Final, Patriots 30-21: BenJarvus Green-Ellis ran for 136 yards, including 59 on the final drive, and two touchdowns to carry the Patriots to a 4-1 record. Plenty more coverage coming on NESN.com.
Fourth quarter, 1:02, Patriots 30-21: BenJarvus Green-Ellis earned his paycheck on that drive, and Stephen Gostkowski kicked a 28-yard field goal to wrap it up for the Patriots. The Jets need a miracle in the next 62 seconds.
Fourth quarter, 2:00, Patriots 27-21: The Patriots have four first downs (three runs, one pass) on this drive, and they’ve already wiped out 5:14. They’ve got a first-and-10 on the New York 17, and the Jets have two timeouts left. The Patriots would need one more first down to completely erase the clock, but at the very least, they’re in position to take away the Jets’ timeouts and kick a field goal for a two-possession lead. Great rushing attack to close this out.
Fourth quarter, 7:14, Patriots 27-21: The defense couldn’t do it, and the Pats’ offense will take over for its most crucial drive of the season. Mark Sanchez threw a beautiful pass to Santonio Holmes, who beat Kyle Arrington and James Ihedigbo to the outside for a 21-yard touchdown on third-and-7.
Albert Haynesworth tweaked his left leg (thigh or hamstring) on that drive but returned to the field.
Fourth quarter, 12:57, Patriots 27-14: Tom Brady’s third-down attempt for Wes Welker sailed out of the end zone, and the Patriots had to settle for a 24-yard field goal from Stephen Gostkowski.
Antonio Cromartie might have gotten away with some illegal contact on Welker in the end zone. After the play, Cromartie kneeled down for a minute, and he might have injured his shoulder by hitting Welker.
The Patriots’ defense has one of those show-me drives here to keep the momentum in their favor. If they give up a touchdown, the pressure shifts back to New England’s offense.
Third quarter, 0:14, Patriots 24-14: The Patriots start at the New York 25 after Wes Welker’s 25-yard punt return. The Patriots went for a full return there instead of selling out to block the punt, as the Jets were snapping from their own 8, and it worked well.
Bill Belichick has also successfully challenged two plays after throwing the flag on Plaxico Burress’ 22-yard reception up the left sideline. Burress’ second foot clearly came down on the line.
The Patriots can end this thing here with a touchdown.
Third quarter, 1:20, Patriots 24-14: Big drive for the Patriots, who got a second three-yard touchdown run out of BenJarvus Green-Ellis. Just a play before, it looked like Deion Branch was going to beat Darrelle Revis for a score, but Revis closed extremely fast on Tom Brady’s throw to the back corner of the end zone.
The Patriots had their most success with the no-huddle in that drive. Brady was using everyone on that drive, too, completing passes to four players and targeting five. The Jets were as off-balance defensively as they have been all game.
Third quarter, 5:32, Patriots 17-14: This thing has somehow managed to turn into a defensive battle. The Jets went three-and-out for the sixth time in eight possessions, and there have only been three first downs in six third-quarter possessions from both teams.
Third quarter, 7:08, Patriots 17-14: Tom Brady missed something on the Jets’ all-out blitz on third down. Obviously, the Jets sent more players than the Patriots could block, and that’s on Brady to send his receivers into better routes against man coverage. Aaron Hernandez ran an out that took a little too long to develop, though his guy might have been playing the slant. I’ll have to re-watch that one.
Third quarter, 8:13, Patriots 17-14: The defense responded with a three-and-out, which was capped by James Ihedigbo’s coverage on Jeremy Kerley. The Jets have gone three-and-out five times. They’ve scored touchdowns on their other two drives.
Third quarter, 9:37, Patriots 17-14: The Patriots went three-and-out, and the Jets will have their first opportunity to take the lead since their second possession of the game. They’ll start at their own 28, and the Patriots’ defense needs wrangle some momentum back.
Third quarter, 11:02, Patriots 17-14: Horrendous kickoff coverage helped the Jets quickly answer the Patriots’ touchdown. Joe McKnight returned the kick 88 yards to the New England 20, and the Jets scored three plays later, with Mark Sanchez hitting Jeremy Kerley for a nine-yard touchdown. Kerley beat Patrick Chung and made a diving catch to rescue Sanchez’s low throw on first-and-goal.
McKnight has made some interesting decisions to return the ball deep in his own end zone, but he’s made them count.
Third quarter, 12:45, Patriots 17-7: Deion Branch schooled Antonio Cromartie for a two-yard touchdown on a route that he runs all the time. Branch curled toward the post, and Cromartie completely bit the post. Branch then ran out along the baseline and was open by 10 yards. That’s something Cromartie has to recognize in the film room because that’s a very common route for the Patriots’ receivers.
On the first play of the drive, Wes Welker beat safety Eric Smith and cornerback Darrelle Revis up the seam for a 73-yard gain. It looked like they were bracketing Welker, but Smith was caught flat-footed and Brady threw a dime to Welker.
The Patriots also won a challenge to reverse the play before the touchdown, which was ruled a fumble on Branch, who clearly had his knee down.
Third quarter, 15:00, Patriots 10-7: Stevan Ridley took a knee on the second-half kickoff, so the Patriots will start on their own 20.
Halftime, Patriots 10-7: The Patriots took a gamble with nine seconds remaining in the half, and Aaron Hernandez lost it for them. I agree with the call to go for it once rather than kicking a field goal, but the execution failed. Brady had Hernandez wide open for an 11-yard touchdown, but Hernandez bobbled the ball up into the air and it was intercepted by Antonio Cromartie. The drop cost the Patriots seven points, but the interception cost them a chance to kick a field goal.
With the way this game has gone — the Patriots outplaying the Jets through much of the first half but clinging to a miniscule three-point lead — it reminds me of the teams’ last two meetings in New York. The Patriots will get the ball to start the second half, and they’ve got to have a strong drive to keep momentum on their side. After all, it took the Jets a quarter and a half to wake up, and they just stole points from the Patriots.
The Patriots ran 33 offensive plays (20 drop-backs), and Brady only targeted Darrelle Revis once — a four-yard out to Wes Welker who recorded a third-down conversion.
Second quarter, 3:17, Patriots 10-7: Interestingly, Stevan Ridley returned the last kickoff, which came out of nowhere. After his 18-yard return and Dane Fletcher’s holding penalty, the Patriots will start at their own 7.
Second quarter, 3:21, Patriots 10-7: Shonn Greene easily scored a three-yard touchdown up the middle after the Patriots lined up two tackles too wide. Brandon Spikes couldn’t fight through Nick Mangold and Greene had no problem scoring. The Patriots were inviting that run up the middle, and they didn’t come close to stopping it.
The bigger mistake came on the Jets’ third-and-2 conversion from the New England 16. There was a lot of miscommunication between Gary Guyton and Brandon Spikes. Guyton is making the calls, but I don’t know who was at fault. Either way, Plaxico Burress crossed underneath both of them and was wide open after neither ran with him, and he caught a nine-yard pass. Wide receiver Jeremy Kerley was also left wide open over the middle of the field behind the linebackers. Guyton should have called a timeout before the play. It was evident from the start that something was wrong.
Second quarter, 11:15, Patriots 10-0: Stephen Gostkowski kicked a 44-yard field goal after the Patriots only gained one first down on a penalty. Credit the Jets’ defense for holding strong in a tough spot there, but their offense hasn’t done a thing yet.
Aaron Hernandez tweaked his left knee on that drive when he drew the illegal contact penalty, but he only missed one play. He limped off the field and only exchanged a quick word with a trainer before heading back to the front of the sideline. While standing there, he wasn’t putting any weight on the left knee, which is being protected by a brace, but he quickly got onto the field for the next play.
Second quarter, 14:21, Patriots 7-0: And the Jets are 0-for-4 on third down. Just as bad for the Jets, Nick Bellore was flagged for a late hit on Wes Welker on the punt return, and the Patriots will open it up on the Jets’ 44-yard line. Big chance to pad the lead here. The Patriots’ offense has been spotty so far, so they’ve got to take advantage of this opportunity, especially with the defense doing a spectacular job to this point.
End of first quarter, Patriots 7-0: The Jets don’t have a first down, and they’ve got a third-and-8 coming up after the break here. On the last play of the first quarter, John Conner was stuck in a pile, and Brandon Spikes ripped off Conner’s shoe and flung it into the backfield.
First quarter, 0:48, Patriots 7-0: The Patriots moved it to midfield because of a bad pass interference penalty on Donald Strickland, who basically hip-checked Aaron Hernandez on a ball thrown way over his head on third down. But a Nate Solder holding penalty hurt them after that, and Zoltan Mesko’s punt went for a touchback.
Darrelle Revis has lined up over Wes Welker 10 times and Deion Branch seven times so far. Tom Brady hasn’t thrown at him yet.
First quarter, 6:15, Patriots 7-0: The Jets still don’t have a first down, and Mark Anderson and Rob Ninkovich teamed up for a sack on third down to kill the drive. The Pats take over at their own 10 after the punt.
Shaun Ellis left after the first play with a right knee injury. He quickly hobbled off the field, and the medical staff checked his knee after removing his sleeve. He’s been on the injury report with a knee issue for tw weeks, so this will be something to monitor going forward.
First quarter, 7:32, Patriots 7-0: BenJarvus Green-Ellis powered through the Jets’ defense, which has been vulnerable against the run this season, and scored a three-yard touchdown. Tom Brady opened the drive with a 32-yard pass to Wes Welker, and Green-Ellis took four straight hand-offs to accumulate 27 yards and a score. His first three runs all went for eight yards, and the Pats’ offensive line has easily opened holes.
First quarter, 10:06, 0-0: The Jets went three-and-out again, and Mark Sanchez’s third-and-1 pass was dropped by fullback John Conner, who would have had a first down if he wasn’t wearing bricks for gloves.
Wes Welker gambled by sliding to catch a poor punt, but he dropped it. Antwaun Molden jumped on it, though, to rescue it at the New England 45 under a pile.
First quarter, 11:55, 0-0: Not much doing for the Patriots, either. Wes Welker caught an 11-yard pass on the first play, but the Patriots stalled from there. Aaron Hernandez got the start and ran a deep post on third down, but Tom Brady overshot him. Zoltan Mesko sent a 48-yard punt to the Jets’ 9.
First quarter, 13:55, 0-0: The Jets went three-and-out on the game’s first drive, and the Pats will open at their own 29. The Patriots were in a four-man front, James Ihedigbo started at safety next to Patrick Chung, and Kyle Arrington started at cornerback with Devin McCourty. Albert Haynesworth and Leigh Bodden also checked in on third down.
First quarter, 15:00, 0-0: Stephen Gostkowski’s kickoff bounced through the end zone, and the Jets will start the game’s opening drive at the 20.
4:14 p.m.: The Patriots won the toss and deferred. But most importantly, Zdeno Chara and Tim Thomas brought the Stanley Cup to midfield for the coin toss.
4:11 p.m.: The Patriots held moment of silence for Al Davis, and the fans responded afterward with a cheer for the late Raiders owner.
4:05 p.m.: The Bruins had a great pregame ceremony on the field. They lined up under the Patriots’ inflatable helmet in white Patriots hats and their home black-and-gold sweaters and jumped around like football players. Then Patrice Bergeron and Shawn Thornton led the team onto the field as they ran toward the 50-yard line. After, Tim Thomas and Zdeno Chara (carrying the Cup) were introduced individually. Nathan Horton also sprayed a bottle of Garden water onto the Patriots’ logo at midfield. And lastly, they removed their Bruins jerseys to show their own personalized home blue Patriots jerseys.
3:38 p.m.: Nick Mangold will start at center for the Jets, and last week’s starter, Colin Baxter, is inactive.
2:49 p.m.: Albert Haynesworth, Aaron Hernandez and Ras-I Dowling will all play against the Jets. Quarterback Ryan Mallett, tackle Sebastian Vollmer, defensive lineman Mike Wright, running back Danny Woodhead, safety Josh Barrett, linebacker Jerod Mayo and wide receiver Julian Edelman are all inactive. More details to come.
2:40 p.m.: Wes Welker, Brian Waters, Brian Hoyer, Ryan Wendell, James Ihedigbo, Tom Welch, Donald Thomas and Shane Vereen were among the other players warming up on the field in the last few minutes.
2:29 p.m.: Strength and conditioning coach Harold Nash is watching cornerback Ras-I Dowling warm up right now, which is a sign that Dowling is a game-time decision. Nash hasn’t worked out with anyone else, which make me believe the Patriots have already made up their mind with Aaron Hernandez and Albert Haynesworth.
2:13 p.m.: Plaxico Burress is among the dozen-ish Jets warming up on the field, and he’s got some huge pink headphones. That’s a pretty cool way to promote breast cancer awareness.
1:55 p.m.: As always, the Patriots’ three specialists — Stephen Gostkowski, Zoltan Mesko and Danny Aiken — were the first three on the field. Running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis was the next one to start warming up, which seems uncharacteristically early for him. Still no sign of Aaron Hernandez and Albert Haynesworth, who I figured would be game-time decisions.
1:33 p.m.: Big news here. The Bruins are going to be on the field for a pregame ceremony with the Stanley Cup. If you’ve got tickets, make sure you get in your seats early.
1:30 p.m.: Hello from Gillette Stadium, where the Patriots and Jets will meet in less than three hours. It’s a beautiful day here, and it’s unseasonably warm. Should be a fun one.
8:00 a.m. ET: Early-season control of the AFC East is at stake Sunday at Gillette Stadium.
The Patriots (3-1, 1-1 AFC East) and Jets (2-2, 0-0) will square off at 4:15 p.m., about nine months after New England’s 2010 season came to an end when the same two teams dueled at the same place.
The Patriots can take a two-game lead on the Jets with a victory, and give New York its third consecutive loss. That could be a tough blow for a team that relies so much on confidence to play with its edge.
The Jets, meanwhile, would inflict their own type of damage with a victory Sunday. They’ve won three of five against the Patriots since Rex Ryan took over as head coach in 2009, and their defensive scheme has regularly made Tom Brady struggle in the pocket.
Stay with NESN.com’s live blog throughout the day to keep up with everything happening at Gillette, including the Patriots’ injury issues and the on-field intricacies that will determine the outcome of this important clash.
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