second-half kickoff. It probably won't hurt the Patriots in this one, though.
Third quarter, 14:56: The Jets have the ball at their own 20 after the second-half kickoff.
End of second quarter. Patriots 24, Jets 7. Solid first half from the Patriots, whose lead is more significant than the score indicates. Wes Welker has led the way with eight catches for 139 yards.
However, keep an eye on Nick Kaczur, who hurt his left knee before the half. Tom Brady got lit up by Bart Scott, and the quarterback rolled into Kaczur's knee. The right tackle stayed in the game, but he was noticeably limping. Since backup tackle Mark LeVoir is already in for Sebastian Vollmer (head injury) at left tackle, the Pats can't afford another loss on the line. They might have to get creative, possibly shifting Dan Connolly to right tackle and moving Rich Ohrnberger to right guard.
Second quarter, 0:10: Stephen Gostkowski missed a 40-yard field goal wide to the right. Hey, for what it's worth, the last two times the Patriots haven't gone for it on fourth down, they had a punt blocked and missed a field goal.
Second quarter, 0:23: Well, it's not every day you see a police dog walk through a press box. That was certainly an interesting walk to the refrigerator to get a bottle of water.
Patriots 24, Jets 7. Second quarter, 0:50: Eric Smith blocked Chris Hanson's punt, and Brad Smith — of failed pistol formation fame — picked it up and ran four yards for a touchdown to put a little lipstick on this ugly performance. Pierre Woods was lined up in the backfield and missed a block on Eric Smith, and I'm curious if that is where Rob Ninkovich would have lined up if he were playing in this game.
Second quarter, 2:30: If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. The Jets tried to emulate the Dolphins' pistol formation, which calls for the quarterback to line up in the shotgun with his running back behind him. That is how the Dolphins — who swept the Jets this season — marched down the field to score their first touchdown against the Pats the last time we were all at Gillette Stadium. Brad Smith subbed in at quarterback and ran the option with Shonn Greene. Smith pitched it to Greene, who lost four yards, and the Jets punted it away.
Second quarter, 4:08: The Jets are taking over at their own 35, and this game is only going to get uglier now that Mark Sanchez has to chuck it for the rest of the day. I'm starting to wonder if he'll see the bench before the end of this one.
Patriots 24, Jets 0. Second quarter, 4:14: Stephen Gostkowski kicked a 26-yard field goal to extend the lead. It capped off a 10-play, 44-yard drive that spanned 5:05. A friend of mine used to be in a band called "five-o-five," in case you were wondering.
Second quarter, 6:55: Before the first Pats-Jets game this season, I heard a radio interview with Fred Taylor, who was asked about all of the smack being talked by Jets safety Kerry Rhodes. Taylor said if he got a chance to run at Rhodes in the open field that day, he would love the opportunity. Taylor isn't playing Sunday in the rematch, but Laurence Maroney did just that, running over Rhodes at the tail end of a 14-yard run.
Second quarter, 8:14: The bells in Donald Strickland's head are ringing so loudly that I can hear them. Mark LeVoir smoked Strickland on a block, and it took the defensive back a minute to collect himself after the play.
Second quarter, 9:19: Well, Mark Sanchez is awful. The Jets rookie quarterback threw his second interception to Leigh Bodden, and the Pats take over at their own 48. Bodden is Sanchez's leading receiver in this game. The rook has only completed two passes to his own team so far.
Patriots 21, Jets 0. Second quarter, 10:19: Laurence Maroney scored on a two-yard run, and he did a nice job fighting off a tackle before getting into the end zone. The play capped off a seven-play, 59-yard drive that lasted 3:36.
The big play came from Wes Welker, who broke free in a seam on the right side and caught a 43-yard pass. Welker was lined up in the right slot, inside of Randy Moss, who drew the attention of four — yes, four — defenders on an in-slant.
By the way, Sebastian Vollmer has a head injury, and his return is questionable. He was replaced at left tackle by Mark LeVoir.
Second quarter, 14:10: Two straight three-and-outs for the Jets. That drive ended with a Tully Banta-Cain sack, and the Patriots now have one more sack than the Jets this season, despite New York's ferocious pass rush.
Second quarter, 15:00: Stephen Gostkowski launched another kickoff through the end zone, and the Jets take over at the 20.
Patriots 14, Jets 0. First quarter, 0:00: Tom Brady has made a serious effort to throw at Darrelle Revis, and he hit Randy Moss for a four-yard touchdown with Revis locked in on single coverage. The Patriots got some help with a defensive holding penalty on third down, which gave them a first down, and they scored on the next play. The touchdown capped off a nine-play, 76-yard drive that spanned 4:16. That was Moss' first catch of the day after several targets.
First quarter, 4:16: The Pats held the Jets to a three-and-out, and New England takes over looking to pad its 7-0 lead. The Patriots have yet to score an offensive touchdown against the Jets in 2009.
First quarter, 5:41: Former Patriots special teams star Larry Izzo was flagged for an illegal block below the waste on the Jets' kickoff return. New York takes over at its own 9-yard line.
Patriots 7, Jets 0. First quarter, 5:47: Leigh Bodden returned an interception 53 yards for a touchdown to give the Patriots their first TD against the Jets this season. Mark Sanchez was aiming for Jerricho Cotchery, but it went right into the hands of Bodden, who ran nearly untouched to the end zone.
First quarter, 7:24: Laurence Maroney has now fumbled the ball twice in his last nine rush attempts. After fumbling just once in his first 477 regular-season rushing attempts, Maroney has developed Steve Slaton-itis.
First quarter, 8:07: Interesting set of downs there for the Patriots. On third-and-1, Julian Edelman motioned from the right slot under center and took the snap from Dan Koppen, but Edelman fumbled the ball so we never saw the trickery unfold. Edelman recovered the fumble, and Laurence Maroney picked up a couple of yards on fourth-and-1. Bill Belichick has now successfully completed one fourth down in a row. (Sorry, couldn't resist.)
First quarter, 10:45: Neither team did anything on its first possession. Mark Sanchez looked bad on third-and-11, an obvious passing situation.
First quarter, 13:39: Tom Brady and Randy Moss tested Darrelle Revis on third-and-3, and Revis won the battle. Safety Jim Leonhard was also playing over the top of Revis, but Revis will never admit that.
First quarter, 14:55: Julian Edelman returned the opening kickoff to the New England 27-yard line, and they're in business at Gillette Stadium.
4:13 p.m.: The Jets called heads and won the coin toss, and they deferred the kickoff. The Jets kick to start the game, and they'll get possession to open the second half.
4:11 p.m.: I came to Gillette Stadium, and a hockey game broke out. Sort of. Rene Rancourt, of Bruins fame, sang the national anthem.
4:06 p.m.: The Jets have come out of the locker room and moved to their sideline, and the Patriots are about to do the same. Game time temperature is 45 degrees with 10 mph winds. It's been cloudy here all day.
3:34 p.m.: Hopefully you didn't buy an Isaiah Stanback jersey after he had two catches for 17 yards against the Colts. Stanback has changed his jersey number from 9 to 15.
3:18 p.m.: Also of note, defensive lineman Ty Warren is back on the field after missing last week's game with an ankle injury, and Eric Alexander is back after missing two weeks with a groin injury. The Patriots are playing without two of their best special teamers — captain Sam Aiken and Rob Ninkovich — but they're getting another one of their best back on the field in Alexander.
3:10 p.m.: In response to the comment about the possibility of this being a trap game for the Patriots, I'll say this: I understand the sentiment behind that belief, but games against the Jets are far too important for the Patriots to overlook.
The Patriots, in a sense, have been lucky with the way their schedule has shaped up this season. They came out of their bye week with a very important game against the Dolphins, so it made it easier for the Pats to focus on getting back to work. The same can be said about Sunday's game against the Jets. While last week's loss to the Colts was extremely difficult to deal with, the Patriots knew they couldn't drag around this week with the Jets coming to Foxborough. I definitely wouldn't be as confident about the Patriots' ability to bounce back this week if they were playing, say, the Panthers.
3:00 p.m.: Sam Aiken (hip), Stephen Neal (concussion) and Rob Ninkovich (knee) are all missing their first game of the season. This is the second straight game Shawn Springs has missed due to a sore knee. This is the third game Jarvis Green has missed since knee surgery. Sammy Morris (knee) is missing his fourth consecutive game. Matt Light (knee) is missing his fifth straight. Fred Taylor (ankle) is missing his sixth in a row.
Offensive lineman Rich Ohrnberger is active for the first time this season, and I would expect Dan Connolly to start at right guard in place of Neal. Connolly has played pretty well in various roles this season, and while Neal has probably been the Patriots' most consistent offensive lineman in 2009, Connolly should do a solid job filling in for him. Bill Belichick heavily praised Connolly a couple of weeks ago after he took over at center when Dan Koppen got hurt in the second quarter against the Dolphins, going as far to say Connolly was doing so well at practice that he was close to earning a starting role.
This is the first time all season the Patriots' eight inactives have all been on the week's injury report. Last week, by comparison, was the first time there weren't at least two healthy scratches.
2:51 p.m.: The Patriots have announced their eight inactive players. Wide receiver Sam Aiken, defensive lineman Jarvis Green, running back Sammy Morris, left tackle Matt Light, right guard Stephen Neal, linebacker Rob Ninkovich, cornerback Shawn Springs and running back Fred Taylor are all out. I'll have a little more detail in a few minutes.
9:00 a.m.: It's finally time for the Patriots to prove they truly can move on from their heartbreaking loss to the Colts. The Pats and Jets meet for the second time this season Sunday at Gillette Stadium in a game that has been highly anticipated since the Jets' 16-9 victory in Week 2.
With a win, the Patriots would continue to pad their AFC East lead and further close in on a playoff berth, and they could reestablish the momentum they built before everything crashed down last week. A loss would tighten the division standings and give a slight edge to the Jets, who are trying to become the first team to sweep the Patriots in the regular season since 2000, and it would set up a thrilling stretch run over the season's last six weeks.