Aaron Hernandez Bothered by Key Drop, But Still Contributes in Patriots’ Win Despite Knee Brace

Aaron Hernandez Bothered by Key Drop, But Still Contributes in Patriots' Win Despite Knee Brace FOXBORO, Mass. — It's going to take a little while for Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez to get over his crucial drop in the second quarter of the Patriots' 30-21 victory Sunday against the Jets.

Tom Brady delivered a strike to Hernandez, who found a soft spot in the Jets' zone, but he bobbled the ball into the air, and it was intercepted by cornerback Antonio Cromartie. The Patriots had a 10-7 lead at the time, and at worst, they would have kicked a field goal to push their halftime advantage to six points.

"That's just [on] me," said Hernandez, who was accountable after the game. "Big-time players have to make big-time plays. I came up short there, but I'll try to make up for it next week."

Hernandez said Brady gave him some meaningful reinforcement after the play.

"He's always positive," Hernandez said. "He said don't worry about it, let it go. But obviously as a player, it still hurts you. It will still bother me until this night is over. But you've just got to turn your game around and bring it back next week."

Hernandez played in his first game since he suffered a left knee injury in Week 2 against the Chargers, and he caught five passes for 51 yards. His presence alone was enough to strain the Jets' defense because he has beaten them in the past and got off to a hot start through two games in 2010.

Hernandez played with a brace on his knee for the first time, and he got some advice from Wes Welker, who played with the bulky brace for a portion of the 2010 season. Hernandez said his knee "wasn't hurting," but the brace probably slowed him down a little bit.

"When you're in the moment at a game, all those fans out there, national TV, then you kind of forget about the brace," Hernandez said.

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